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2019’s Top 10 Wallet-Friendly Destinations for Canadian Travellers

By KAYAK

So you want to get away, but when you ask your bank account it’s quick to shut you down. Don’t take no for an answer. Our Wallet-Friendly picks are just what you need to get away without breaking the bank. We’ve dug into the data to find the most affordable flights for Canadian travellers – all of our picks offer median airfare under $500 year-round. With our tips, you can easily make 2019 the year you travel more, without breaking the bank.

Note: Our recommendations on how far in advance to book your flight are based on 2018 traveller data. As always, if you find a good deal — no matter how far ahead of your trip you find it — book it.

10 Wallet-Friendly Destinations

1. Victoria, British Columbia
Overall median airfare: $463

Calling Victoria a versatile destination, while true, doesn’t even scrape the surface of everything this BC hotspot has going for it. An urban sprawl full of galleries, museums and markets. A city of gardens surrounded by the sea. And did we mention the farm-to-table fare, craft beer and mild temperatures — this is the Pacific Northwest, after all.

But as our #1 Wallet-Friendly destination, its affordability is top of mind. According to our data, flight prices are at their lowest in September, which makes for a pleasant time to travel with weather in the high teens. And another perk (if you needed one): booking only one month in advance may score the best prices.

Looking for an inexpensive — and somewhat odd — way to spend the day? Visit Miniature World, a museum featuring a series of, well, miniature objects, dioramas, landscapes and more.

 Median airfare from CAMedian hotel rateWhen to book
Least expensiveSeptember ($314)January ($189/night)1 month ahead ($330)
Most expensiveDecember ($442)August ($414/night)6 months ahead ($438)

2. Calgary, Alberta
Overall median airfare: $467

When it comes to a finding a budget-friendly getaway, Calgary is a bit like hitting the jackpot. With a downtown to rival any urban spread and proximity to one of Canada’s prettiest spots (Banff National Park, we’re looking at you), Calgary is hard to beat. And with median flight prices under $400 for most of the year, make that nearly impossible.

According to our data, April offers up the lowest median prices – although June median prices trail it by only a few dollars (around $326) and July median prices by only $10 (around $326). With summer temps in the 20s, you can expect some of the best weather the city has to offer, and checking out the beauty of Banff in the summer months is a must.

Take advantage of all the summer perks at Banff. Whether you want to horseback ride, canoe or hike, many of the area’s best attractions are only offered in summer. From horseback riding to canoeing to whitewater rafting, travel in mid-May or later. Those who want the experience, without the adrenaline rush, Rocky Mountain Raft Tours take visitors down a gentle area of Bow River.

 Median airfare from CAMedian hotel rateWhen to book
Least expensiveApril ($323)December ($170/night)1 month ahead ($307)
Most expensiveNovember ($460)July ($241/night)6 months ahead ($512)

3. Vancouver, British Columbia
Overall median airfare: $488

Another domestic city scoring a spot on our list is Vancouver. While median flight prices are at their lowest in April, they are nearly as low in September (around $330) and stay under $400 for most of the year (November and December are the exceptions). While mild temperatures make Vancouver an attractive option year-round, fall is a sweet spot with long, warm days mostly free from the rain that is a more frequent visitor in the winter months.

For epic views and a prime spot for that perfect Instagram photo, walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge for panoramic views of lush green treetops. However, if you’re hoping to save – skip the admission fee there and head to the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge in Lynn Valley, which offers a similar experience for free. Or if you’re looking to go off the beaten path, take a rainforest tour on Vancouver Island. You’ll find actual rainforests complete with lush canopies of greenery and hidden waterfalls.

 Median airfare from CAMedian hotel rateWhen to book
Least expensiveApril ($329)February & November ($265/night)1 month ahead ($354)
Most expensiveDecember ($428)July ($552/night)6 months ahead ($563)

4. Quebec City, Quebec
Overall median airfare: $529

While Montreal may be popular with tourists, many are already aware of what others are just coming to realise – when considering a trip to Quebec, Quebec City should not be overlooked. With Old Europe charm found in its cobbled streets, sidewalk cafes and 17th and 18th-century architecture, it’s a budget-friendly alternative to longer and more pricey flights overseas.

According to our data, the most affordable flights are found in April when the weather may still be on the cooler side but edging towards summer (by May temps can see the mid-teens). Wander the narrow streets, dine on rich French flavours and take pictures at opulent and historic Le Chateau Frontenac – the world’s most photographed hotel.

For even more epic photo ops, take in Quebec from a different perspective. An affordable ride on the Quebec City-Levis ferry offers up postcard-pretty views. To make an afternoon of it, grab a pint at Corsair Microbrewery in Levis and, if the weather is nice, take in the views from its terrace.

 Median airfare from CAMedian hotel rateWhen to book
Least expensiveApril ($363)November ($176/night)1 month ahead ($354)
Most expensiveNovember ($501)August ($286/night)4 months ahead ($524)

5. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Overall median airfare: $551

With winter highs in the mid-20s, seeing not one but three Florida cities on our Wallet-Friendly list is exciting for those looking to spend some time in the sun this winter (so, everyone). And, with flights to Ft. Lauderdale at their lowest in January, a winter escape is more than doable.

