On our radar: Destinations to consider scratching off your Bucket List for less considering our, well, lesser loonie. According to travel experts, these are some of the top places to get more for your Canadian buck.
One point to remember: stick with the home team. “To travel luxe-for-less right, it pays to book with a Canadian travel advisor because we have been given some special rates from many cruise lines and tour operators to help offset our low dollar,” says Linda May Dinsmore, of Deluxe Travel & Cruisesin Surrey, B.C., part of the Travel Professionals International (TPI), which is a member of Virtuoso luxury travel advisors.
Expert Savings Tip: For added value to the current Canadian Exchange look for companies that sell travel in Canadian Currency. “Often the ‘exchange’ is built in at a lower rate than booking in the destination currency,” says Jaime Murphy, a TPI agent at Magical Trips in St. John’s, Nfld.
“For example, many of the major River Cruise Companies have recently started booking Canadians in Canadian Currency and I have noticed the rates to be slightly better than booking in USD and converting the exchange, which is a nice added bonus. This also protects travellers from a continued drop in the exchange rate if they are booking on deposit.” tpi.ca/; www.virtuoso.com
“It is a great time to discover destinations where the Canadian dollar has a much better value,” says Jaime Murphy, a TPI agent at Magical Trips in St. John’s, Nfld.
“Currently, my three favourite destinations where our dollar goes further include South Africa, South East Asia and New Zealand. When I was in South Africa I was amazed by the value of our dollar: it was 10 to 1 and the experience was something I will cherish forever.”
Southeast Asia, India and Philippines
This area of the world is another competitively priced destination and there are Canadian suppliers that can offer excellent private tours, particularly in places like India, above. But check with your travel advisor first.
“Some of these companies will not show these rates on their websites, you can only get them through an advisor,” says Linda May Dinsmore, of Deluxe Travel & Cruises in Surrey, B.C. incredibleindia.org/
Whether it’s the islands or the mainland, this is a great time to visit Greece. The cradle of civilization is also a leader in hospitality and tourism in Europe. Just like being invited into a Greek local’s home, the country knows how to host a guest.
Emerging destination: Colombia
Miss Universe mishaps and Narcos aside, Colombia is on the rise as a travel destination. Tour companies that run guided holidays such as G Adventures and Abercrombie & Kent are featuring the country in their 2016 and 2017 brochures, as is Monograms (part of Globus), where the company is suggesting independent touring itineraries, where you can take in Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena.
And, according to the 2015 WIN/Gallup International Association’s End of Year Survey of 68 countries, Colombia is the happiest country in the world. www.colombia.travel