New Airline Routes Could Mean Savings for Canadian Snowbirds


New year-round routes will provide easier connections through the United States and other population travel destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Photo: shaun/Getty Images

A number of airlines have announced new routes to take Canadians around North America and beyond to fulfill their snowbird needs. These additional flight options align with the end of all federal border COVID-19 testing, quarantine and isolation requirements on Oct. 1.

Earlier this week, Air Canada announced two new daily flights routes from Vancouver to Houston and Halifax to Newark will begin this December. The year-round routes will provide easier connections through the United States and other population travel destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean. The announcement comes at a time of increased inflation and a weaker Canadian dollar potentially impacting Canadians’ travel plans.

The direct flights from Halifax will add one more option for Atlantic Canada, which recently lost WestJet’s service. In July, WestJet announced they were temporarily suspending winter flights from Fredericton, Charlottetown, Quebec City and, within Nova Scotia, from Sydney to Halifax. 

Air Canada’s Houston route is especially helpful for snowbirds trying to beat the winter weather in Texas. Texas sees more than 500,000 Canadians yearly and Houston is home to 20,000 Canadians. 

And last month, Air Canada announced five new direct flights to Cancun, Mexico from Edmonton, Ottawa, Regina, Moncton and London, Ont.. Air Canada also announced direct flights from Vancouver to Bangkok and Mumbai to start in December. 

Lynx Air, Canada’s new discount airline, announced its expanded routes to the U.S. in mid-September. Previously, the airline operated out of Toronto’s Pearson Airport and Hamilton International Airport to Halifax, St. John’s, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. 

Lynx will now fly from Toronto to Orlando four times a week. The airline will also fly from Calgary to Las Vegas four times a week and to Phoenix and Los Angeles three times a week. 

Swoop, another inexpensive airline, added a collection of flights from Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lethbridge, London, Montreal, Ottawa, Prince George, Toronto, Vancouver and Windsor. Destinations include Burbank, Tucson, Orlando, Palm Springs and Phoenix.

With Canada’s inflation rate at 7.01 per cent at the time of writing, Canadians with plans to leave the country need to find ways to save money to see their vacations through.


To Help You Save


Direct and discounted flights are one option. Flight rewards plans can also help you cut costs, depending on which reward and credits cards you use.

Aeroplan: Up to 48 airlines including Air Canada, United Airlines, Air India and Thai Airways

Airmiles: WestJet, Air Transit, Delta, American Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Ethad and Icelandair

RBC Rewards (Avion): WestJet, British Airways, American Airlines, Asia Miles

CIBC Travel Rewards: Any airline

BMO Travel Rewards: Book with any travel provider

All-inclusive accommodation packages are another way to save. Expedia offers cost-effective, all-inclusive resorts and hotels in Houston, Newark, Mumbai and Bangkok


Budget-Friendly Tips


Of course, there’s your budgeting plan.

Here are some tips for snowbirds, or anyone, adjusting costs to keep winter travel plans during these inflationary times:

The first place to look to cut costs is not where you’re going, but where you live. Consider downsizing your home so you can maintain — or even expand — your travel margin. If you don’t want to leave your home, try renting out your house instead. Three- to five-month leases are helpful for seasonal workers, students or anyone needing temporary housing during the winter. 

Since you will be away during a rough season, it’s important to protect your home from winter damage. Frozen pipes, snowy driveways and sidewalks, clogged gutters and winter home intrusions can bring more expenses than you bargained for. If no one is renting your home, consider having family, friends or a professional stop by. 

While you’re away, your health insurance may not extend to your vacation home. If you can’t bring your medication with you, find travel health insurance that meets your needs. Here is a list of travel insurance providers for Canadians. 

Finally, you can choose to travel for a shorter period of time. While missing all the snowy months may be ideal, one or two months in the sun can still give you the boost you need this winter.