So, when Canadians want to go on holiday (that’s what they call vacations up here), or need to travel for any reason by airplane, they have some different options than us down in the US. Here’s a list of differences I’ve noticed about the Canadian air travel experience.
1. Top Holiday Spots: England, Australia, India (or other Commonwealth countries), the Bahamas, Vegas and Cuba
That’s right, folks. Canadians fly to Cuba all the time for an inexpensive, tropical vacation. Having never lived in a time when Americans could freely travel to Cuba – actually, it’s not illegal to travel to Cuba per se, but it is illegal for US citizens to have any financial exchanges with Cubans – it came as a bit of a shock to see how blithely Canadians travel to and from there, treating a trip there like going to any other Caribbean island.
Oh, and Canadians love Vegas. I’m not sure why, but they do. We have had several conversations with Canadians who tell us that it’s one of their favourite (I’m sorry, favorite) places to visit.
2. Airline Travel in and out of Canada is much more expensive than the US
When my husband and I were considering moving to Toronto, my dear friend recommended that we fly into Buffalo instead of Toronto, and I’m so very glad she did. Sure, it’s a 2 and 1/2 hour car trip one way and a border crossing, but believe me, it is still cheaper than flying in and out of the city itself.
Here’s a current comparison of prices I just found online for travel to say, Seattle, round-trip:
Toronto – SEA: $418 Buffalo – SEA: $337
And that gap in price is not nearly as bad as it can get during peak travel seasons.
I think one of the problems is the taxes that get charged for flying in and out of Canada. To the left, is a sample of the kinds of advertising we see for flights all the time.
Do you see that small print next to the big bold prices in red? That’s right! A simple $49 flight to Orlando from Toronto includes an additional $222 in taxes!!!
And the taxes are like that all the way down that list.
Now you see why I haven’t flown in or out of Toronto since 1997!
3. Travel Agents Still Exist!
Believe it or not, they still use travel agents in Canada. Yes, even in this age of internet airline deals and the disappearing travel agent in the US, the travel agency business is not only alive and well in Toronto, it seems to be thriving! Nearly every shopping center or mall we go into has a travel agency there, usually filled with people looking for the best deals. I don’t know why this is the case. Perhaps because Toronto is so international that folks from different countries like the help of having a professional make their arrangements for them? I don’t know, but it does make me glad that some service industries are still able to do well in this self-serve world.
So remember, folks, if you want to come visit us, (and we truly hope that you will!), make sure to check out the fares into Buffalo! We’ll even come pick you up!