Study Predicts Another Strong Summer; Expert Warns Book Early

Canadians’ Summer Plans Focus on Outdoor, Domestic Travel

Canadians are gearing up to travel this summer, but an aviation expert and even consumers believe it’s going to be costly.

According to a new study from Blue Cross, Canadians spent an average of CAD$4,200 on their last vacation, and 94% believe that the cost of travelling is increasing. However, the study also revealed that more Canadians are optimistic about travel and plan to take more trips this year.

The Managing Director of Blue Cross of Canada, Tim Bishop, says Canadians are finding creative ways to continue enjoying travel while staying on budget, such as staycations and domestic travel.

"When planning trips for 2024, travellers may also consider booking flights and accommodations a few months in advance and purchasing travel insurance to avoid unexpected costs."

While inflation impacted Canadian travel plans in 2023, with 69% of Canadians saying that it affected their travel plans, close to eight in ten (79%) say they are planning a trip outside their province or territory in 2024. That’s up 10 percentage points from last year. Additionally, nearly all Canadians (96%) recognize the benefits of travelling, such as reducing burnout, improving mental health, and the ability to recharge.

John Gradek, faculty lecturer, supply networks, at Montreal’s McGill University, says Canada’s domestic fares will be significantly higher in July and August than they are today.

“Deals are now,” he said in a recent interview with the Financial Post. “They won’t be there in the summer.”

Gradek said Canadians are currently benefitting from a domestic price war as airlines such as Flair and Lynx try to generate business.

Blue Cross Travel Study Findings

The Blue Cross study found that travellers are feeling more at ease this year, with travel-related stress down 41%. Less than half (48%) of Canadians said they experienced some form of travel stress, compared to 89% in 2023.

Fifty eight per cent of Canadians said they had experienced a travel-related incident, with cancelling or changing a flight and lost or damaged baggage named as the top travel-related incidents for the second year in a row. Young Canadians are more likely to experience travel disruptions, with 78% of Gen Z and 64% of Millennial travellers saying they have encountered a travel-related incident compared to just over half of Boomers (56%).

"While it's great to see a decrease in travel stress, we know Canadians continue to deal with travel-related issues," warns Bishop.

Young Canadians Not Taking Out Travel Insurance

According to Bishop, most Canadians (87%) recognize the risks of travelling without insurance, and many (57%) purchase a policy at least occasionally. However, younger generations, such as Gen Z, are more likely to travel without insurance. Nearly half (47%) of Gen Z travellers say they don’t bother with insurance as they don’t think anything bad will happen.

"Insurance could be viewed as a form of digital currency," says Bishop. "For a typical Millennial traveller visiting the U.S., an insurance policy costs the same as a daily cup of coffee, while a single night in a U.S. hospital can easily be thousands of dollars."

Trends Gained Popularity Among Canadians in 2024

Canadians are adopting new travel trends, such as ecotourism and solo travel. Ecotourism interests 82% of Canadians, and over one-quarter of Canadians (26%) have either taken or are planning an ecotourism vacation. Half of Canadians travel alone at least sometimes, with more younger Canadians adopting these trends. Many Gen Z travellers (55%) see ecotourism as an opportunity for a more meaningful travel experience, and 47% have taken or are planning an ecotourism vacation, compared to just 17% of Boomers.

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