More Canadians planning to travel in 2024 despite costs

The cost of travel is on the rise, but that isn’t stopping most Canadians from planning a vacation, according to a new study from Blue Cross. Canadians spent an average of $4,200 on their last vacation, and 94 percent feel the cost of traveling is increasing. However, the study also reveals that more Canadians are feeling optimistic about travel and are planning more trips this year.

“Canadians are finding creative ways to continue to enjoy travel while staying on budget, including staycations and domestic travel,” Tim Bishop, managing director, Blue Cross of Canada, said in a statement. “When planning trips for 2024, travelers may also consider booking flights and accommodations a few months in advance and purchasing travel insurance to avoid unexpected costs.”

While inflation was a barrier to traveling, with over two-thirds (69 percent) of Canadians saying that it impacted their travel plans in 2023, Canadians still plan to make travel a priority this year. In fact, close to eight in 10 (79 percent) say they are planning a trip outside their province or territory in 2024, up 10 percentage points from last year.

This is likely since nearly all Canadians (96 percent) recognize the benefits of traveling, such as being able to recharge, reducing burnout and improving mental health.

Travel Stress Is Down, but Disruptions Remain

After a turbulent return to travel last year when disruptions dominated the headlines, travelers are feeling more at ease this year. Travel-related stress is down 41 percentage points, as less than half (48 percent) of Canadians said they experienced some form of travel stress, compared to 89 percent in 2023.

“While it’s great to see a decrease in travel stress, we know Canadians continue to deal with travel-related issues,” warned Bishop. “In fact, 58 percent of Canadians said they have experienced a travel-related incident and for the second year in a row, canceling or changing a flight, and lost or damaged baggage were named as the top travel-related incidents—all things travel insurance can help with.”

Interestingly, young Canadians are more likely to experience travel disruptions. Just over three-quarters (78 percent) of Gen Z and 64 percent of Millennial travelers said they have experienced a travel-related incident compared to just over half of Boomers (56 percent). This may also be contributing to higher levels of stress, as 54 percent of Gen Z and 58 percent of Millennials find travel stressful, compared to 39 percent of Boomers.

Creative Ways to Travel in 2024

Canadians are exploring new forms of travel, with ecotourism and solo travel on the rise. Most Canadians (82 percent) cite an interest in ecotourism and over one-quarter of Canadians (26 percent) have either taken or are currently planning an ecotourism vacation. More Canadians are opting for solo travel, as half travel alone, at least sometimes.

Younger Canadians are especially keen to adopt these new travel trends. Many Gen Z travelers (55 percent) see ecotourism as an opportunity to have a more meaningful travel experience, and 47 percent have taken or are planning an ecotourism vacation, compared to just 17 percent of Boomers. Gen Z are also more open than their older counterparts to the possibilities of combining remote work and travel by temporarily working from a new destination: 50 percent of Gen Z have or are planning to move provinces/territories or countries for a few months, compared to 38 percent of Millennials and just 12 percent of Boomers.