While a majority of Canadians won't be cutting back on their travel budgets in 2010, it's likely that many will be looking for better deals. However, some might be overlooking the best deals because they assume prices for some vacations are higher than they actually are. For example, most Canadians believe that a cruise in the Caribbean (69%) or Europe (86%) would cost more than $100 per person per day. However, according to Stuart MacDonald, travel industry veteran and founder of online cruise community and retailer Tripharbour.ca, cruise prices have sunk so low that fares for many Caribbean and European sailings in 2010 are selling for less than $100 per day, and some for as little as $50 per day.
"Cruising has become a lot cheaper than most people realize," says MacDonald. "And since the price of a cruise includes accommodation, meals, entertainment and transportation from the point of embarkation, it's far less expensive than a comparable vacation on land."
MacDonald says that cruise lines have been struggling to fill their ships in the face of lower demand from the U.S. where the recession has hit hardest. In addition, he says a number of new ships were delivered this year with more coming in 2010, which has significantly increased the number of available cabins for sale.
"More ships and less demand have resulted in cruise fares dropping to record low levels," explains MacDonald. "There are some tremendous cruise bargains for travel consumers, and it looks like they will last throughout 2010. It may sound like a cliché, but there never has been a better time to take a cruise."
According to the Ipsos Reid poll, 54% of Canadians are planning to spend as much as last year on their next vacation (defined here as three days or more and further than 100km from home), while 19% said they will spend more. Only 17% say they plan to spend less, while 10% say their next vacation will be their first.
In terms of the amount of money Canadians plan to spend on their next trip, 37% plan to spend between $750 and $1,499 per person, 15% plan to spend between $1,500 and $2,499, and 6% plan to spend more than $2,500 per person. In contrast, 42% plan to spend less than $750 per person for their next vacation.
"These findings suggest that travel spending by Canadians will hold up reasonably well over the next year," says MacDonald. "However, it looks like most Canadians will be looking for good value in order to stretch their travel budgets as far as possible."
These findings are from an online Ipsos Reid poll of 1,005 adult Canadians conducted on behalf of Tripharbour.ca from September 14 to 17, 2009.
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