Must-Do Adventures for Fall and Winter Travel

People are booking dream vacations, staying longer and upgrading their accommodations

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According to industry experts, bucket list adventures are on the rise as Canadians are eager to make up for lost time after the pandemic upended travel plans.

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“People take these dream trips,” says Lesley Keyter, owner of The Travel Lady agency in Calgary. “They are willing to stay longer and upgrade their accommodation because they feel deprived – they haven’t traveled for a few years and now they want to spoil themselves.”

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She says Europe is a top destination for her clients, most of whom are aged 50 and over.

“Italy is always a favourite,” she said. “Spain and Portugal are also popular, simply because they are so affordable.”

Lisa Bain, leisure travel consultant at Forbes Travel in Vancouver, sees an increase in travel to Africa, with wildlife safaris high on the list for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

“After COVID, people really want to do something a little out of the ordinary,” she says. “It’s one of those must-go places, like people going to Churchill, Man. to see the polar bears.

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Keyter says cruises are booking up fast and she’s also seeing more last-minute trips.

“People are jumping on the bandwagon as they realize travel has opened up and prices are very good right now,” she says. “There’s a lot of sales there, especially with cruise lines. Australia and New Zealand have opened up now, so it’s getting more popular.

Mexico, Hawaii, Fiji and Tahiti are other top destinations for Canadian travelers seeking sun this winter.

Encore Bucket List Editorial 2
The pandemic has boosted vacations on the to-do list for seniors. TOMÁŠ NOŽINA/UNSPLASH

“A lot of people stayed close to home when we were in COVID. Now it seems like people are getting on planes and going further,” says Bain.

More and more travelers are using group travel to connect with family, she observes.

“There’s a lot more multi-generational travel,” she says. “Grandparents bring their children and their children’s children.”

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She adds: “A lot more people are seizing the moment, rather than waiting. COVID has put a lot of things into perspective for people.

As the pandemic has boosted bucket list vacations for seniors, Bain is seeing travel bookings at all ages. “It’s really everyone,” she says. “We are super busy. It’s like the pre-COVID numbers again.

Indeed, Canadians have been eager to explore throughout 2022 as the travel industry has rebounded.

Tourism spending rose 1.3% in the first quarter of 2022, with travelers spending $15.7 billion, according to Statistics Canada. Domestic tourism spending rose 2.9% in the first quarter to $13.5 billion.

In a November 2021 report, Destination Canada, the country’s national tourism marketing organization, identified health and wellness travel, nature and outdoor tourism, Indigenous experiences and luxury travel as growing trends.

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“Pent-up demand remains strong and is being driven by increased household savings, unused vacation banks and loyalty rewards,” the Destination Canada website says. “Travel was the top spending priority across all Destination Canada markets in 2021.”

And people are no longer putting their dream vacation on the back burner, especially for the over-50s.

“These people say time is precious – leave that to me,” says Keyter. “They say, ‘I’ve worked my whole life, paid my taxes, raised my kids, sent them to college – now it’s my turn’.”

The story was created by The content works, Postmedia Business Content Division.

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