Consider a Canada-cation or Staycation to Save Money and Still Have Fun

Who doesn’t love travelling?  Who doesn’t love to save money, earn rewards and take advantage of great deals when travelling?  That’s what I thought.

Unlike computer hacking, travel hacking is perfectly legit and fun.  Then again, you don’t need to stray too far away from home to have fun this summer. With the May long weekend on the horizon, the unofficial start of summer ready to kick off, today’s post will share some travel hacking tips, some made-in-Canada ideas for your summer vacation and good reasons why staycations, not going anywhere at all, can be worth it.

First up, some stats.  According to a recent survey by Tangerine – many survey respondents stated home sweet home will probably be the place to be this summer. This survey found that the vast majority of Canadians (81%) plan to spend the long weekend at home this year, and two-thirds (69%) say the value of the Canadian dollar is impacting their travel plans for the rest of the summer.

That’s a pretty high number of folks blaming our low Canadian dollar – but I can see why…

From the news release: “Vacations can be a slippery slope when it comes to spending money, since you’re out of your regular routine and already opening your wallet for many expenses,” says Silvio Stroescu, Vice President of Deposits and Investments at Tangerine.  I know about this slippery slope myself including spending foreign currency – it’s just too damn easy to put travel expenses on the plastic and worry about things later.  This is why when it comes to our vacations and any trips in general, we try and save up for the voyage including all planned (currency) expenses in advance.  Otherwise, if we can’t pay for most of the trip before we leave the country we know we really can’t afford it after we get home.

If that sounds like you this summer, if you’re unsure you can afford travel to a distant exotic destination, then maybe I can suggest a couple of alternatives for you.

  1. Consider a Canada-cation.

Whether it’s the thriving West coast, visiting Ontario with all its majestic lakes and rivers, or touring scenic Eastern Canada – consider a made-in-Canada vacation where you won’t incur currency conversion charges.  I’ve learned from my friend Steve Zussino about the benefits of travel hacking and you can do the same.  You can save money on air travel in Canada by travelling mid-week, booking your travel during the week, and taking an early morning flight.  These are just a few of the tips I’ve learned (and applied) over the years beyond becoming a frequent flyer or leveraging travel rewards.

Finding a great place to stay when travelling is easy.  Finding a great place to stay that’s affordable when travelling is the tough part.  You can save money on accommodations this summer by using Airbnb® instead of using opaque hotel booking sites like Priceline and Hotwire.  This thinking aligns with some millennials as well, from the article, millennials were “the most willing to share a bed or hotel room (35%)”. It’s all about making compromises.

Then again if Airbnb® is not your thing, then consider booking a Bed & Breakfast to and from your travel destination versus using a major hotel chain.  We’ve done this many times ourselves.  Not only can you save a bundle in your destination city but you can meet the locals, new people, and enjoy some great food in the process.

If that’s still expensive for you this summer, no worries, consider #2.

  1. Consider a Staycation.

A couple of years ago my wife and did exactly this – took a vacation and stayed close to home.  In hindsight it was the perfect way to spend part of our summer together. Here is why we did it, what we got out of it, and what you can too:

  • It was great to unwind and notbe busy, travelling or otherwise.
  • It was a way to save up some money, for future international travel.
  • We had quality time to entertain and re-connect with family.
  • We took advantage of free events and local activities near our home, like the farmer’s market down the road.
  • We had time to experiment with some new meals.
  • We had time to enjoy the great outdoor weather.
  • We had time to enjoy some new craft beers on the deck.
  • And more and more and more…

During our staycation, we also took some time to research our upcoming trips – making the planning process fun, relaxed and enjoyable.

If you have the financial means to go wherever you can this year, go for it – and good on you!  Many of us aren’t as lucky this summer, so consider a Canada-cation or a staycation for your next getaway.  You don’t have to go far, or spend wads of money, to have some summer fun.

What are your summer plans?  Travelling abroad?  Canada-cation?  Staycation?

My name is Mark Seed - the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, I'm looking to start semi-retirement soon, sooner than most. Find out how, what I did, and what you can learn to tailor your own financial independence path. Join the newsletter read by thousands each day, always FREE.

5 Responses to "Consider a Canada-cation or Staycation to Save Money and Still Have Fun"

  1. A stay-cation or Belgium-cation is something we did for the last few years. Having small kids, we did not travel far. As a benefit, we reached the destination fast.On the kids perspective, when they are in the car more than hour, it is far anyway.

    Advantages for us:
    frugal holiday, not cheap. We did spend a big part on eating out and balanced this with cook at the vacation house. All in all, a good experience
    One time, a kid got sick and the weather was bad. We decided to head home 3 days sooner.

    During the summer holiday, my wife and I each have a separate week with the kids at home. This creates a lot of quality time and opportunities to bond and grow as a family. It is priceless and almost free at the same time

    This years plan are exactly that: staycation and Belgium-cation. We already had a few of these this year and as a family we truly enjoyed it

    1. “During the summer holiday, my wife and I each have a separate week with the kids at home. This creates a lot of quality time and opportunities to bond and grow as a family. It is priceless and almost free at the same time.”

      Sounds like a great plan. Thanks for contributing and enjoy this year’s summer vacation!

  2. Vacations staying in Canada can be overrated as far as their price advantage. For this summer we considered two options. Flying to Orlando or flying to the East Coast.
    The flights alone to fly to the East coast work out to more than flights, timeshare swap & car rental for 2 weeks in Florida and that is with the exchange.

    1. Good point. Flying within Canada isn’t always cheap. I travelled to Florida last month myself. Sometimes, you gotta live (but I saved up for the trip in advance).


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