While Canadians may be ready to pack their bags and visit destinations once again, some may be surprised to learn that their travel funds won’t go as far as they once did as gas prices and inflation rises.
According to a new survey conducted by Rakuten.ca, a shopping rewards program, cost is the number one inhibitor to planning a post-pandemic trip, with inflation and soaring gas prices top of mind.
Canada's inflation rate, notably, is now at 7.7 per cent — its highest point since 1983.
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 and friends in Canada first before travelling outside the country, the survey says.
But 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.
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, the survey says.
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, according to the poll.
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, the survey says.
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.
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, according to the poll.
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, the poll says.
Where Canadians are vacationing
Staycations have grown in popularity as an alternative travel option, the survey found.
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, the survey says.
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.
The Rakuten Canada survey was conducted online by Ignite Lab, a Toronto-based survey consultancy specializing in retail, travel and technology segments, in May 2022 with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Canadians.