With the Canadian dollar in the toilet these days, many families are looking for more affordable options for travelling outside the border. However, “Hey kids, we’re going to Poland!” doesn’t have quite the same effect as a surprise trip to Disneyland, no matter how much you remind the kids they love pierogi.
We’ve got a few ways for Canadians to save money on vacations, despite the declining dollar.
Cruising together Have you heard of Wave Season? It’s the big annual sale for cruises, which starts in January and finishes in March. While cruise sales happen year round, Wave Season offers extra bonuses added onto the already discounted price, giving you more value for your money. You can score onboard credits, free upgrades, prepaid tips, unlimited booze or complimentary shore excursions. Do some research to understand what packages usually cost, and what extras are being offered now. Keep an eye out for deals specific to Canadian residents.
The Dominican Republic is on sale The Dominican Republic is a perennial favourite Caribbean destination for Canadians, and while the weaker Canadian dollar has increased the cost of your hotel stay, low fuel prices and a competitive flight market have helped cut the cost of all-inclusive vacations.
At par destinations – Certain cities such as Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, are really feeling the drop in Canadian visitors, and are launching “Dollar at Par” or Rate Relief deals. Until April 30, Canadian visiting Myrtle Beach can get hotel, dining, entertainment, golf and attraction deals that are up to 30 per cent off (with a few deals going as far as 65 per cent off).
Last minute deals There have always been super savvy vacationers who book their vacation time, but not their vacation. If you can leave your vacation plans up in the air until a week or two before you plan to fly, you can jump on a last minute deal. Calgarians check the website YYCDeals for last minute deals on flights – your city might have a similar site (if you do, tell us in the comments!).
Enjoy a staycation With the price at the pump across Canada reaching the lowest levels it’s been since 2008, and hotels slashing their rack rates in response to low demand, now is a great time for Canadians to explore their own country.
In year-over-year comparisons, the Canadian hotel industry has seen occupancy decrease 2.4%, though the average daily rate for the week was up slightly. Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Ontario saw double digit year-over-year increases in occupancy, while Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador reported major decreases in occupancy. Provinces with major decreases in hotel occupancy can offer good value for accommodation, with many offering rock bottom room rates and complimentary perks. Some of our favourite staycation destinations include Golden, British Columbia, Jasper, Alberta and Blue Mountain, Ontario.
Don’t be afraid to look into the prices at an AirBnB – be sure to choose a place that has plenty of great reviews.
Looking for more tips on saving when the dollar is low? Check out Weak Dollar Woes: How to Maximize your Vacation Dollars.