With travel being restricted due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the period of staying home increases, the thirst for travel is on the rise. According to Expedia search data, Canadians are interested in both domestic and international destinations, however, as international borders open at different times, exploring our own backyard and travelling domestically first will be highly likely.
Top 10 most-searched destinations based on lodging:
|1. Banff, AB
2. Toronto, ON
3. Vancouver, BC
4. Okanagan Valley, BC
5. Niagara Falls, ON
6. Montreal, QC
7. Quebec City, QC
8. The Laurentians, QC
9. Whistler, BC
10. Georgian Bay, ON
|1. Las Vegas
2. Playa del Carmen
7. Isla Mujeres
8. Puerto Vallarta
9. New York
10. Orange County
Domestically, Expedia hotel search data shows interest in destinations that both offer access to the outdoors, as well as popular Canadian cities. Destinations like Banff, The Laurentians in Quebec, Whistler and Georgian Bay in Ontario, are all situated within driving distance of larger Canadian cities, but offer access to a bit more space. This could be an indication of Canadians seeking a vacation that offers tons of activities, both indoor and outdoor, and shows that for now at least curious travellers haven’t ruled out visiting a bigger city.
For those looking further to international destinations, the overarching theme seems to be relaxation and beach time, with Mexico and Hawaii dominating the list; however, interestingly, Las Vegas ranked as the most searched international destination, one that we see time and time again as a top spot for Canadians, and post COVID-19 doesn’t appear to be any different. And with the timing of the crisis and the weather not yet having warmed up in most parts of the country, it’s not totally surprising to see that a beach vacation is top of mind, with many people dreaming of an escape to warmer weather once safe to do so.
Top 10 most-searched destinations for flights:
5. St. John’s
9. Hong Kong
Flexible Travel Tips
Whilst travel isn’t possible for most at this time, we want to help travellers feel secure in their choices, especially when they decide to move forward with planning their future trips. So, to give travellers additional peace of mind, below are Expedia’s top tips for planning and booking any travel:
- As a first step, check the latest travel advisories for both Canada. and your intended destination. As the situation continues to change for each country, ensure the destination is accepting international travelers and if there are any quarantine periods still required.
- Consider booking refundable hotels rather than non-refundable ones. To make it easier for travellers to search for flexible options, Expedia has updated the website so you can filter by hotels that offer free cancellation, so you can have more peace of mind while making plans. Some of these hotels require you to cancel at least 24-48 hours before check-in, ensure to check the details before booking.
- Remember to check applicable terms and conditions, especially when booking flights. To provide travellers an option that provides them with the most flexibility, Expedia has recently added in a filter where travellers can sort their results to airlines which are waiving any changes fees for future bookings.
- Over the last couple years, most major airlines rolled out new “basic economy” or “saver” fares. These fares are cheaper, but they’re also a lot more restrictive and generally do not permit any changes or cancellation. Expedia wants to make sure travellers book the fare that has the best value for them, so we’ve made updates to the site in recent months to call out what is and what is not included in each fare throughout the booking process. Before checking out, travellers can easily compare fares and see what makes the most sense for them based on their needs and preferences (screenshot below).
To stay up to date on the latest travel advisories and Expedia’s policies surrounding COVID-19, please visit https://www.expedia.ca/service/#/articles/490/61.
Note: Data is based on search data on Expedia.ca for the search dates of April 1-30 2020, for the travel dates of July 1 – December 31, 2020.