NEWS

British Columbians choosing Europe for 2015 summer vacation

06/04/2015 11:20 EDT | Updated 06/04/2016 05:59 EDT
British Columbians looking to get away this summer are waiting longer to book their trips and travelling further abroad, according to travel agents.

"Usually we start to see bookings as early as January ... and most of our bookings are complete by mid-to-late April," said Flight Centre spokesperson Allison Wallace.

This year, however, Wallace says the busy booking season didn't start until March and it continued through April and May.

"We certainly expect that the Canadian dollar has something to do with it and people comparing value for money, and waiting a little bit longer to see [what] they can afford and what the deals are."

Bookings to the U.S. have flatlined, according to Wallace — she believes the strengthening U.S. dollar is to blame.

"Hawaii is still popular, but not as popular. They don't have all-inclusives there, so all your incidentals and all of those little things that you purchase — whether it's meals or alcohol or car rentals — are all in U.S. dollars. So it is significantly more expensive to travel there."

In contrast, the exchange rate with the Euro has changed very little in the last year, and Flight Centre bookings to Europe are up 10 per cent, Wallace said, with Croatia a popular destination.

"It's one of those places that, a few years ago, not that many people were going to and it's one of those places that is sort of not first on peoples' radar. It's usually Italy, Spain, France and England," she said, "but Croatia, Prague and river cruising are really popular this year."

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