Canadians more likely to travel abroad in 2012

A new study by BMO Bank of Montreal shows that more Canadians plan to travel this year than in 2011 — with most destinations being out of the country.

March is typically one of the busiest travel months of the year as many families head somewhere warmer to escape the last weeks of cooler weather before spring hits.

“Over the last two years, the strong Canadian dollar and relatively favourable income growth have made vacation travel outside of Canada much more attractive. We expect these conditions to similarly influence Canadians’ travel plans in 2012,” said Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist at BMO Capital Markets, in a press release.

Su McVey, Vice President, BMO Bank of Montreal added, “The United States remains the top travel destination outside Canada, with New York, Florida and Washington being the most visited states.”

From July to October 2011, Canadians spent 11.34 per cent more than they did during the same months in 2010. From that $7.3 billion, Canadians spent $4 billion in the United States – up 18 per cent from 2010.

Trips to the United States increased by 6.7 per cent, while trips to other countries increased by 3.3 per cent.

Most popular destinations
Mexico, France and the United Kingdom are the most popular choice for Canadians travelling outside Canada and the United States. Within Canada, the most popular locations are Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.

Travel spending is predicted to increase to $40.5 billion this year.

Since travel within Canada is likely to be low throughout 2012, Canada’s travel industries – accommodations, food, entertainment and travel services – will need to find creative ways to keep up with operating costs, experts say.

Credit cards remain a popular way to pay when travelling abroad since their world wide acceptance, loyalty rewards, insurance, buyer protection, extended warrenties and zero liability make them the safest option.

Of course, it is always advisable to have a small amount of the local currency on hand to pay for small things that come up, like cab rides and tips. Just be careful how much you have on you, as there is no way to get it back once it’s lost or stolen. Travellers checks are a safer option, as they can be refunded within 24 hours.

Where are you planning to travel this year? Tell us in the comments!

Sources: BMO, Canoe

Photo © Sergiy Serdyuk

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