Canadians Seeking More Than Fun in the Sun


Spending time with family and friends or relaxing on a beach or poolside are still important reasons that Canadians take a vacation. However, for a growing number of people, vacations are also a time to embark on a new adventure or pursue a personal interest.

As a recent TD survey found, approximately three-quarters (74%) of Canadians have already taken or are interested in taking an experiential vacation, and almost two-thirds (62%) would consider it if they could find ways to save on the cost of those trips.

“A lot of people think experiential vacations cost more than ordinary vacations, but that doesn’t have to be the case,” said Christine Hunter, vice-president, TD Credit Cards. “It all depends on where you want to go and what you want to do, but you can always find ways to help you save that could make your trip more affordable.”

According to the survey, the cost of travel was the most-cited factor (79%) in deciding what kind of vacation to take, with more than half (53%) of those surveyed expecting an experiential vacation to cost more than a normal one. But Canadian travel expert Loren Christie says it doesn’t have to cost a lot for people to create unique memories and expand their personal horizons through experiential tourism.

“While there are some really exotic examples, such as an African safari, that can have a hefty price tag, there are also lots of less expensive activities closer to home you can do,” says Christie. “Or you can make the experiential element part of a more traditional vacation and spend the rest of the time enjoying the pool or beach.”

Hunter noted, “A great way that can help reduce the cost of experiential tourism is to pay for some of your travel purchase costs with loyalty travel rewards that you earn when you make purchases with a travel rewards credit card.”

The following are some additional tips Hunter says can make travel more affordable:

  • Know how much to save: Calculate the full cost of the trip, including all associated costs, such as transportation, accommodation, transfers, tips, activities, meals and travel insurance.
  • Create a vacation savings account: Have full sight of your expenses – through a monthly credit card statement for example – to identify where day-to-day savings can be made. Then put those extra dollars into a high-interest savings account, which can grow into a nice holiday fund. For example, saving $25 a week can generate $1,300 in a year that you can use for your vacation.
  • Look for free or inexpensive activities: Research prices online and see if savings can be made by booking activities before reaching your vacation destination.
  • Use loyalty travel rewards to help save on travel costs: Use a travel rewards credit card to pay for all of your everyday purchases, and then redeem the loyalty travel rewards earned on those purchases to help reduce the overall cost of the trip. Remember, to benefit fully from using any credit card, pay the balance on time and in full.

Julian Bolster, life coach and motivational speaker, agrees that affordable vacations provide an ideal break from daily stress and routine, but it’s important to make the most of vacation time by taking the type of trip you really want.

“The vacations that impact us in lasting and powerful ways are the ones where we aren’t ‘going away’ from something, but rather ‘going to’ something, where it’s more about the experience than the destination,” he says. “Travelling can help you reprogram your brain, recharge your energy, reconnect with loved ones and cultivate an appreciation for daily tasks.”