Canadians rebooking vacation travel face sticker shock
VANCOUVER -- First we couldn’t go, now we may not be able to afford to go.
There is disappointment in the air for Canadians looking to get on a plane and disappear to far away international destinations. Many who had previously booked vacation packages and had them cancelled and refunded because of the pandemic are facing sticker shock as they try to rebook.
Just ask Jennifer Bowden from Port Moody who had hoped to rebook her honeymoon vacation package in Cancun, Mexico.
“I was just waiting until things opened again,” Bowden told CTV News.
And when things did open up again booking that same trip would cost her and her husband an extra $2,500 or about 50 per cent more.
They had booked and paid for a nine-day, VIP vacation package through Transat - an all-inclusive with a beautiful junior suite and swim out at the Breathless Riviera Cancun Resort and Spa but their April 2020 was cancelled and later refunded.
When they tried to rebook for around the same time in 2022, the price had gone from $5,418 to $7,959.
“It’s just not feasible for us,” said Bowden.
Even booking a lower grade room and package would still cost more.
“Well travel is all about supply and demand,” said Allison Wallace, VP Flight Centre Travel Group.
There is a lot of pent up demand after nearly a year and a half of restricted international travel.
Domestically, Wallace says accommodation prices have increased for the summer in Canada as well as in the most popular winter vacation spots like Mexico and Hawaii. If you took a chance and booked before COVID-19 infections rates started to calm down, you may have gotten a deal but if you are looking to travel during peak times, you may be out of luck.
Because of the pandemic, the Mexican government is restricting hotel capacity to create less density. That means there are fewer rooms for hotels to rent and as demand increases so do prices.
Many rental car companies that sold off some of their fleet to survive the pandemic are now struggling to supply enough vehicles in some locations.
“You’re going to see pricing for rental cars that are absolutely through the roof,” said Wallace.
The airlines are also facing added staffing pressures and pilot shortages. Pilots and crews were laid off, furloughed or retired and those returning to work will need retraining. Until more planes are back in service to meet the demand, you may see prices start to rise.
In addition, as the airlines shuffle things around, you may experience cancellations and re-scheduling that may alter your departure and return dates, add more connections and increase the travel time to your planned destination.
However, if you are willing to travel in off peak times or to places that are less frequented, you may be able to find some deals.
For example, Flight Centre says business travel has not come back yet and you can find some five star deals in big cities like San Francisco and New York.
“There are some incredible deals at five star hotels in big cities like San Francisco and New York and pricing that we haven’t seen for years,” said Wallace.
Bowden understands the pressures facing the travel industry but still feels cheated out of her dream honeymoon vacation.
“It’s not fair for anybody really, it’s not fair for us as the travellers, and it’s not fair for the hotels or the airlines though. The whole situation actually kind of sucks but hoping I can still get my trip back after all of this,” she said. “We’re open to go whenever we can go really. Just wanting to make sure that COVID is definitely over and I’m not risking losing a trip again.”