As the cost of living continues to rise across the country, you may be wondering if travelling this year is feasible. However, despite the financial challenges posed by inflation and high gas prices, a significant majority of Canadians remain determined to embark on road trips this summer. Let’s take a look at how road trips may change to adapt to the times.

Increased cost of travel

It’s not surprising that Canadians will be paying more than usual to travel this summer. Daryl Silver from Continental Travel Group in Winnipeg says, “They’re maybe spending 20% more this year than they would in previous years.” Inflation and the high cost of living is putting the brakes on summer road trips for some drivers, but it won’t change everyone’s plans. The higher costs of living might cut down that trip this summer. According to a Leger survey conducted for the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada, 66% of drivers say financial pressures will likely force them to cancel or limit road trips this summer. Among drivers ages 18 to 34, that number jumps to 73% and 72% for motorists ages 35-54.

Cost-cutting and affordability are top of mind

Of those who are planning a road trip this summer, 43% say rising gas prices have impacted their plans. And, while very few (8%) have outright cancelled their trips as a result, most (35%) will be taking action to cut their costs. “It’s evident that road trips are still an important part of summer for many Canadians,” says Stephen Beatty, Vice President, Corporate at Toyota Canada. “But, with so many feeling the pressure of high inflation and increased gas prices right now, we’re seeing an increased focus on the affordability of those road trips.”

A national survey conducted among members of the Angus Reid Forum finds Canadians are considering altering their travel plans in a variety of ways:

  • 51% of travellers will be looking for less expensive accommodations
  • 47% will be planning fewer restaurant dining occasions
  • 31% will be travelling a shorter distance
  • 30% will be spending fewer days on the road than originally planned
  • 26% will be visiting fewer attractions

Weekend road trips gaining popularity

The Angus Reid poll also found that a weekend or long weekend getaway is, by far, the most common type of trip being planned (67%). Half of the respondents are intending to drive less than 10 hours in total. A smaller group (15%) plan to drive for three days or more on their journey. As far as travel companionship, family members (80%) are the number one choice. This is followed by taking friends (34%), pets (17%), and co-workers (3%).

For more information on some terrific weekend getaways in Ontario, please click here.

Focus on your vehicle during road trips

Fuel-efficiency for road trips

Most drivers say the number one issue for them potentially avoiding a summer road trip is the cost of gas. The 2023 edition of the annual Toyota Canada Summer Road Trip Survey found 74% of those polled are still planning a road trip. As a result, fuel efficiency and other ways to cut costs are very much top of mind this year. Among Canadians planning a road trip this summer, Toyota’s poll found 38% rank fuel efficiency as the single-most important vehicle feature. For electric vehicle owners, there is the lingering concern of availability for EV charging stations along the way. But, with a little bit of planning, you can map out a route that takes full advantage of rest stops with EV fuelling stations along the way.

To learn more about traveling with an electric vehicle, please click here.

Car maintenance prior to road trips

Along with fuel-efficiency, it’s important to make sure your vehicle is ready for those long-distance road trips. Director of Communications and PR for CAA North and East Ontario, Julie Beun, recommends having your car tires properly inflated. She emphasizes that, “You’re actually going to slow down and use more petrol if they’re not properly inflated, and that goes for EVs, too. She also recommends a month before your trip to get an oil change and top up fluids. Both of these steps will improve the performance of your vehicle. For more car maintenance tips, click here.

Canadians still intend to travel

Despite the increase in costs, vendors are seeing robust sales for travel this summer. Daryl Silver from Continental Travel Group in Winnipeg contends some people are paying more than usual. He states, “I think people want to treat themselves because they haven’t been going anywhere for a couple of years. They’re maybe spending 20% more this year than they would in previous years.” Dr. Barry Prentice from the University of Manitoba says he doesn’t believe the cost of living will go down anytime soon. He says a lot of firms and businesses that lost money during the pandemic are now trying to catch up to pre-pandemic levels. Resorts lost sales and have had to take on extra debt. Businesses need to get it back somehow! So many are increasing their prices; and when everyone is doing this, it’s easier to get away with it.

Before embarking on your next vacation or road trip, you should contact isure to make sure you’ve got the right coverage. If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s shown us that being prepared is essential. Road trips may be changing to adapt to the times, so ensure that your insurance policy is up to date. Consider adding some additional coverage for roadside assistance. After all the planning, preparing and packing, you’re all set to have one of the greatest experiences of your life.

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