February 21, 2024

More Canadians are planning to travel in 2024 despite rising costs

News release
Silhouette of airplane flying across the sky as the sun is setting. The sky is lit up in shades of orange, yellow, pink and blue.
The Blue Cross® Travel Study reveals Canadians are eager to travel – and are finding creative and cost-efficient ways to do so.

The cost of travel is on the rise, but that isn’t stopping most Canadians from planning a vacation. According to a new study from Blue Cross, Canadians spent an average of $4,200 on their last vacation, and 94 per cent feel the cost of travelling is increasing. However, the 2024 Blue Cross Travel Study also reveals that more Canadians are feeling optimistic about travel and are planning more trips this year.


“Canadians are finding creative ways to continue to enjoy travel while staying on budget, including staycations and domestic travel,” says Tim Bishop, managing director, Blue Cross of Canada. “When planning trips for 2024, travellers may also consider booking flights and accommodations a few months in advance and purchasing travel insurance to avoid unexpected costs.”


While inflation was a barrier to travelling, with over two-thirds (69 per cent) of Canadians saying that it impacted their travel plans in 2023, Canadians still plan to make travel a priority this year. In fact, close to eight-in-ten (79 per cent) say they are planning a trip outside their province or territory in 2024, up 10 percentage points from last year.


This is likely since nearly all Canadians (96 per cent) recognize the benefits of travelling, such as being able to recharge, reducing burnout and improving mental health.


Travel stress is down, but disruptions remain

After a turbulent return to travel last year when disruptions dominated the headlines, travellers are feeling more at ease this year. Travel-related stress is down 41 percentage points, as less than half (48 per cent) of Canadians said they experienced some form of travel stress, compared to 89 per cent in 2023.


“While it’s great to see a decrease in travel stress, we know Canadians continue to deal with travel-related issues,” says Bishop. “In fact, 58 per cent of Canadians said they have experienced a travel-related incident and for the second year in a row, cancelling or changing a flight, and lost or damaged baggage were named as the top travel-related incidents – all things travel insurance can help with.”


Interestingly, young Canadians are more likely to experience travel disruptions. Just over three-quarters (78 per cent) of Gen Z and 64 per cent of Millennial travellers said they have experienced a travel-related incident compared to just over half of Boomers (56 per cent). This may also be contributing to higher levels of stress, as 54 per cent of Gen Z and 58 per cent of Millennials find travel stressful, compared to 39 per cent of Boomers.


Young Canadians underestimate the true costs of travelling without insurance

Considering the potential for travel-related incidents, most Canadians (87 per cent) recognize the risks of travelling without insurance and many (57 per cent) purchase a policy at least occasionally. Younger generations, however, are more likely to roll the dice. Nearly half (47 per cent) of Gen Z travellers who never purchase insurance say it is because they don't think anything bad will happen. Further, they underestimate the actual cost of emergency medical care more than any other generation.


“Insurance could be viewed as a form of digital currency,” says Bishop. “For a typical Millennial traveller visiting the U.S., an insurance policy costs the same as a daily cup of coffee, while a single night in a U.S. hospital can easily be thousands of dollars.”


Canadians are finding creative ways to travel in 2024  

Canadians are exploring new forms of travel, with ecotourism and solo travel on the rise. Most Canadians (82 per cent) cite an interest in ecotourism and over one-quarter of Canadians (26 per cent) have either taken or are currently planning an ecotourism vacation. More Canadians are opting for solo travel, as half travel alone, at least sometimes.


Younger Canadians are especially keen to adopt these new travel trends. Many Gen Z travellers (55 per cent) see ecotourism as an opportunity to have a more meaningful travel experience, and 47 per cent have taken or are planning an ecotourism vacation, compared to just 17 per cent of Boomers. Gen Z are also more open than their older counterparts to the possibilities of combining remote work and travel by temporarily working from a new destination: 50 per cent of Gen Z have or are planning to move provinces/territories or countries for a few months, compared to 38 per cent of Millennials and just 12 per cent of Boomers.


To learn more about the study, please visit www.bluecross.ca/travelstudy.


About the Blue Cross Travel Study


To create the 2024 Blue Cross Travel Study, Research + Knowledge = Insight, an independent research company, conducted an online survey in November 2023.  The comprehensive sample for this survey included 2,047 adult Canadians. The study has a margin of error of plus or minus 2%, 19 times out of 20. 


About Blue Cross

The Canadian Association of Blue Cross Plans (Blue Cross of Canada) represents the independent Blue Cross Member Plans and Licensees operating in all regions nationally. These include Alberta Blue Cross, Canassurance Blue Cross (Quebec Blue Cross and Ontario Blue Cross), Manitoba Blue Cross, Medavie Blue Cross, Pacific Blue Cross, Saskatchewan Blue Cross and Blue Cross Life.  For more information, please visit www.bluecross.ca.

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