Thinking of throwing in the towel on your New Year's resolution? Perhaps Cheapflights.ca can help strengthen your resolve. We've calculated the financial upside for giving up each top vice and converted it to something ever so nice: travel!
Our survey of 1,007 Canadians found that the items topping the "give-up list" in 2015 are smoking, drinking soda/soft drinks and eating takeout for dinner. Cutting any of these habits is a great, health-conscious goal and, if you can do all three for January, you will certainly feel cleansed and perhaps even virtuous. Our math shows that you will also have an extra C$533* in hand, a nice start to your 2015 travel budget. It's a perfect amount for two nights at a four-star hotel in Miami Beach.
"The difference between travel aspirations and travel experiences is quite often a matter of budget," said Brittany Dietz, editor at Cheapflights.ca. "The New Year is a time for making commitments to ourselves to achieve what we want out of life. Over time, the little changes we make can add up to have a big impact, and perhaps be the difference between dreaming and doing when it comes to vacations."
Cheapflights.ca's research found that 61 per cent of Canadians are resolution makers. And 88 per cent of those who make resolutions stick with it for at least a week. More impressively, though, 63 per cent keep going through the end of January with 39 per cent sticking it out for months and months.
So, with that testament to the strength of Canadian willpower, we've dug deeper and calculated the rewards in both dollars and destinations for the top five items our resolution makers most wanted to give up:
- Smoking (20 per cent) - Put down the daily pack for January and, based on average pricing, pick up $341. You can celebrate your smoke-free month with a weekend road trip in a BMW or other speciality rental car. Make it for six months and put $2,046 in your pocket instead and get ready for seven days and nights at Turks and Caicos resort, with flights included. Last all year and reap a $4,092 reward. Put in travel terms, that's a 12-night Fiji and Australia getaway, with flights and hotels.
- Drinking soda/soft drinks (16 per cent) - Cut the cola out of your life and, assuming a half-litre-a-day habit, you can instead consume $88 in cash after a month. Then replace the sugar rush with a day of white water rafting or kayaking on the Ottawa River. Up the ante to six months and you will have $527 in hand, enough for a three night stay in a four-star Las Vegas hotel, flights included. You could have a cool $1,055 by the end of the year if you stay on track. With that kind of budget, you can score a round-trip ticket to Hawaii.
- Eating takeout for dinner (15 per cent) - Keep your takeout menu in the drawer until February 1 and you can instead savour, on average, $104 in savings and class up your next trip with pair of airline lounge day passes. A six-month diet from takeout nets most people $624 in savings or enough for five nights of Orlando sun and fun, with hotel and flights. A full year without takeout can generate a $1,248 windfall and send you to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico's Riviera Maya for five nights, airfare included.
- Watching bad TV (8 per cent) - Swap 200 channels for 20 by getting a more basic cable package and suddenly you are looking at an extra $35 a month, which adds up faster than you might think. After one month, you and a friend can catch your own live nature show with two tickets to the Maid on the Mist, a boat tour of Niagara Falls. By July 1, you can have an extra $210 in your travel piggy bank, enough for a cinematic ride from Vancouver up to Whistler in one of the classic rail cars of the Rocky Mountaineer. With the $420 you'd pocket by year's end, you could take off for an entertainment capital of the U.S. with a round-trip flight to either Los Angeles (leaving from the west coast) or New York (departing from the east).
- Eating lunch out (6 per cent) - Trade a brown bag for a lunch run each workday and, four weeks later, you will have $160 extra to call your own. Then you can have fun on the weekend with a Saturday night stay at a three-star resort in Banff, in high ski season. Make brown bagging a habit and, in six months, you will have $960 in hand and can enjoy all the dining options (and an ocean-view room) aboard a seven-day Caribbean cruise. In 12 months, you will be $1,920 ahead and can take off to sample the culinary fare in Thailand with a round-trip ticket to Bangkok or even Phuket.
Of course, the truly resolved traveller can go all out and give up really big to get away. A 12 month purge of all these vices would, after all, free up $8,735. That adds up to an around-the-world ticket, maybe even First Class.
*Pricing analysis based on figures from Numbeo.com unless otherwise stated.
Travel costs are per person, based on double occupancy unless otherwise stated.