Summer is on its way and Canadians have travelling on the brain.
Despite efforts to try to convince Canadians to explore their own backyard in celebration of the country’s 150th birthday, people are packing their bags and heading as far as their budgets will allow them.
According to new numbers by travel website Kayak, money is no object for Canadians as they eye destinations in Europe, Southeast Asia, Central America, South America and the U.S. for their summer travels – even if airfare prices continue to climb.
“Based on Kayak’s data, Canadians seem to be torn between choosing more affordable destinations or travelling to cities that typically have a reputation for being a bit pricier, like Barcelona, Amsterdam and New York,” David Solomito, vice president of North America marketing for Kayak, says. “But with three out of the top-five destinations showing a decrease in airfare this year compared to last year, it’s evident that Canadians are, in fact, looking for a deal this summer.”
So what cities are peaking the interest of Canadians? Based on the number of searches on Kayak, they are:
- Lisbon, Portugal – up 126 per cent
- San José, Costa Rica – up 79 per cent
- Lima, Peru – up 75 per cent
- Athens, Greece – up 75 per cent
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – up 57 per cent
- Denpasar, Indonesia – up 57 per cent
- Barcelona, Spain – up 52 per cent
- Amsterdam, Netherlands – up 52 per cent
- Seattle, Washington – up 50 per cent
- New York, New York – up 49 per cent
News of terrorist attacks and measles outbreaks, and less-than-favourable exchange rates aren’t stopping Canadians from choosing European destinations.
Dominating the list as the continent to visit, Europe holds four of the 10 spots, Canadians plan on travelling to in the coming months.
If Europe is your goal but your budget is tight, Solomito suggests checking out Lisbon, Portugal, as it is known for being affordable once travellers arrive.
Another trick to save money is to find the cheapest time to travel. According to Kayak, it’s the week of Aug. 28.
“Both hotel and airline prices typically begin to increase as we approach peak travel season – May to August – and for Canada specifically, as we approach the July 1 weekend,” Solomito explains. “So if your travel dates are flexible and you’re looking to save a few bucks, it’s best to wait until the summertime craziness dies down, and book your travel for the end of August or early September when both hotel and flight prices tend to see a decrease in rates.”
At the moment, median airfare prices are down for several of the top destinations.
Airfare for Ho Chi Minh City is down 13 per cent, San José eight per cent, Lima seven per cent, and Barcelona three per cent from last summer. Median airfare prices for Athens, however, are up eight per cent.
But if you’re feeling lucky and adventurous, great deals can also be found by waiting until the very last minute. However, avoid doing this on busy holiday weekends or in a city with limited options, Solomito says.
It’s worth noting that several of the countries listed come with travel advisories from the Government of Canada. Among the countries Canadians are told to exercise a high degree of caution include Costa Rica (for crime and the Zika virus), Peru (social conflict and Zika), Vietnam (for petty crime against tourists and Zika) and Indonesia (for threat of terrorist attacks and Zika).
Kayak’s numbers are pulled from internal data based on coach, round-trip flights with Canadian origin cities. The searches were pulled between Jan. 1, 2016, and Apr. 5, 2016, for travel dates between May 1, 2016, and Sept. 4, 2016. To compare the year-over-year search findings, Kayak also pulled data for people searching for travel between Jan. 1, 2017, and Apr. 5, 2017, with dates of travel between May 1, 2017, and Sept. 4, 2017.