The top trending holiday destinations for Canadians in 2017

KAYAK‘s 2017 holiday data was recently unveiled, highlighting the most searched places for holiday travel this year, as selected by Canadians. Findings are taken from flight searches conducted between January 1, 2017 through to September 28, 2017, and the searches coincide with travel planned between December 1, 2017 and January 15, 2018.

KAYAK’s research found that Canadians book their holiday flights later than Americans, who start locking down plans in September. Canadians do it a month later in October (so now’s the time to get planning!). This could perhaps have to do with the order of Thanksgiving; Americans may need to plan earlier since their Thanksgiving holiday is in November rather than October, and they don’t want to miss out on deals and be rushing last minute to figure out plans. However, KAYAK notes that flight prices tend to decrease at the beginning of November and remain pretty constant throughout the holidays, so does the extra month really matter?

As for when Canadians tend to search for both domestic and international flights, KAYAK reports that the 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST window during weekdays is primetime. After all, who doesn’t like to day dream about vacation while sitting at work? Friday is the cheapest day to fly out of Canada (or across Canada) and Monday is the cheapest day to return.

Interesting to note is that Canadians tend to take an average of 13 vacation days (three more than those in the U.S.) during the winter holidays, which is three more days than last year’s findings.

Other interesting findings worth mentioning:

For the second year in a row, people flying out of Ottawa are opting for places in the U.S. when picking their holiday spots.

Hawaii is a go-to spot for those flying out of Edmonton, but for the first time in four years, Hawaii didn’t make the top trending list for Calgarians, according to KAYAK’S results.

Note: All flight searches are round-trip economy flights, excluding price outliers based on certain criteria. Prices may vary.

Click through to see the 10 top trending holiday destinations that got Canadians excited this year.

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No. 10: Barcelona, Spain (31 per cent increase)

The port in Barcelona is the main getaway to the Mediterranean, which increases interest in the destination while also offering accessible means to sightsee. Or, you can hop on board one of the many, many, many cruises available if that’s more your thing.
Tip: Book two months in advance to receive the best prices (even six weeks out will still have low prices, but watch out as they increase greatly after that).

No. 9: Lima, Peru (35 per cent increase)

Canadians looking to travel on the cheap have found a soft spot in Peru, and you don’t have to compromise on luxury or cuisine either, as both have vastly expanded (and innovated) in recent decades. Plus, if you’re a Machu Picchu enthusiast, you can truly make the most of your tourist time by taking the three-day journey there, too.
Tip: December starts the peak travel season, but the most inexpensive flights will show up one month before your departure on apps like KAYAK.

No. 8: Las Vegas, Nevada (35 per cent increase)

Prior to the recent mass shooting in Vegas, it remained a top choice for Canadians to visit during the holidays. While the recent violence may diminish some interest in the city for the short term, the tourism industry is bouncing back and is welcoming visitors like you once again.
Tip: Flights are often the least expensive in February, but the city is also a popular travel spot for Thanksgiving (#1 the past two years) so next year it may be even cheaper during October.

No. 7: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (37 per cent increase)

Puerto Vallarta was the #1 wallet-friendly flight out of Calgary and Edmonton, making searches more affordable.
Tip: Last-minute bookers will love Puerto Vallarta as there are often deals to be had as soon as two weeks before your travel dates.

No. 6: Kingston, Jamaica (39 per cent increase)

Jamaica is a trendy spot this year, according to KAYAK, as Kingston is one of two Jamaican destinations to make the 2017 list.
Tip: Many travellers use Kingston as a way to get to other spots within the country; it may be less expensive than flying into other cities.

No. 5: Singapore, Singapore (41 per cent increase)

We’ve already gushed about Singapore’s incredible Changi airport, which continues its expansion in 2018. As for holiday travel though, there’s been a substantial increase in the number of flights between Canada and Asia, making travel arrangements less of a hassle. Hainan Airlines offers a tri-weekly Beiijing-to-Calgary flight, which launched in 2016, and in 2015 Air China rolled out the first direct flight from Asia to Montreal.
Tip: Be cautious of the November to January time slot particularly because it’s monsoon season.

No. 4: Cancun, Mexico (46 per cent increase)

Cancun is consistently a favoured travel destination among Canadians–it’s a cheaper option than others on this list. Cancun is the most wallet-friendly flight out of Toronto (median price $547) and Winnipeg (median price $688).
Tip: Prices tend to drop in January so if you can, opt to plan your trip for after the holidays.

No. 3: Sao Paulo, Brazil (49 per cent increase)

In 2016 Brazil saw a big travel boost, with record numbers of international tourists headed overseas thanks to the Olympics in Rio. According to KAYAK’s findings, Brazil continues to be a hotspot, with a 50 per cent increase of Canucks seaching Sao Paulo getaways this year in comparison to 2016.
Tip: Avoid public transportation during rush hour, there’s a lot of traffic but also weather is unpredictable so you may run into problems. (Reuters)

No. 2: Kauai, Hawaii (49 per cent increase)

Kauai’s nickname “the garden isle” comes from the fact that the island is pretty much embedded in a tropical rainforest, and its calming shores are tempting tranquil retreats that attract travellers. With more flights being added to the destination and rates decreasing, the #2 spot shows that Canadians don’t need to travel to a different continent to enjoy much needed R&R.
Tip: By the early fall/winter, hotel rates often drop as beaches empty out so it’s a good time to visit if you can. (Flickr/ Adam Foster)

No. 1: Montego Bay, Jamaica (53 per cent increase)

When it comes to travelling to sunnier locales this holiday season, Montego Bay garnered the most interest from Canadians with a 53 per cent increase in interest thanks to its variety of getaways, from cruises to resorts.
Tip: Because Jamaica is a constant popular vacation go-to, book your flights two weeks in advance of departure so you get the cheapest flights. Prices are the lowest, however, in Januaray and November.