TORONTO, Canada – According to a recent survey, Canadians have their sights set on destinations closer to home when it comes to travel in 2016. Despite the slide in the value of the Canadian dollar, results of the survey show that 64 percent of consumers surveyed are planning to travel and another 83 percent wish they could be travelling.
“The decline in the Loonie’s value, especially against the American dollar, is most likely why we’re seeing so much search interest in domestic destinations1,” said Adam Francis, Brand Marketing Director at Expedia Canada. “This is great news for Canadian tourism and for Canadian travellers. For many who have yet to set foot in the Maritimes or others who have always wanted to see the wonders of the west coast, 2016 is a great year to see what our beautiful country has to offer. From the breathtaking sites to the impeccable cuisine, Canada has so much to offer to those planning to travel in 2016.”
2016 Travel Trends: The year of discovering home
Based on flight bookings made on Expedia.ca between January and December 2015, Canadians kept their travels close to home. The top destinations Canadians travelled to in 2015 were Toronto, Vancouver, Las Vegas, Calgary and Montreal.
Travel close to home is expected to continue as a trend in 2016, with more Canadians making trips within their very own backyard compared to international destinations. Based on Expedia.ca search data, from July to December 2015, the most frequently searched destinations on Expedia.ca for travel in 2016 (from January to June 2016), in order of popularity were:
• New York
• Niagara Falls
• Cancun, Mexico
• Banff National Park
• Riviera Maya, Mexico
Impact of the sagging Loonie
Almost three-quarters of respondents (74 percent) said the weakened Loonie is impacting their travel plans for 2016. Seventy-three percent said it will affect their choice of destination, with half (51 percent) saying it will change how often they travel this year and 42 percent reporting it is affecting how long their vacation stay will be.
As Canadians are carefully planning their travel, the good news is there are a number of potential savings to look forward to when it comes to travel in 2016.
2016 Outlook for Savings
In partnership with the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), the Expedia group recently released findings on its second annual global air travel outlook report, Preparing for Takeoff: Air travel outlook for 2016. The data highlighted key trends from a number of credible industry sources and found that 2016 is expected to be a good year for travellers to save money.
“Fare savings in a previous year are often good indicators for the year to come,” said Francis. “Expedia’s analysis of ARC data found that economy air ticket prices declined roughly 8 percent year-over-year between October 2014 and October 2015, with the biggest drops in July and August 2015.”
Regardless of where 2016 takes you, whether close to home for a quick getaway or far away to experience new adventures, here are some money-saving tips to consider as you make plans for 2016 travels:
1. Take your dollar further – Consider traveling to destinations where the Canadian dollar has longevity. Hot spots to consider in 2016 include:
• Asia is a popular destination for lovers of adventure and rich culture, offering beautiful bucket list destinations like Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Food and hotels in these locations are much cheaper than in North America.
• Eastern European countries like Poland, Croatia, and Hungary are cost-effective alternatives to the more traditional European destinations like Paris or London. These destinations provide numerous sightseeing spots to visit and plenty of affordable food options.
• Brazil’s currency in comparison to the Canadian dollar provides an advantage to Canadian travelers. With the upcoming 2016 Games, a number of new hotels have opened up where travelers can expect to find great deals after the games.
2. Bundle up for savings – Book flights at the same time as hotel for instant savings. Booking packages can save travellers more than $300 per booking. The number is even higher in resort destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean where savings can be in the range of $1,000-$1,500.
3. Book in advance – After analyzing terabytes of flight data from more than 10 billion passenger flights to determine the biggest potential savings for ticket prices based on advanced purchase, Expedia and ARC determined that the best time to buy an economy ticket for travel within North America is roughly 57 days in advance, yielding a potential savings of about 10 percent versus the average fare. Optimal lead times for tickets from North America to international destinations are longer:
• North America to Europe: 176 days in advance, for savings of 11%
• North America to Asia-Pacific: 160 days in advance, for savings of 13%
• North America to the Middle East and Africa: 144 days in advance, for savings of 24%
• North America to South America: 90 days in advance, for savings of 10%
4. Book over the weekend (or Tuesday) – Based on 2015 data, Expedia and ARC found that on average, weekends are the best time to find great deals, with Tuesday close behind. There are general caveats to consider when searching for the best flight deals as the market for airline fares rapidly changes. Expedia and ARC recommend that travelers who find a fare that looks like a great deal should purchase it, regardless of the day of week.