March Break is just around the corner and, like many Canadians looking to get away, you might be feeling a little pessimistic about how the loonie's nosedive is impacting your travel plans. But while many of us may claim there is nothing good about a low dollar the majority of Canadians will still make the most of their March break vacation - whether that means a staycation or snapping up last minute deals. By being savvy, flexible and creative, you might be surprised and just have one of your best vacations yet!
Search to Save
The Internet is your friend when it comes to saving money and finding the best travel deals. It pays to shop around and with so many sites like Booking.com, Expedia and Hotwire that offer real-time comparisons, it's easy to find the best prices available on hotels and flights. Many of these sites also help you navigate your journey through user reviews and star ratings while some, like Tripadvisor, also help you find the best attractions, things to do or places to eat while in destination.
Last Minute Mania
Don't overlook opportunity. According to our recent travel poll of 5,700 Ebates.ca members, 39 per cent are planning to vacation outside of Canada, but nearly 46 per cent are opting for a staycation and another 15 per cent say they are not taking a vacation at all. That means travel companies who were expecting a higher number of travellers down south are offering enticing deals, many for $1,000 or less. If you're intent on getting out of Dodge, pack a bag and be ready. As long as you are willing to be flexible on your departure and/or destination, there are some great last-minute deals to be had.
Even if it doesn't involve a hot, sandy beach, you can still have a fun and relaxing vacation. Family time, adventure, getting pampered and shopping top the list of what Ebates Canada members value most about March Break getaways. Choosing a staycation and exploring new parts of Canada will be popular this year. But whether you travel to another province or simply discover a neighbouring town, get creative and be open to new experiences.
Not just for tourists
We often take our own city for granted, but try playing tourist for a few days ¬and you might be surprised at just how much there is to do and see, from restaurants, shops and new attractions. Make it adventurous and exotic by visiting locations that make you feel like you are travelling outside the country; shop the markets or sample the cuisine in ethnic neighbourhoods like Chinatown or Little India. Take a guided tour of local historic buildings or architecture, or do an art gallery crawl. Think of things you've been wanting to experience but haven't got around to, like a new restaurant or spa. Maybe rock climbing, paint night, or the latest museum installation?
Consider a short road trip to a nearby town or city you've never been to. Whether it's a hike through the countryside, a stroll on the boardwalk or coffee in a main square with quaint shops and cobblestone roads resembling Europe, you don't always have to go far to feel like you're abroad.
Find extra savings
There are other ways to save more on your travel this March Break. Consider sites like Airbnb to find affordable accommodations that also have kitchens, which will reduce or eliminate restaurant expenses, along with other costs like parking and service tips. In many cases, you'll find the lodging options are way more interesting, quaint, or homey than a hotel room.
Visit Groupon to look for extra savings through flash sales on everything from travel and hotels to a range of nearby attractions and local activities including dining, spa treatments and more.
Check your loyalty programs to redeem points that will help defray some of your travel costs and, finally, don't forget cash-back programs, where you can earn money back on the purchases you make - including on travel!
Sari Friedman is the Marketing Director of Ebates Canada and resident shopping expert. Ebates.ca is Canada's largest cash back shopping site. As a fashion enthusiast and new mom, Sari has an eye for finding and sharing amazing deals on the hottest trends and must-have styles.
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