Canadians who love to travel have been feeling cooped up by the COVID-19 pandemic and many are already planning their post lockdown getaways.
As the pandemic wears on, travel is the most common ambition of Canadians surveyed by CIBC, with 60 per cent of those asked saying they can’t wait for their next getaway.
“After being stuck in our nests for so long, many Canadians can’t wait to spread their wings and get back into travel mode,” says Diane Ferri, senior vice-president of credit card products and sales at CIBC. “They are eager for both adventure, planning once-in-a-lifetime trips to dream destinations, and for quality time face-to-face with loved ones they haven’t seen for a long time.”
People remain cautious, with more than half of respondents saying they will hold off on international travel in favour of road trips within Canada for the time being. More than a third of respondents say they are planning international trips by air but not until next year.
“Our research shows that whether travellers are focused on a destination or whom they are with, most are exercising caution and want to feel safe on vacation,” Ms. Ferri says.
In this environment, she says people are increasingly seeking advice on travel restrictions, cancellation policies and destinations.
The CIBC Rewards contact centre has experienced a dramatic increase in calls, many from clients with questions about flexibility in travel bookings, evolving COVID-19 protocols and insurance coverage, Ms. Ferri adds.
People want to know about their options for safeguarding their vacations and how they can use their travel credits or rebook any previously cancelled flights.
“While Canadians are eager to spend some of their savings on travel again, many recognize that how we travel has fundamentally changed with new regulations and measures in place,” Ms. Ferri says. “It’s created a strong need for advice as travel seekers want to know they are covered by their insurance and have flexibility to adjust if their plans have to change.”
It is important to connect with a travel expert or check for any government issued travel advisories and restrictions when planning a trip.
“We are encouraging our clients to take the time to research the destinations, local or international, that you are considering – maybe flights to your bucket list destination are really affordable right now but are all the sites you are interested in open?” she asks. “Do you have the correct insurance to cover you in case of hotel cancellations, flight changes or a sudden change in COVID-19 measures?”
As Canadians look to travel again, CIBC has introduced discounts on international flights to popular destinations to help meet the pent-up demand for getaways, particularly to warmer destinations. Discounts include 15 per cent off flights to Mexico, Central America, Hawaii or the Caribbean.
The pandemic may have clipped our wings, but Canadians are racking up points on their travel credit cards in the interim. Survey respondents say they have an average of 54,000 points saved in travel rewards.
That’s a good thing. On average, Canadians expect to spend close to $5,000 on a trip over the next year.
An earlier CIBC survey found that a third of people who have saved during the pandemic plan to spend that money on travel.
Travel credit cards are one tool to help meet travel goals, Ms. Ferri says. The CIBC Aventura Points Flight Finder tool allows cardholders to search travel destinations and find out how many points are required. Some Aventura cards also come with a NEXUS application fee rebate for the expedited Canada-U.S. border crossing program, free Priority Pass membership for a specified number of airport lounge visits per year, as well as valuable insurance coverage for out-of-province emergencies, medical insurance, flight delay or trip cancellation, and more.
CIBC also has a Rewards Calculator to help clients estimate how quickly they can earn rewards and show what type of travel redemptions are possible at each level.
Ms. Ferri herself is dreaming of a return to Positano, Italy. “It’s one of my favourite destinations for wonderful food, culture, hospitality, and natural beauty,” she says.
Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio with CIBC. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.