Whether it’s pressure from your enthusiastic kids who all seem to have a “lucky friend who’s going to Disney World (again), or you just really need to leave our record-breaking cold winter behind, many Canadians are feeling a tremendous urge to splurge on a getaway for March Break.
In 2014, a CIBC poll showed that the average March Break traveller was planning on spending an average of $2,328 on their getaway.
Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, a national non-profit credit counselling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance, worries that a chunk of the money spent on March Break this year will wind up as debt on your credit cards.
“We all know that household debt is through the roof,” says Schwartz. “It’s a symptom of living beyond our means – people may not be able to afford a vacation but they’ll take one anyway and hope they can pay for it later.”
Despite that half of Canadians are living pay cheque to pay cheque, they seem driven to get away from the slush and snow that has made them miserable over the winter months. Airports are expecting some of the busiest days of the year, as bound-and-determined Canadians take to the skies to get away no matter the cost.
“I always like to stress the very simple test of assessing ‘wants’ versus ‘needs’,” adds Schwartz. “A vacation very clearly falls into the ‘want’ category, but many are treating it like a’ need’ and are going into debt as a result.”
To make vacationing a little more financially attainable, Consolidated Credit reached out to some of Canada’s top financial bloggers and put together a series of tips and tricks that will easily bring down the cost of your trip, wherever you’re headed.
March Break Money Tips for Canadian Travellers
Consider connecting flights
Connecting is tough, especially if your kids are young. However, it can shave tons of money off your airfare. Plus, if you can find a connecting flight out of a great destination, you can always push your connecting flight a day or two and see the sights while you’re there. Blogger Corinne McDermott from Have Baby, Will Travel has great tips on flying out of Buffalo, too.
I know that we’ve flown many times out of Buffalo – you can see our article on the subject entitled Buffalo Niagara International Airport – BUF vs. YYZ
Budget for indulgences, and bring that money in cash
It’s inevitable that something will catch the kids’ eyes – or yours! – so plan accordingly. Bring that money in cash, so that when it’s gone, it’s gone and you won’t overspend and come home to a big credit card statement.
Bring just the essentials
Airlines are hiking their baggage fees like no tomorrow, so make sure to bring only the essentials and get the kids to do the same. Heather Greenwood Davis of Globetrotting Mama put together a great list of family-friendly tips for airport security and what you can bring in a carry-on.
Use Your Points
It really pays to save up your credit card’s travel points. Not only can they be applied to flights, but you can often use them for travel insurance, car rentals, hotels etc. Here’s one of our most popular articles on the subject of credit cards and travel. 10 Ways to Pay & Save by using a Credit Card for Travel
Think local – take a Staycation
Everyone wants to head south – especially during a long winter like this one – but there’s tons of fun to be had close to home, too.
This article is sponsored by Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.