FAMILIES embarking on summer getaways are being hit by traffic jams and delays.

An estimated 12.6 million car journeys will be made for a day trip or holiday between Friday and Monday as the majority of schools in England and Wales finish for the summer, the RAC has said.

Traffic hotspots include the M5 south from near Bristol (junction 15) to Bridgwater (junction 23), which is a popular route for holidaymakers travelling to the South West.

Over 70,000 people are also expected to fly from nearby Bristol Airport this weekend, with more than two million Brits set to head overseas. 

That's according to travel trade organisation Abta. 

The Port of Dover has also been busy today. It said shortly after 6am it was taking about 90 minutes for departing passengers to pass through border checks.

It said it was “an extremely popular travel day” and traffic was “moving according to plan”.

Processing times were cut to just 20 minutes by 9.45am but rose to 45-50 minutes at 10.50am.

By 11.45am, some 12,836 passengers had sailed from the Kent port to France.

Enhanced post-Brexit passport checks by French border officials Police Aux Frontieres have significantly increased processing times at the port.

Ferry operator DFDS said it is operating additional sailings to meet demand this weekend.

Hundreds of thousands of passengers are also going to be travelling through Heathrow and Gatwick airports over the coming days.

Abta said about 200,000 people will depart from Manchester airport and 71,000 from Bristol.

Spain remains the top destination for families, in particular the Costa del Sol and the Balearic and Canary Islands, but Abta members are also reporting strong demand for Bulgaria, Portugal, Turkey, Morocco and Greece.

Airline Jet2.com and sister company Jet2holidays said this weekend would be the busiest in their history, with more than 800 flights taking hundreds of thousands of customers to and from holidays.

The Met Office has warned of disruption as downpours begin on Saturday, with a risk of thunderstorms on Sunday.

Meanwhile, much of Europe will continue to see temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s.

Mark Tanzer, Abta chief executive, said: “Thousands of families will be jetting off this weekend as the majority of schools in the UK start their summer break.

“Many of these will be taking their first overseas summer holiday since the pandemic, returning to much-loved destinations, and will have a fantastic experience in store.

“We’re encouraging people to have a fun and safe holiday by taking sensible precautions if you’re heading to an area with exceptionally high temperatures and taking particular care when in the water and on balconies.”

Rail passengers will be disrupted by strikes on Saturday as members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), including station staff and train managers, strike again in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.