5 Ways to Travel on a Budget this Summer


After two long years of staying home, many Canadians are itching to set their travel bug free. But with soaring hotel and gas prices, what’s a travel lover to do?

While it may be trickier to travel on a budget this summer, it’s certainly not impossible. Read on for some tips on how to get the most bang for your travel buck.

1. Think outside of the budget box. If you’ve been patiently waiting since March 2020 to take your next trip, you may very well have a bigger budget than you realized. Take a look at your savings to see if you can put any unspent travel dollars towards this year’s trip. And while you’re at it, be sure to check if you have any travel points you can cash in… for flights, car rentals, or restaurant gift cards.

2. Do some comparison shopping. Is it cheaper to drive or travel by train? What about travelling within Canada versus internationally? (You might be surprised to discover it can be cheaper to fly to a tropical location than somewhere in your own country.) Be sure to take advantage of one of the many websites that compare flights costs, hotel costs, and more. You may also want to check if it’s more budget-conscious to stay at a B&B versus an Airbnb. (Tip: A spot with its own kitchen can mean saving on dining out expenses.) And don’t forget – even comparing travel dates can save you big bucks, since travelling mid week is typically much more affordable than travelling on a long weekend.

Hot tip for Ontario residents! Be sure to take advantage of the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit for certain travel expenses in 2022. This temporary credit gives you the opportunity to claim 20% of the cost of eligible travel accommodations within the province. (Individuals can claim up to a maximum of $1,000, and families can claim no more than $2,000.)

3. Take advantage of last-minute deals. This one requires a bit more flexibility on your part – but now that the kids are of out of school, it might be that much easier to book a last-minute getaway. Airlines and hotels just want to ensure all their bookings are filled, and will significantly reduce prices for empty seats or rooms if supply and demand wasn’t what they had anticipated. So if you are able to plan your trip ”on standby,” don’t pass up the chance to get drastically reduced prices. (Just remember, lower prices are not always guaranteed in this scenario.)

4. Choose a destination with free accommodations and low-cost (or no-cost) activities. Whether that means camping out in nature, or spending time in a spot known for its parks, hiking trails, or summer festivals, you can most certainly take advantage of the great outdoors without dipping too far into your travel budget. You may need to invest up front – in a tent purchase or an RV rental – but once your sleeping spot is settled, you can get away with spending very little on this sort of trip. Another thing to consider is renting a houseboat… where your accommodation IS your destination. It’s essentially two for the price of one!

5. And if travel really isn’t in the cards for you this year, create the staycation of your dreams. (And save more for next year while you’re at it.) Seriously, spend what little travel budget you have on making your home a version of your dream getaway. Create your very own backyard waterpark for the kids with some fancy sprinklers, a kiddie pool, a slip & slide, and some fun water toys. Or, make yourself a tiki bar with the right mood lighting and some affordable décor from the dollar store. As long as you can dream it, the possibilities are endless!

If you stick to your travel budget this summer, you’ll see it’s well worth it. A vacation is an investment in your mental well-being, and can improve your productivity at work and your mood at home. It can also give your mind and body a much-need rest and reset. Just remember, no matter where you go, be sure to make it a sweet escape from your daily routine.