Sunday 4 December 2016

Top tips to get home stress-free and safely at Christmas whether travelling by plane, train or car

Published 22/12/2015 | 10:55

Maria Donohue and Shane Farrell who are returning from Sydney and got engaged in Bangkok are welcomed home by Maria's mother, Kay and Shane's father, Kieran pictured at Dublin Airport
Maria Donohue and Shane Farrell who are returning from Sydney and got engaged in Bangkok are welcomed home by Maria's mother, Kay and Shane's father, Kieran pictured at Dublin Airport

Whether you're heading home for the festivities or planning a night out with friends, we round up the top travel advice and tips for the Christmas period.

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RAIL

For those travelling home over the next few days, the best advice is to book your seat ahead and aim for an off peak train.

While all services on all routes will be extra busy, peak time trains could reach passenger capacity as normal commuters and those travelling home for the festive period clamour for a ticket.

The majority of services on all routes will terminate by 9pm on Christmas Eve – so don’t leave it too late to travel.

There will no rail services on Christmas Day or St Stephen’s Day.

If you’re heading out in the capital for New Year’s Eve, Irish Rail are running extra DART and commuter services.

The extra services are:

The following late night DART and Commuter services will operate on New Year's Eve:

• 01.30hrs & 02.30hrs from Pearse serving all stations to Howth

• 01.30hrs & 02.30hrs from Connolly serving all stations to Greystones

• 01.40hrs & 02.40hrs from Pearse serving Tara St, Connolly, and all stations from Howth Junction to Dundalk

• 01.20hrs & 02.50hrs from Pearse serving all stations to Maynooth

Fares will be charged at normal DART rates, meaning customers can use Leapcard and buy cash fares for the cheapest Christmas travel option. Furthermore, holders of weekly, monthly and annual season tickets will be able to use the service at no extra charge.

You can check full details of Irish Rail's Christmas arrangements here.

BUS

As with rail services, there will be increased demand on all bus routes over the next few days.

Bus Eireann will be operating a normal weekday service up until about 5pm on Christmas Eve.

From 5pm onwards, services will begin to be curtailed – you can check the full list of curtailments here.  

There will be no services operating on Christmas Day.

A limited service will operate on St Stephen’s Day.

Dublin Bus will operate a normal weekday service up until 9pm on Christmas Eve.

A Sunday service will operate on all routes on St Stephen’s Day.

On New Year’s Eve last departures will be at around 10pm, however a nightlink service will be operating.

ROAD

If you’re taking to the roads to travel for Christmas, be prepared for larger volumes of traffic on routes than normal.

Plan your journey in advance, and if travelling with young children make sure to include rest stops if travelling a long distance.

Make sure all your packing is done the day before you travel to avoid any unnecessary delays. Make a list of everything you need to pack to give yourself peace of mind.

Do your research, and plan alternative routes in case of accident or disruption along the way.

Leave as early as possible to avoid the worst of the traffic, and to maximise daylight travelling time.

If you feel tired as you drive stop and take a 15 minute break. Buy yourself a coffee and get some fresh air. Also lower the windows of your vehicle to allow some fresh cooler air in too.

However the RSA warns these techniques will only provide you with an additional hour of driving time.

Gardai will be out in force to target speeders and dangerous drivers, so don’t take any risks on the road.

Check the Road Safety Authority advice here.

LUAS

LUAS services will operate as normal up until 8pm on Christmas Eve.

The last tram on St Stephen’s night will leave town at 11.30pm.

However there will be extra services on New Year’s Eve.

The Green Line will have services operating from town at 1.30am, 2am, 3am and 3.30am.

The Red Line will operate from The Point at 1am, 1.30am, 2am, 2.30am and 3am.

Details of the Christmas schedule can be viewed here.

TAXI

Last weekend saw waits of well over two hours in some parts of the country for a taxi.

Hailo, who said last weekend was their busiest ever, recommends booking your taxi in advance – although on a night out it may be difficult to anticipate exactly what time you want to go home at.

Be prepared for a wait – and dress accordingly, a cold snap is expected to come in from Christmas Eve and Christmas spirit will not keep you warm waiting on a street corner.

If a walk home appears to be your only option, be sure to stay safe and walk with friends. As you leave the more busy nightspots you may come across vacant taxis travelling back into town.

AIR

Airports will be experiencing one of their busiest times of the year – between the 18th and 27th of December passenger volume increases dramatically.

Intending passengers are advised to ensure they know which terminal they are departing from, and be sure to arrive at least 90 minutes before departure time.

The DAA has also reminded passengers that road traffic could be heavier around the airport, and to allow extra time for possible delays.

For those bringing presents with them, the advice is to leave them unwrapped.

If there is an issue at security passengers may be asked to remove the wrapping for inspection.

Dublin Airport has additional customer service staff on duty over the festive period to ensure the smooth running of operations.

The last flight leaves the airport at 11pm on Christmas Eve to Moldova and resume on St Stephen’s Day at 4.45am when a flight lands from Addis Ababa.

While the airport is closed on Christmas Day, a number of staff remain on duty as well as the airport’s emergency services.

Check the advice from the DAA here.

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