Canada, with its vast landscapes and diverse cultural offerings, has long been a sought-after destination for travelers. Both domestically and abroad, Canadians are increasingly exploring their own backyard and venturing to international destinations. In this article, we delve into the current trends of domestic and abroad travel in Canada, shedding light on the number of Canadians who travel and examining how much individual Canadians are spending on their vacations.
The Appeal of Domestic Travel
In recent years, there has been a noticeable surge in Canadians embracing domestic travel, with more individuals opting to explore the beauty and attractions within their own country. Factors such as the weaker Canadian dollar, improved travel infrastructure, and an increased focus on promoting local tourism have contributed to this trend. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions have further encouraged Canadians to explore their own backyard.
Statistics Canada reports that domestic travel in Canada has been on the rise, with approximately 65% of Canadians taking at least one overnight trip within the country in recent years. Popular destinations include national parks like Banff, Jasper, and Fundy, touristic Niagara Falls, vibrant cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, and charming coastal towns along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The diversity of landscapes and activities available within Canada make it an attractive choice for those seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion.
The Allure of Abroad Travel
While domestic travel is on the rise, the desire to explore international destinations remains strong among Canadians. A significant portion of the population seeks the thrill of discovering new cultures, cuisines, and landscapes beyond Canada’s borders. The ability to experience different climates, historical sites, and iconic landmarks fuels the wanderlust of Canadians.
According to recent data, approximately 45% of Canadians have traveled abroad in the past year. Popular international destinations include the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. Canadians often seek warmer climates during the winter months, leading to an influx of travelers to tropical destinations. Europe, with its rich history and diverse cultures, remains a popular choice for those seeking a blend of art, architecture, and culinary experiences.
Travel Expenditures: How Much Do Canadians Spend?
Traveling, whether domestically or abroad, comes with associated costs. From transportation and accommodation to dining and activities, Canadians allocate a significant portion of their budgets to their travel experiences. The amount spent can vary greatly depending on factors such as destination, duration, travel style, and personal preferences.
On average, individual Canadians spend approximately $2,500 to $4,000 per trip for international travel. This includes expenses such as airfare, accommodation, meals, transportation, and sightseeing activities. It is important to note that these figures are approximate and can vary depending on the type of travel (e.g., budget vs. luxury) and the destination chosen.
For domestic travel, the costs tend to be lower, as transportation expenses are often reduced, and shorter distances are typically covered. On average, Canadians spend around $1,000 to $2,000 per trip for domestic travel. These costs include accommodation, meals, local transportation, and attractions.
It’s worth mentioning that travel expenditures are influenced by personal preferences, travel styles, and individual financial situations. Some travelers may choose to splurge on luxury accommodations or indulge in fine dining, while others opt for budget-friendly options, focusing on more affordable experiences.
While approximate expenditure tell us how much Canadians spend on average, let’s see how much certain trips actually cost and what are PROS and CONS of each destination.
Canadian major cities and destinations – Traveling to Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal or any other major city in Canada could cost a minimum of $50 depending where you live to $1000 on average, it can get certainly more if you combine luxurious or scenic trips like VIA Rail from Vancouver to Toronto or Montreal. Hotels range from $80 to well over $300. Attractions are very expansive in Canada. Understandably, the cost of operation demands higher prices, yet this cost adds up quickly if you visit major Canadian cities and when adding couple of tourist attractions. If you want to visit CN Tower in Toronto, as an adult, you will spend from $45 to $199. Ripley’s aquarium in Toronto will cost $44 for an adult and Canada’s Wonderland in Toronto will cost $80 per visit, yet online sale price costs now $44.99 (June.2023). Niagara Falls attractions are very similar to Toronto: Fallsview indoor water park general admission is $43.99 while Journey behind waterfalls is $24. You can do some extravagant attractions like helicopter ride over the falls from $180.
When visiting Canadian destinations, you have to calculate the cost of food, logically, right? Restaurant visits will be more costly now compared to pre-pandemic, inflation has done it’s magic so price of food is on the rise as well as restaurant visits. There are no more all you can eat at Mandarin for $9.99 and no breakfast at Coras for $6.99. You can expect to pay anywhere from $11.99 to $35 for breakfast and lunch to $15.99 to well over $100 for dinner, not including drinks.
