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Data shows hectic travel agenda for Canadians this holiday season

11/27/2014 01:25 EST | Updated 01/27/2015 05:59 EST

As the holiday season is upon us, many Canadians are starting the countdown to the Christmas and New Year's breaks. The team of experts at Cheapflights.ca were curious to find out where Canadians are heading this year. Are Canadians using this year's extra long break for family or fun?

To get their answers, the team took a look at the Cheapflights.ca site's travel data to find out which destinations spiked in popularity from searches over the two-week Christmas break. The top destinations reveal a split agenda between escaping to sun and fun versus staying closer to home and family.

Here are the top 10 cities where Canadians plan to spend their holidays, based on total travel searches for flights between December 18 and January 4:

  1. Toronto, Ontario
  2. Orlando, Florida
  3. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  4. Vancouver, B.C.
  5. Las Vegas, Nevada
  6. Miami, Florida
  7. Calgary, Alberta
  8. Cancun, Mexico
  9. Varadero, Cuba
  10. Halifax, Nova Scotia

Looking more closely, however, the team unearthed an interesting trend. Travel leading into Christmas has a decidedly more domestic feel, with Toronto still atop the list and Vancouver, Halifax, Calgary and Ottawa all in the top 10.

Here are the top 10 destinations where Canadians searched for flights departing on December 20:

  1. Toronto, Ontario
  2. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  3. Orlando, Florida
  4. Miami, Florida
  5. Vancouver, B.C.
  6. Halifax, Nova Scotia
  7. Las Vegas, Nevada
  8. Varadero, Cuba
  9. Calgary, Alberta
  10. Ottawa, Ontario

Fast forward to December 27, though, and the only Canadian spots still on the list are Toronto (now in the bottom five) and ski haven Calgary. Clearly the travel goal has quickly shifted to winter escapes.

Here are the top 10 cities where Canadians searched for flights departing on December 27:

  1. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  2. Orlando, Florida
  3. Las Vegas, Nevada
  4. Miami, Florida
  5. Cancun, Mexico
  6. Toronto, Ontario
  7. Varadero, Cuba
  8. Tampa, Florida
  9. Calgary, Alberta
  10. Los Angeles, California

A few days later, New Year's celebrations top the list, as do slightly closer destinations, whether for sun or city fun.

Here are the top 10 cities where Canadians searched for flights departing on December 30:

  1. Las Vegas, Nevada
  2. New York, New York
  3. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  4. Toronto, Ontario
  5. Vancouver, B.C.
  6. Orlando, Florida
  7. Calgary, Alberta
  8. Miami, Florida
  9. Cancun, Mexico
  10. Phoenix, Arizona

Clearly there are a lot of travel agendas for this year's holiday break. So, whether you are travelling across the country to Toronto or Halifax to spend the holidays with family and friends, escaping the cold in Cuba, or fitting it all in with multiple trips, don't leave home without first reading Cheapflights.ca's 2014 holiday season travel survival guide featuring:

This is the most popular, and for many, stressful time of the year for travel. With crowds, weather, extra baggage and many inexperienced or overwhelmed flyers, mayhem can reign supreme. Get ahead with our tips and advice on how to cope with the uncertainty and chaos of holiday travel - this toolkit will help you keep calm and travel on this travel season.