Cheapflights.ca has just released their annual Compass Report where they took a look at where Canadians are travelling to and how much it costs to get there. The data was taken from searches done on their own site in the last year from six major markets: Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg.
The report covers everything from when Canadians search for flights to the most popular destinations, but for this post I want to focus on the most popular destinations in order of the average airfare.
It was interesting to see that not a single Canadian city ranked in the top 10. Halifax, Ottawa, Montreal, and Winnipeg ranked 11th, 16th, 17th, and 19th respectively, but it does reinforce the idea that travelling within Canada is expensive. Let’s take a look at the top destinations for Canadians based on airfare.
New York, New York
Average roundtrip airfare – $348
There’s no surprise that New York has the lowest average airfare. The city usually ranks in the top 10 searched destinations by Canadians and it’s a major hub for air transport. Since it’s such a popular spot, prices tend to be lower due to the increased competition. Unfortunately, ground costs, especially hotels can be quite expensive in the city. That being said, pick up a New York CityPASS when you’re in town to help cut down on the cost of attractions.
Average roundtrip airfare – $375
Boston has always been a popular spot for Canadians, but interest in the city has grown significantly over the last few years due to the Blue Jays. The Red Sox are arguably the Jay’s biggest rivals so it’s not surprising to see a crowd of blue and white jerseys at Fenway whenever the Jays are in town. If you’re not into baseball, following the Freedom Trail is well worth your time since it’ll take you to 16 historic landmarks that helped shape the U.S.
Average roundtrip airfare – $424
I visited Washington, D.C. a few years back and absolutely loved the city. Some people may be turned off by the current political situation, but there’s no denying that the city has a lot to offer. Most of the museums in the city and free and many of them are some of the best in the U.S. Of particular note are the Air and Space Museum and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Average roundtrip airfare – $442
Chicago is another city I have a lot of love for. In my opinion, the best attraction in the city is the architecture river cruise. There’s nothing quite like taking a tour of the city from the river while a guide explains the history of all the buildings around you. I also found the food scene to be excellent. Deep dish pizza was a bit too heavy for me, but local celebrity chef Rick Bayless’ restaurant, Frontera Grill served some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever had.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Average roundtrip airfare – $470
What’s interesting about airfare to Fort Lauderdale is that it’s $60 cheaper than Miami, but it’s only an hour north. The savings may not seem much, but it’s always worth checking both airports to see what prices you’re getting. Besides the proximity to Miami, Fort Lauderdale is popular because it’s a major departure port for cruises. If you’ve arrived at the city a day early, you can either relax on the beach or take an inner river cruise.
Average roundtrip airfare – $476
If you’re planning to go to an all-inclusive resort, always look for hotel and airfare packages since they’re usually cheaper. Now if you’re looking just for airfare, maybe that means you’ll be looking for your own accommodations. If that’s the case, it’s worth looking at Playa del Carmen where there are many private homes available for rent and plenty of public beaches where you can relax. Restaurants in the city, including the ones that are near the beach, are relatively inexpensive.
Average roundtrip airfare – $478
I recently visited Orlando and had a blast there. Airfare prices can fluctuate quite a bit depending on the season so try to plan your trip during the low season if you can. If you’re heading to Orlando for theme parks, you’ll likely end up spending a small fortune. There are sometimes special discounts for Canadians, so do your research before buying your tickets. For more tips on how to see Orlando on a Budget, check out this story I wrote for MoneySense.
Average roundtrip airfare – $481
Tampa is a great airport since it’s a reasonable distance to both St. Petersburg and Sarasota which are both popular spots for Canadians. The top attractions in the city are Busch Gardens, the Big Cat Rescue, and the Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center, but the Tampa Art Museum is also worth checking out. The riverfront is very beautiful with its boardwalks, bike trails, and landscaped parks.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Average roundtrip airfare – $483
San Juan is one of those destinations that has slowly been getting a lot of attentions from travellers. Most people only know it as a cruise port, but you may be surprised to learn that the country is an inexpensive destination. Despite using the U.S. dollar, prices are pretty reasonable compared to the rest of the Caribbean. You might be surprised to learn that San Juan has some stunning architecture and is one of America’s oldest cities.
Los Angeles, California
Average roundtrip airfare – 518
Rounding up the top 10 of cheapest destinations for Canadians based on airfare is Los Angeles. Once you arrive, you’re going to have a lot of choice of what to do. Will you head to Santa Monica Pier or Venice Beach? Maybe theme parks are your thing. If so, there are Universal Studios and Disneyland available. Architect nuts will want to check out the Disney Concert Hall and The Broad, one of L.A.’s newest and greatest buildings.