But the biggest expanse that will add to your Canadian trip is accommodation in on of attractive nature destinations!
Have you ever looked up the cost of a Cottage in Muskoka, Cabins at Lake Louise or Cottage on Vancouver Island? As nature lover, my head spins every time I look for accommodation in one of those destinations! $1399 for one night at lake Louise Cabin and $899 for one night at Muskoka Cottage! What one can spend for one night at those destinations, the same person can use that money towards seven days four or five star all inclusive resort in Cuba or Mexico! On top of steep accommodation prices, renting a boat or jet ski pretty much anywhere in Canada could cost you an arm or a leg! $700 for a boat per day is not very uncommon. I just can’t justify to pay for a boat a day at a lake instead of going for a week to CUBA! Anyone with me on that?
Yes, we are comparing apples and oranges but when it comes to best for your buck in Canada or abroad, mixing apples and oranges is very important to vacation budget especially if you are planing family vacation.
Where Canada truly shines in affordable and unforgettable vacation choices is going camping or glamping. I know, it is not for everyone, but you have to try it at least once! Buy a tent or rent a camper and visit as many amazing places Canada has to offer! Truly, Canadian nature is world known and many tourist all around the world go to Algonquin Park, Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Rockies, Vancouver Island or they choose to visit many breathtaking spots along Eastern Coast. Canada has much to offer for any sport and leisure enthusiast, one has to look for it and you’l find it.
Traveling to European destinations
If you are looking for history, great food, amazing music and mix of cultures, Europe is the place to go to! In a fairly dense area you will be able to enjoy gelato in Venezia, paella in Madrid, beer in Munich, croissant in Paris, fish and chips in London, schnitzel in Vienna, souvlaki in Thessaloniki or cevapcici in Sarajevo! Or perhaps you would love to see movie festival in Cannes, casino in Monte Carlo, Louvre museum in Paris, Venice carnival, October fest in Munich or St. Patrick’s day in Dublin. And those are just few choices! We could list here all kind of top European destinations, but it would be an article of many pages for it self.
What we would like to portrait here is the cost of a European travel to Canadians who would like to visit one of the European destinations or would perhaps consider European tour.
And here is the breakdown:
Air fair and accommodations will be the biggest portion of your trip depending off course what season you choose for traveling. If you have enough money or if Summer is the only season you can travel to Europe, then by all means, otherwise, traveling to Europe during Spring or Fall would be a much better choice for many reasons. Air travel during summer would cost you between, $899 and well over $1500 for a return flight, and during off season, a flight to one of European destinations could be as little as $500. Same situation would be for accommodations, while peak season, many Hotels are usually fully booked, prices could be anywhere from $99 CAD to well over $500, off season is a totally different story. Restaurants would also be cheaper during off season but, the biggest PROS for traveling during off season is the availability and less crowds. Top destinations like Venice, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Cinque Terre, Thessaloniki, Sarajevo, Dubrovnik, London or any other tourist destinations in Europe are very crowded during Summer months, which means, Restaurants are full and daily trips could be very tiring. Regardless of your destination, daily trips and attractions are surprisingly cheap compared to Canada. Going up Eiffel Tower costs only 11 to 28 Euro, Gondola ride in Venice from one shore of the great canal to the other would cost you only 1 Euro with enjoying gondolier singing for free. Other attractions like Louvre museum in Paris costs 17 euros for general adult admission, Big Ben tour would cost you 25 British Pound and Basilica de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona would cost 26 Euros for a general adult admission. Food in Europe could cost more than in Canada but in general it is not. Even in Venezia, Rome, Berlin, Madrid or London restaurant visits would cost about the same as in Canada. Other destinations like Sarajevo, Athens, Budapest or Prague would offer a more affordable food options compared to Canadian destinations.
