Go ahead and forget about booking that trip abroad: you will benefit yourself and the economy

It seems like the Canadian dollar exchange rate vs. the US dollar has been stuck around 75 cents for ever! Well, it has been at this level for at last a year and it is unlikely to change anytime soon. And with the Canadian economy not doing so well of late and job numbers being sluggish, things may get worse. Time to hold on to our money. But hey, that better not mean that we have to skip on our vacation? In fact you may!


Staycation is a great way to save momey

Staycation is a great way to save momey

Hello Staycations!

Staycations, or vacataioning in your own town, province or country in general, will help you save money and help revive the economy (local hotels, restaurants, sightseeing, gas, etc.) If 1 million people end up vacationing locally, and assuming each spends an average of $750, that is $750,000,000 back to our local economy. That is close to a billion dollar back to our economy, and given this era of slow GDP growth, this would definitely help.

In 2013, the average Canadian Canadian spent close to $2600 on a March break vacation, with 36% opting to go to the US.  And according to a 2015 BMO survey, Canadians planned to spend an average of $2038 on ‘longer vacations and weekend trips. And finally, according to the Huffington Post, Canadians spend an average of $1800 on a vacation. : about 30% spend their time in the US.

To put these numbers in prospective, some of us spend as much or more on vacationing than we do on food (assuming the weekly family grocery bill is $100 for a family of 3-4) . Understandably, this is a not an apples to apples comparison (money spent on vacations vs. money spent on food) but it gives you an idea of how much we love our vacations, especially those to the south of the border, Caribbean and Europe. In other words, it is mostly money flowing out of the local economy. Don’t get me wrong, given our brutal, dark, snowy and cold winters, we all deserve at least one major vacation every year.  But how about only one? why not spend the other locally, in your own province at least? While we don’t have any cultural sites that rival those in Europe or sandy beaches like in the Caribbean, we still have places that millions from all over the world come to visit each year (Banff National Park, Niagara Falls, Bay of Fundy, the Great Lakes, Muskoka region, 1000 Islands are just to name a few…) And I bet most of you haven’t seen half o these Canadian places if not more.

With my family, we decided to skip our annual big vacation last year. We replaced it with shorter vacations in southwestern Ontario which saved us over $2000 in total (family of 3) while still getting to have some great time, seeing and enjoying some great places (North Bay, Muskoka, Niagara Falls, 1000 Islands and more) And guess what? We may do the same this year, skipping on that big vacation down south, since our dollar is still as weak as it was last year and is unlikely to recover anytime soon.

One thing you can also do is to save some money every year for one big trip every 3-5 years, while still doing mini local vacations. For example, we plan to do a big European cruise for our 5th anniversary. In order to afford that, we have to forgo the annual vacations we take to the Carribean and the other sunny destinations in the US.