Many people in Canada are getting away for March Break. Even with inflation concerns, travel experts say Canadians are committed to taking a vacation.
According to data from the travel search engine KAYAK, there was a 75 per cent increase in travel searches for March Break, compared to 2022. This is all happening while flight costs for March travel in Canada have increased by 15 per cent year-over-year, according to the travel search engine.
In terms of Canadian cities that are seeing significant demand, according to KAYAK, interest in Calgary has gone up 122 per cent year-over-year. Vancouver demand has increased by 75 per cent and searches for Toronto have increased by 50 per cent, compared to 2022.
KAYAK has also seen a trend of Canadian travellers taking trips to Europe and Asia, as well as sun destinations.
The top trending March Break destinations, based on year-over-year increases, from Toronto are:
Paris (132 per cent increase)
New York (100 per cent increase)
London (96 per cent increase)
Fort Lauderdale (94 per cent increase)
Orlando (90 per cent increase)
The top trending March Break destinations, based on year-over-year increases, from Vancouver are:
Los Angeles (185 per cent increase)
Las Vegas (130 per cent increase)
San Jose del Cabo (117 per cent increase)
Phoenix (109 per cent increase)
Kahului (82 per cent increase)
'High demand' for travel, but Canadians still want to save
American Express (Amex) has also tracked Canadian travel habits for March Break, with Jen Walton, vice president of membership rewards at Amex, indicating that the company is "definitely seeing high demand for travel this March."
Top 5 international destinations for Amex Cardmembers this March Break are:
Walton added that even with concerns around inflation, while Canadians are looking to save money on travel, it's still something they want to spend their money on. Amex Trendex data found that 53 per cent of Canadians plan on spending more on travel this year, compared to 2022.
"There still seems to be tons of appetite to spend on travel, despite the environment that we're in," Walton told Yahoo Canada. "But we're also seeing the trend that Canadians still want to try to save on that as well."
"We're seeing a lot of them turn to their credit card rewards as a way to kind of help to offset some of that travel cost."
Signing up for travel rewards and having a travel-related credit card is our number one tip for anyone hoping to get the best deal on travel. It's a tried and tested way to make sure you can save on travel and get access to more perks, even just through your everyday spending.
A tip from Walton is to not just look at the rewards you get for dollars spent on a card, but take advantage of the experiences you get access to as a card member.
"Especially during this very heavy travel period, things like airport lounge access, or priority security lane at [Toronto Pearson International Airport] would be a couple of examples of ones that can just help make that experience [smoother]," she said.
Other perks also included a Nexus credit for Canadian travellers to cover the application fee and free companion flight tickets.
In a report from travel-related search platform Skyscanner, it was anticipated that travellers will be looking for "price tailoring" in 2023. Meaning, travellers will not only be looking for the cheapest booking, but the best value based on their individuals needs, including the value the individual puts on, for example, having more legroom on a plane, or baggage fees included in their ticket pricing.
Top 5 destinations for Canadian travellers for March 11-19 departures (economy class, return bookings made since the beginning of 2023) are:
Last month, Skyscanner revealed its 2023 Savings Generator, which uses global pricing data for travellers to find out how much money they'll actually save when booking a trip.
For example, if you live in Toronto and you want to go to Calgary in March, the average price for a flight is $261. It's best to book that flight 37 weeks in advance for an average saving of $176. The cheapest day of the week to depart is Wednesday and the most expensive day is Saturday, to save you an average of $68.
If you want to travel to Orlando instead, the average flight cost is $419. For March travel you'll get the best rate by booking 36 weeks in advance, to save $203. The cheapest day of the week to take off is Wednesday and the most expensive day is Saturday, to save you an average of $108.