More Canadians are planning to travel in 2024 despite rising costs

Wednesday, Feb 21, 2024

The Blue Cross Travel Study reveals Canadians are eager to travel – and are finding creative and cost-efficient ways to do so.

The cost of travel is on the rise, but that isn’t stopping most Canadians from planning a vacation. According to a new study from Blue Cross, Canadians spent an average of $4,200 on their last vacation, and 94 per cent feel the cost of travelling is increasing. However, the 2024 Blue Cross Travel Study also reveals that more Canadians are feeling optimistic about travel and are planning more trips this year.

While inflation was a barrier to travelling, with over two-thirds (69%) of Canadians saying that it impacted their travel plans in 2023, Canadians still plan to make travel a priority this year. In fact, close to eight-in-ten (79%) say they are planning a trip outside their province or territory in 2024, up 10 percent from last year.

This is likely since nearly all Canadians (96%) recognize the benefits of travelling, such as being able to recharge, reducing burnout and improving mental health.

British Columbians top travel spending, yet risk their trips without travel insurance

British Columbians lead the nation in travel spending, with an average spend of approximately $5,100 on their last vacation, surpassing the national average by about $1,000. Moreover, they're gearing up to splurge even more on their next getaway, with plans to shell out approximately $5,300, compared to the national average of around $4,300. Interestingly, despite willing to pay top dollar for their vacations, the small number (12%) of British Columbians who do not purchase insurance are most likely to say insurance is too expensive (76%), well above the national average (50%).

“With Pacific Blue Cross plans starting at $10 per day, or under $100 per year, travel insurance is a relatively small price to pay for peace of mind,” says Adrian Bois, Associate Vice President, Individual and Voluntary Plans, Pacific Blue Cross. “And families travelling for spring break should also know that we cover kids of all families for free – whether it’s for one parent or two – when you buy travel insurance.”  

Vancouverites stand out as a cohort particularly attentive to travel preparation and investment. Nearly half (47%) prioritize purchasing travel insurance for peace of mind when travelling. Notably, Vancouverites exhibit a love for vacationing, with three quarters (86%) planning to travel outside of their province for leisure in the next 12 months – the highest across major Canadian cities. They are also most likely to take their vacations outside of their home province (76%), and nearly three quarters (74%) did in the past 12 months. Reflecting their commitment to quality experiences, 36% of Vancouverites spent more than $5,000 on their last vacation, the highest proportion across major Canadian at cities, while only 5 per cent of Vancouverites spent less than $1,000 on their last vacation – the lowest proportion across major Canadian cities.

Young Canadians underestimate the true costs of travelling without insurance

Considering the potential for travel-related incidents, most Canadians (87%) recognize the risks of travelling without insurance and many (57%) purchase a policy at least occasionally. Younger generations, however, are more likely to roll the dice. Nearly half (47%) of Gen Z travellers who never purchase insurance say it is because they don't think anything bad will happen. Further, they underestimate the actual cost of emergency medical care more than any other generation.

“Insurance could be viewed as a form of digital currency,” says Bois. “For a typical Millennial traveller visiting the U.S., an insurance policy costs the same as a daily cup of coffee, while a single night in a U.S. hospital can easily be thousands of dollars.”

Travel stress is down, but disruptions remain

After a turbulent return to travel last year when disruptions dominated the headlines, travellers are feeling more at ease this year. Travel-related stress is down 41 percentage points, as less than half (48%) of Canadians said they experienced some form of travel stress, compared to 89 per cent in 2023.

“While it’s great to see a decrease in travel stress, we know Canadians continue to deal with travel-related issues,” warns Bois. “In fact, 58 per cent of Canadians said they have experienced a travel-related incident and for the second year in a row, cancelling or changing a flight, and lost or damaged baggage were named as the top travel-related incidents – all things travel insurance can help with.”

Interestingly, young Canadians are more likely to experience travel disruptions. Just over three-quarters (78%) of Gen Z and 64 per cent of Millennial travellers said they have experienced a travel-related incident compared to just over half of Boomers (56%). This may also be contributing to higher levels of stress, as 54 per cent of Gen Z and 58 per cent of Millennials find travel stressful, compared to 39 per cent of Boomers.

Canadians are finding creative ways to travel in 2024

Canadians are exploring new forms of travel, with ecotourism on the rise. British Columbians, in particular, are conscious of the environment when travelling. Over half (51%) of British Columbians are prepared to pay more for their vacations to offset carbon emissions. The environment is a priority for British Columbians, as many believe ecotourism keeps the environment clean (44%) and reduces negative ecological impact (37%).

Younger Canadians are especially keen to adopt these new travel trends. Many Gen Z travellers (55%) see ecotourism as an opportunity to have a more meaningful travel experience, and 47 per cent have taken or are planning an ecotourism vacation, compared to just 17 per cent of Boomers. Gen Z are also more open than their older counterparts to the possibilities of combining remote work and travel by temporarily working from a new destination: 50 per cent of Gen Z have or are planning to move provinces/territories or countries for a few months, compared to 38 per cent of Millennials and just 12 per cent of Boomers.

To learn more about the study, please visit or access the full report.

About the Blue Cross Travel Study

To create the 2024 Blue Cross Travel Study, Research + Knowledge = Insight, an independent research company, conducted an online survey in November 2023.  The comprehensive sample for this survey included 2,047 adult Canadians. The study has a margin of error of plus or minus 2%, 19 times out of 20.