Stretch that loonie till it barks

With the languishing loonie now settled in at the 67 cent range, we are all very aware of how expensive it can be to travel down south. If a winter holiday is in the cards for you, how can you stretch your loonies to make sure that you don’t return to an empty bank account? The good folks at Signature Vacations offer these timely tips, well in an advance of the southern season.

1) If you’re looking for a sun holiday, seriously consider an all-inclusive. Last winter, for the first time, the number of Canadians choosing an all-inclusive package exceeded those opting for air-and-hotel.

“Canadians love the no-surprises aspect of an all-inclusive where all your meals, drinks, sports and entertainment are prepaid in Canada, in Canadian funds,” says Martha Chapman of Signature Vacations.

2) If all-inclusives aren’t your cup of tea, investigate pre-paying as many components of your holiday as you can before you leave Canada. Rounds of golf, rental car insurance, and meal plans can often be prepaid, or at least pre-booked, to help the vacation budgeting process.

3) Travel off-season. There’s been a lot of noise about the peak demand period over the millennium this year, b the traditional bargains of late fall and January will still be around. Save some money and, as a bonus, avoid the crowds.

4) When away, use ATMs for foreign currency. It’s a great system — and the flat service fee is often lower than paying exchange rates in a bank.

5) Florida bound? Take your Canadian ID with you wherever you go, if only to the beach. Florida merchants, restaurants and attractions increasingly are recognizing the importance of wooing the Canadian customers, and many will offer discounts: but only if you can prove you’re Canadian.