Bucking the trend

The rollercoaster antics of the Canadian dollar have provoked scare headlines across the country. Everywhere you look, it’s doom and gloom as the Loonie loses ground to a strong U.S. dollar.

But while times are tough for bankers, manufacturers, currency speculators and importers, how are things for travelling CARP members?

In some cases, the problems perceived by travellers is more myth than reality. In Florida, gasoline, accommodation and clothing are still a bargain for Canadians. And, when you compare the costs of dining out, things are pretty much on par, despite the difference in the two currencies.

As for accommodation, requesting a CARP discount could mean an additional saving.

Other U.S. destinations are planning winter promotions to lure Canadians. For example, California will once again host its California Dream Days promotion Nov. 1, 1998, to Feb. 28, 1999, offering discounts of 20 per cent or more on lodging, admissions to theme parks and other attractions.

If you’re flying, you’re still paying for your tickets in Canadian dollars, so there’s no loss there. And because of strong competition between Air Canada, Canadian Airlines and the gaggle of charr airlines, prices have remained reasonably affordable. And there are seat sales.

Heading for Europe? Airfares are cheaper now for trans-Atlantic flights than a decade ago, but once you get there, you’ll find things expensive.

In short: Don’t be turned off by currency fluctuations, as with careful budgeting you can travel and have enough money left for a little fun once you get there.