After years of staycationing, Canadians are ready to pack their bags and take off to destinations at home and abroad. Many will be surprised to learn travel funds won’t go as far as they once hoped, as the tourism industry continues to recover from the pandemic and prices increase. According to a new survey conducted by Rakuten.ca, with inflation and soaring gas prices top of mind, cost is the number one inhibitor to planning a post-pandemic trip.
“Canadians are ready to travel again, and we want to help them get the most out of their travel experiences,” says Claire Sweeney, VP of Marketing at Rakuten.ca. “We discovered, 63 per cent of Canadians agree travel is more important now than it was before the pandemic. With Cash Back, Canadians can get more, whether it’s booking an all-inclusive getaway through Expedia.ca, a road trip with Hertz or even a staycation with Hotels.com. We’re committed to helping travellers realize their dreams sooner by putting money back into their pockets.”
In addition to travel barriers, other survey findings reveal Canadians intention to travel, the importance of travel perks, the popularity of summer road trips, and even where Canadians plan to vacation and stay.
Barriers To Travel
Though travel is becoming more popular, 70 per cent of Canadians are focusing on visiting family/friends in Canada first before travelling outside the country. However, high costs of domestic travel in Canada are causing many to opt for international getaways instead. 45 per cent of respondents said the high cost of flights within Canada has resulted in them deciding to travel outside the country as flights are often less expensive than within Canada.
Intention To Travel
After years of travel restrictions and lockdowns, Canadians are now ready to plan their getaways with 68 per cent likely to take a leisure trip in 2022. We’re approaching a return to pre-pandemic travel intention levels (70 per cent in January 2020). Only 15 per cent of Canadians have travelled outside Canada in the past year, with one-third (31 per cent) not having left the country in three to four years.
Travel Perks: Cash Back and Points
Canadians are savvy shoppers when it comes to booking their travel, with 62 per cent prioritizing Cash Back or points on travel. Most Canadians (53 per cent) continue to place travel ahead of other personal expenditures. As a result, many rely on budgeting, so they’re not forced to sacrifice things like dinning out and shopping in order to travel. To help Canadians with their budgets, Rakuten allows for members to earn Cash Back from favourite travel companies including Air Canada Vacations, Vrbo, or Booking.com. With more than 70 merchants and over a million in travel bookings, members have earned over $11 million in Cash Back through Rakuten.ca. “Reward points go towards not only accommodation and car rentals, but flights and gas,” says Sweeny. “To give Canadians more bang for their buck, Rakuten can be used as a budgeting tool while on vacation so the Cash Back earned from one getaway can go towards the next.”
Summer of the Road Trip
Road trips will continue to be a go-to vacation for many, with 54 per cent planning to hit the open road. Despite record-high gas prices, 73 per cent of Canadians will drive to at least one of their destinations this summer. Of those, roughly a quarter (23 per cent) plan to rent a vehicle.
Where Canadians are Vacationing
Staycations have grown in popularity as an alternative travel option. In fact, one third (36 per cent) of Canadians say they’re planning staycations, doubling pre-pandemic levels of 18 per cent. That said, 65 per cent of Canadians are adamant it’s not a real vacation unless they travel somewhere.
Where Canadians are Staying
Canadians are open to various accommodations. Hotels topped the list at 63 per cent, with only 28 per cent interested in Airbnb or similar services. There is a small generational dynamic in the use of hotels compared to vacation rentals – those aged 45+ are more likely to use hotels than those aged 18-24, who prefer vacation rentals.