Most Canadians would go to some EXTREME lengths …


What would you sacrifice for a little more time away from the office?

Would you give up TV? What about alcohol?

According to a survey produced by Expedia (one of Canada’s leading travel websites), 90% of Canadians would be willing to make (somewhat extreme) sacrifices for just one extra day of vacation a year:

  • 56% would give up video games for a week
  • 46% would quit drinking alcohol for a week
  • 36% would give up their mobile phone for a week (!!)
  • 43% would go without TV for a week
  • 36% would drop coffee for a week

And perhaps most amazingly of all, a growing number (32% at last count) of millennials would even give up dating if it meant they could have more money to spend on travel for themselves!

Of course, actions speak louder than words. But these are strong words. It seems Canadians might be one of the most vacation-deprived people in the world. Is there any evidence to support this?

A global survey revealed Canada is the only country in the world in which workers would rather have more vacation time than a modest pay raise. When presented with a list of possible workplace perks, an extra week of paid time off was the top choice for Canadians. For all other countries surveyed, a salary increase was the top choice.


Clearly, Canadians feel vacation-deprived. But are they really?


A 2016 study from Expedia showed that Canadians get, on average, 15 days of vacation a year. That’s one day more than Americans get, but less than people in European countries and Brazil, for example.

So it’s not a clear case of deprivation. Are Canadians just nuts?

Maybe it’s because Canadians value a healthy work-life balance. A 2015 study showed that 72% of Canadians associated vacationing with their overall happiness. For Canadians, the opportunity to travel (usually southbound) is important to their overall wellbeing.

It might have something to do with the weather. The cold, dark winters can be depressing.

Traveling seems to be one way Canadians are trying to live healthier lifestyles. The same 2015 study suggests this is the case: 40% of Canadians report feeling less stressed and more relaxed after a vacation.

But we know that less than half of all Canadians use all their vacation days. And 15% didn’t take any of their allotted vacation days.

The biggest barriers were cost and (to a lesser extent) health issues. Spending wasn’t an issue for everyone, however. A large number of Canadians who do travel (about 73%) plan to spend up to $5,000 on travel in 2017.

There seems to be an untapped opportunity for marketers to reach Canadians who are itching to travel but just need to find the right opportunity.

Here’s another interesting thing about Canadian travel opportunities:


Canadians don’t tend to travel as much within their own country as Americans do.

No, Canadians mostly prefer to take their travel time in the US, Europe, or elsewhere.

One of the reasons for this is the fact that airfare between Canadian cities is expensive. It’s a huge country (geographically speaking), and there aren’t as many airlines as there are in the US. So in most cases, it’s actually less expensive to travel to American cities.

That’s probably one reason why most Canadians have valid passports, while a large number of Americans (36%) don’t.


So how can travel marketers get Canadians to take more time off? What can we do to get them off their butts and onto a plane toward the US?


Maybe we need to do a better job at convincing Canadians to take a break for their physical and mental wellbeing. It’s clearly an idea Canadians understand and value. Maybe we just need to remind them.

Low-cost, wellness-branded trips might resonate with Canadians. That’s one idea. But not the only one …

For 71% of Canadians, family trips are the priority, while 58% are looking for city and culture trips, and 56% are looking for nature and wildlife-themed holidays. But what about the inspiration to travel? Where does it originate?

When scouting out the next holiday destination, Canadians are inspired most of all by recommendations from friends, but also by travel reviews and features articles. They find most of their travel information from TV (38%), web reviews (38%), social media (34%), travel company websites (29%), newspapers and magazines (24%), news websites (18%), lifestyle websites (16%), and blogs (14%).

This data suggests a multi-channel campaign with several touchpoints will work best. No one channel can stand alone.

For more information about targeting Canadian travelers …


Check out this infographic we made showing the top US travel destinations for Canadians.

And when you’re done looking at that, you might be interested in another infographic we made to illustrate Canadian travel habits.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out – you can send us an email or give us a call and we’ll be happy to help. And if you need more in-depth information, we’ll set up a free consultation.