With many popular vacation destinations open to Canadians again since travel restrictions were dropped earlier this year, a travel expert advises those looking to book a winter trip to start booking now.
“The good news is that most destinations are back on the table, so your typical Canadian hotspots like Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico,” travel journalist Loren Christie said on CTV’s Your Morning Tuesday. “It doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy to book your vacation. So the number one message is if you want a certain hotel or location, book early.”
Travel site Expedia released its 2023 Air Travel Hacks Report showing the best days to book flights domestically and internationally, and how many months ahead should people be booking.
According to the report, if people book flights on a Sunday they will save, on average, 15 per cent on domestic flights and 10 per cent on international flights.
Expedia says people should book at least two months before on domestic flights, which can save them 40 per cent on average. Booking three months before international flights can save an average of 10 per cent, the report reads.
Expedia says that if people pick flights departing before 3 p.m., it reduces their chance of the flight being cancelled. This is based on year-to-date flight status data which shows flights after 3 p.m. have a 15 per cent high chance of being cancelled.
The report explains those that book flights departing on a Friday will save up to 20 per cent on domestic flights. Expedia says to avoid departing on Saturday, Sunday and Monday which are the “priciest days to start a trip.”
For international travellers, Thursday is the best day to start a trip, saving an average of 10 per cent. Those departing internationally on a Wednesday will save about five per cent on average.
Inflation is hitting most items across Canada, including food, fuel and housing. Christie says the demand for winter vacationing is still there despite the high cost of living. He has also noticed an increasing trend in people booking vacation homes over hotels.
“These are actually purpose-built communities,” Christie says of the difference between vacation homes and AirBnB homes. “In Kissimmee, Florida, which is a great example, they have 60,000 rentable units of these homes, and they’re fully functioning homes with kitchens and barbecues.”
Some of the homes are three to four bedrooms, allowing a large family to stay for a price around $500, Christie says.
For those nervous about COVID-19 and getting sick while travelling abroad, Christie says some destinations, like Palm Beach in Florida, focus on increased sanitation and outdoor activities.
He also encourages people to check out COVID–19 restrictions even though most places have dropped policies.
“We know the restrictions are mostly lifted,” Christie said. “(But) there’s the odd one out there like the Bahamas, for example, if you’re not vaccinated, you still need to do a rapid antigen test 72 hours in advance.”
In March 2022, Statistics Canada released a report detailing how travel in Canada and abroad is still below 2019 levels. Canadians travelled to the United States in March 2022 more than five times as much compared with March 2021, which was still 33.4 per cent of the four million trips taken in March 2019. 
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