READ MORE: Best hiking spots in lovely British Columbia
If you consider to do a Europe trip, visiting many countries in as little time as possible, it would be a good marathon, with need of good physical capabilities and a much deeper pocket. If you choose to visit Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Munich, Zurich, Venezia, Rome in one trip for instance, consider flying to one location and taking bus or rail to get to other destinations. Cary as little luggage as possible and be open to changes in planing and destination choices. Everything is possible and it is very exciting to see all Europe has to offer. Europe is in no means overrated, you will be stunned and pleasantly surprised what you can see and learn when visiting any European destination.
So, European trip could cost you anywhere from $2000 to well over $5000, depending where you travel, how many destination you visit and when you decide to book your vacation. Just get your credit cards and pass port ready and Euro here I come!
Southern destinations like Cuba, Dominican Republic or Mexico are by far the most desirable destinations chosen by Canadians when traveling abroad. And seriously, if you are looking to get the best for your buck, Caribbean destinations are top choice. Even during peak season you can find a all inclusive four or five star hotel, seven days trip to Cuba for $1200, Dominican and Mexico for about $1400 per person. Try to do that in Canada or Europe……, exactly.
Airfare, hotel, food and drinks for just about $1000 Canadian! That would be hard to top, no matter where you plan your vacation. Some might say, seven days are not enough, yet, if we compare seven day vacations, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Mexico can’t be beat. Cuba is the least expansive destination with top beaches great hotels and friendly people, ready to serve and help, yet many complain about food choices. Dominican Republic is about same in pricing as Mexico, food choices are great and is very comparable between those two countries, friendliness and beaches are just as good, the choice is yours really.
On more private note, Mexico for me wins for one reason, and that is, cultural and historical aspect. I love culture and history, and Mexico just has more options in my opinion. I just love Tulum, Chichen Itza and long diverse Mexican history and culture. On the other hand many Canadians believe Dominican is a more safe place to travel. How ever you decide, you will have an amazing vacation at any of those destinations.
More luxurious destinations are: Jamaica, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Barbados, St. Lucia or Turks and Caicos where you can have splendid vacation with a slitely deeper pocket.
Usually, daily trips in one of the top southern destinations vary between $100 and $300 US dollars, considering all the things you get in a daily trip, it is well worth the money.
That’s why all-inclusive vacations for Canadians are no brainer! Airfare, food, drinks, accommodation, pool, beach, boats, recreation, entertainment, all is included in that one price. The only extra cost would be if you choose to tip and if you decide to buy some souvenirs.
How can you go to Mexico and not buy Tequila or go to Cuba and not buy Cuban Cigars or go to Dominican Republic and not buy Mamajuana and so on? For me, I just have to book at least one day trip to one of top destinations or just book a diving, snorkelling or deep see fishing trip.
I guess, I need that southern vacation soon again!
Other World destinations
Canada is diverse, inviting more people to the country every year. It is natural to see other world destinations to be one of top Canadian choices when traveling abroad. Asia has become very desirable vacation spot for many. Whether it is a country where family members live or just a wish to visit without historical ties, Asian destinations such as Thailand, China, Malaysia or India are among top visited countries in recent history. While food, accommodation and leisure would be much cheaper than in Canada, airfare would be one of the biggest expenses when traveling to Asian destinations. Air travel could cost anywhere between $1500 to well over $3000 per adult for a return trip.Food and drinks are really not comparable to Canadian inflated food and drink prices, it would be rather ten times less expansive, depending the location off course. Accommodations would not be ten times cheaper but rather half compared to Canadian hotels.
Where ever you choose to travel to, researching prices, checking out operating hours and planing best routes is crucial for prime results.
Canadians are embracing both domestic and abroad travel, taking advantage of the diverse landscapes, cultural offerings, and recreational activities available within their own country and around the world. With domestic travel gaining popularity and international destinations captivating the wanderlust of Canadians, the tourism industry continues to grow.
While the average individual Canadian spends a significant amount on their travel experiences, it’s important to remember that travel budgets can vary widely based on personal preferences and circumstances. Whether exploring the Rocky Mountains in Canada or venturing to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, traveling allows Canadians to broaden their horizons, create lasting memories, and indulge their adventurous spirits.