Expedia Says Canadians Likely Staying Home This Winter: Here Are The Top 10 Getaway Spots

October 8, 2020 Jim Byers

It may be time to dust off those cross-country skis you keep in the basement.

Many Canadians traditionally head south in winter for beach holidays, but new data from Expedia Canada indicates most of us will be staying close to home.

With COVID-19 numbers still high in many parts of the country, Expedia Canada found that Canadians are looking to explore their local areas and tap into outdoor activities and ski vacations. That may not be great news for Caribbean hotels, but it sounds promising for Canadian ski resorts and other places that can offer a taste of the outdoors.

Expedia Canada asked Canadians about their travel expectations for the winter ahead and found that 27% are excited to visit friends and family who live elsewhere. Another 26% are likely to head somewhere they’ve never been within Canada (26%) and around one in five said they plan to reschedule a trip they couldn’t take this year.

Based on October bookings, here are the top ten places Canadians are looking at in terms of getaways:

  1. Banff
  2. Niagara Falls
  3. The Okanagan Valley
  4. Jasper
  5. Whistler
  6. Muskoka
  7. Tofino
  8. Collingwood, Ontario
  9. Mont Tremblant
  10. Kingston, Ontario
The Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino, B.C.

Expedia also found that:

  • Individuals who lived with a partner and had no children during lockdown are most likely to desire a luxury, five-star vacation with pampering and spa treatments.
  • For parents, family-friendly activities and accommodations was the most important consideration for their next trip.
  • Those who lived with roommates said they are keen to do an outdoor activity focused vacation, such as camping, hiking, or one that includes winter activities when they travel next.

Expedia Canada also looked at what it calls the “tripping point,” which they defined as “the intense need for a break from the routine and the moment at which day-to-day responsibilities become too much and result in the desperate need for a change of scenery.”

“For many adults, it would be an understatement to say the past six months or so have been challenging, and especially now as restrictions tighten again across the country,” Expedia officials said. “Juggling new realities of work, schooling, household chores and errands has been monotonous, especially with little opportunity for a much-needed break.

“Through a survey of 1,000 adults aged 18-45, Expedia revealed how both short- and long-term travel desires and aspirations were shaped by stay-at-home mandates earlier this year and continue to impact Canadians, as they stay closer to home these days.”

On average Canadians reached their tripping point in just 28 days following the introduction of stay-at-home mandates, though a quarter (25%) reached that point in the first week.

The top ways travellers managed these feelings were through self-care (43%), spending more time outside (36%) and taking a local road trip (29%).

Once the initial stay-at-home mandates occurred, it took Canadians on average just 35 days before they started researching or dreaming about their next trip.

When asked what they missed most about travel over this past year, almost half (47%) said a break from normal, every-date routine; this was followed by the opportunity to explore a new place and culture (36%), enjoy a different climate (31%) and try local food dishes (26%)

Micro-breaks and local road trips close to home helped alleviate reaching the tripping point

JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka.

Over half of Canadians (54%) noted that what drove them to reach their tripping point was the need to get out of their house and find a change of scenery. Behind that was a need for some alone-time or space from family or roommates (26%), and a desire to see friends or family in another location (25%).

Feeling cooped up and missing the freedom and variety that travel provides, led more than a quarter of respondents to plan a road trip or staycation (29%) for a quick change of scenery; others found relief by researching or dreaming of a future trip (18%).

Once restrictions eased, it took an average of 22 days for travellers to book a trip away from home, with many opting for provincial road trips.

Staycations appear to be the norm, but Expedia also noted that Canadians continue to search for beach getaways in Mexico, the Caribbean and Hawaii.

This is entirely my opinion, but I do wonder to what degree Canadians will really embrace winter. If it’s mild, perhaps we’ll see Ontario city folks flocking to Blue Mountain or Muskoka to sit by the fire. If it gets really cold and snowy, however, I still think a lot of us will be sitting at our computers in the dark and typing in words like “flights to Cancun” or “hotels in Hawaii.”

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