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Planning a last-minute summer vacation? Here's how to save money

Summer is already in full swing, but there is still time to plan a vacation — and even save some money, while you're at it. (Pexels/Oleksandr P) Summer is already in full swing, but there is still time to plan a vacation — and even save some money, while you're at it. (Pexels/Oleksandr P)

Summer is already in full swing, but there is still time to plan a vacation — and even save some money, while you're at it.

According to Blue Cross’ Travel Study for 2024, Canadians spent an average of $4,241 on their last vacation with 94 per cent of travellers feeling the vacation costs are on the rise.

Though two-thirds of Canadians say inflation affected travel plans in 2023, eight-in-ten Canadians are planning a trip outside their province this year.

In Statistics Canada’s most recent Consumer Price Index, the cost of air transportation increased by 4.5 per cent in May from April this year. The jump in year-over-year growth, StatCan notes, was driven by increases in travel tours and air transportation month-over-month, with more Canadians travelling to the U.S.

Here are some tips and tricks from financial expert and consultant Robyn Thompson, shared in an interview with CTV News' Your Morning:

Shop around

According to the financial advisor and founder of Castlemark Wealth Management, it's still possible to plan a last-minute holiday without breaking the bank — and travellers will want to start by comparing prices.

“We have all seen those travel apps where they all compare the best prices across the web – they have very different pricing structures. So, when you look at them, they could vary significantly in what they’re quoting,” Thompson noted.

If looking through multiple travel apps, Thompson encourages calling the airline and hotels directly.

“(…) You never know what people are willing to discount to get your business, so it’s really about doing the research, digging and finding out,” Thompson said.

Beat the crowds

While Canadian families typically reserve their summer getaways for when the kids are out of school, Thompson says it’s cheaper to push travel plans to September, if you can swing it.

“If you don’t have to go around the school schedule, look to push off your travel until September, when the kids are back to school,” Thompson said in an interview with CTV News’ Your Morning.

“You start to see some prices drop in the areas that are not so specific around June, July and the beginning of August.”

Boost your budget

When looking for ways to earn some extra cash to put away for vacation, Thompson suggests either starting a side hustle or selling household items that are no longer needed or used.

“Of course, there are always the things that we sell that we do not need, so garage sales, things that we have in our closets that are stacked full — get rid of the things that you don’t need,” Thompson said.

Canadians can also invest in travel reward cards to cut down on vacation costs, Thompson said, and accumulate points to use toward their trips.

Those looking to have their dollar go further on vacation can also consider travelling with a group. Thompson notes travel eases on the wallet if there’s a way to share expenses, from renting an Airbnb together to cut down on accommodation costs to saving on eating out by splitting money on groceries.

In Expedia’s travel report, dissecting global travel trends of 2023, 38 per cent of travellers used cooking as a means to trim vacation costs.

“It becomes very affordable if you can start to share some of those expenses with other people in your life,” Thompson said.

Pick out priorities

Finally, during the planning stages, Thompson advises narrowing down what is most valuable for your travel plans and how you want to spend your money.

“Some people like to get up at three o’clock in the morning to catch a flight three times to get where they want to go because they want to save their money, right? Some people want a direct flight, it’s going to cost more money to do that," Thompson said.

"You have to decide where you want to spend your money.”

Watch the full chat with Robyn Thompson at the top of this article.

The 2024 Blue Cross Travel Study included responses from 2,047 adult Canadians and has a margin of error of plus or minus two per cent, 19 times out of 20. Top Stories

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