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Ski resort destination, holiday in British Columbia, Canada.Jupiterimages

Spring travel continues to be a popular activity for Canadians, who plan to spend an average of $2,431 on the trips, according to a new survey.

The Bank of Montreal report indicates that four in five – 79 per cent – of Canadians are planning a trip between March and May of this year.

Close to half of those polled – 49 per cent – said they plan to do a weekend trip, while 35 per cent said their getaway is for one week, 13 per cent are opting for a two-week holiday and 7 per cent for more than two weeks away.

The majority of those surveyed – 59 per cent – said they don't plan to leave Canada, while 49 per cent indicated a trip to the United States is in the cards.

Only 7 per cent have Europe in their sights, while 18 per cent are aiming for Mexico, Central or South America and the Caribbean.

The average spend on these trips varies from $2,157 to $6,490.

But one expert warns that the number of people saying they will travel may be higher than what actually pans out.

"It's a very high percentage and I suspect a lot of that is wishful thinking," said Stephen Smith, professor of tourism at the University of Waterloo.

"It's basically positive," he added.

"Canadians' travel intentions have been strong over the past few years," despite high prices at the pumps and economic uncertainty, said Mr. Smith.

"They've internalized this new reality of high gas prices and economic uncertainty," he said. "As long as there aren't any major shocks."

The high rate of short, weekend trips is a bit of a surprise, he said.

In terms of individual provinces, British Columbians – 88 per cent – and Albertans – 86 per cent – are the most likely to travel during the spring, the poll indicates.

Quebeckers are the least likely to take off in the spring, at 69 per cent.

To fund all this travel, 34 per cent said they have vacation property to offset costs and 35 per cent said they anticipate using their loyalty rewards points.

The survey results are based on online interviews with a random sampling of 1,000 Canadians 18 years and over, conducted between Feb. 25 and 26, 2003.

A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.