Though the Canadian dollar has slumped from US $0.99 to US $0.91, the number of outbound leisure trips taken by Canadians has grown by two per cent through the first five months of this year and appears to be headed even higher for the 2014–2015 winter season. If you’re planning any vacations over the next 12 months, start buying now—prices are going up.
According to a recent report from the Conference Board of Canada (CBoC), “Higher prices will be the main challenge for (tour) operators to grow outbound vacation travel this winter. The lower Canadian dollar combined with strong growth in travel to the Caribbean/Mexico by Americans, Russians and Europeans will push up prices for Canadian operators.” The CBoC estimates that with the softening of the Canadian dollar, combined with a 3.7 per cent increase in US hotel rates, Canadians paid an average daily hotel room rate of $123 when visiting the US through June 2014—12 per cent more than they did last year. The average rates were $147 in Florida, $132 in Las Vegas, and $264 in Hawaii.
Related: Save Money on Your Travel Insurance
The CBoC annually surveys Canadians and Americans about their travel “intentions” for the forthcoming year. And though intentions don’t always translate to actual trips taken, they provide a sound gauge of future travel trends. In June 2014, 46.8 per cent of Canadians surveyed said they planned to take a vacation trip out of the country this coming winter. Last year, 44.5 per cent intended to take an out-of-country winter trip; and of surveyed Canadians who took winter trips last year, 72.6 per cent said they planned to travel again this coming winter.
So far this year, Canadian winter leisure trips to the US fell by 1 per cent while winter trips to locations other than the US grew by 7.4 per cent. Europe too saw a slump in Canadian visitors, down 5.8 per cent to date.
So where do Canadians intend to travel? Of those surveyed in June 2014, 31 per cent specified the US (up from 28 per cent of those surveyed in 2013); 21 per cent intended to travel to the Caribbean (up from 19 per cent); 10 per cent to Mexico (up from 8 per cent); 5 per cent to Asia (up from 4 per cent); and 5 per cent said they intend to travel to Europe (down from 6 per cent last year).
Quite clearly, Canadians are not going to give travel up easily. But in a world that is getting more and more dangerous and complex, diligent preparation is essential: have your passports and visas in order, inoculations up to date, parental written permission on hand when travelling with children, and appropriate travel health insurance devised specifically for you. All of this takes time. The biggest mistake you can make is to leave the planning of your travel insurance to the last day, or week, or longer.
Do it right. Let our international health insurance specialists work with you.