Whether travelling solo, with friends, or with young kids in tow, Ft. Lauderdale is beyond versatile. The city boasts miles of beaches, a selection of eclectic museums and a winding network of canals which give the city its nickname as the “Venice of America.”

For a unique experience for all ages, tour the Florida Everglades by airboat. You’ll find different companies offering up different tours at different price points, so you’ll want to compare a few options before you decide on the one that’s right for you.

 Median airfare from CAMedian hotel rateWhen to book
Least expensiveJanuary ($366)September ($218/night)1 month ahead ($412)
Most expensiveAugust ($503)March ($456/night)6 months ahead ($487)

6. Tampa, Florida
Overall median airfare: $564

As the second Sunshine State destination on our list, Tampa is a low-key, family-friendly city with much to offer in the way of entertainment. And, as a bonus, our data shows the most affordable flights may be found in January. So a winter escape is even closer than you might think.

With no short supply of museums, gardens and amusement parks, you cannot be bored in Tampa. Be sure to visit Ybor City – once known as “Cigar City” – a neighbourhood with plenty of eclectic boutiques, vintage shops and Art Deco architecture.

Looking to hit the beach? Some of Florida’s top beaches are only 30 minutes away in St. Petersburg and Clearwater. If you didn’t rent a car, hop on the ferry, which will have you at St. Pete Beach in less than an hour and for around $10. There’s also a bus, but the ferry is cheaper and you can’t beat the view.

 Median airfare from CAMedian hotel rateWhen to book
Least expensiveJanuary ($362)November ($162/night)2 months ahead ($431)
Most expensiveAugust ($481)March ($431/night)5 months ahead ($501)

7. Miami, Florida
Overall median airfare: $620

Rounding out our Florida picks is a perennially popular option with tons to offer travellers looking for beautiful beaches and energetic nightlife. From Little Havana to Coconut Grove, Miami is a thriving hub of art, culture and food. Visit the city’s Art Deco district to take a glimpse back at the colourful buildings built between the 1920s and 1940s. If you’re looking for nightlife, you’ve also come to the right place – whether you prefer large clubs or small, intimate music venues, you will have no problem keeping the party going. Spend some time in Little Havana and be sure to try a “frita cubana” – a flavourful Cuban-inspired take on a burger topped with fried potato sticks. While you’ll find them gracing many menus, we suggest El Rey de las Fritas.

Our tip? As Fort Lauderdale is only 45 minutes away from Miami, compare flight prices for each destination and plan accordingly. While Miami International is a hub airport, meaning tons of connections, Ft. Lauderdale is serviced by many of the low-cost carriers and budget airlines. You may be able to save by flying into one versus the other. Just be sure to factor in gas costs or bus fare. Or, better yet, make it a two-for-one vacation and spend some time in both cities.

 Median airfare from CAMedian hotel rateWhen to book
Least expensiveJanuary ($383)August ($196/night)1 month ahead ($454)
Most expensiveAugust ($568)February ($415/night)6 months ahead ($567)

8. Savannah, Georgia
Overall median airfare: $621

With mild temperatures year round (though summer does bring the heat), there isn’t a bad time to visit Savannah. But according to our data, you’ll find some of the best prices in January. With temps in the mid-teens, this means ideal weather for exploring on foot.

Take a stroll along River Street to wander pretty cobblestone streets, shop at Savannah Bee Company or catch a boat ride. Or break up a day of sightseeing with a stop at the City Market, within walking distance of many of the city’s attractions. There you’ll find four blocks of open-air shopping, restaurants and art. At night, head to The Pirate’s House for some traditional grub in one of the city’s most historic restaurants. Or for Southern cooking with modern flair, grab a table at Collins Quarter then stroll along Bull Street.

For that quintessential shot for the ‘gram, head to Wormsloe Historic Site. It’s where oak trees and Spanish moss drape over the avenue leading up to the historic colonial estate.

 Median airfare from CAMedian hotel rateWhen to book
Least expensiveJanuary ($338)December ($173/night)1 month ahead ($446)
Most expensiveMarch ($530)October ($390/night)4 months ahead ($517)

9. Las Vegas, Nevada
Overall median airfare: $626

You can live the high life without paying high prices. Median airfare to Vegas is less than $500 year round, and we found that it’s best to book at least one month in advance (around $456). So no worries if you decide to pull a last-minute getaway. With a sub-tropical desert climate, winter weather is typically in the low-to-mid teens. While most pools do close up shop in the winter, there are a handful that are open year-round, including ones at the Bellagio and the Cosmopolitan, the latter of which is the only one to offer a winter pool party at its Marquee Dayclub.

If you’re looking to splurge, you’ll have no trouble in Las Vegas. But if you want to save, there’s plenty to do there on a budget. Food and drink specials abound. Find a tried-and-tested steak dinner at local casino Ellis Island for around $10 (they also have a brewery on-site), or sidle up to the penny slots at any casino and take advantage of free drinks while you play.

 Median airfare from CAMedian hotel rateWhen to book
Least expensiveJanuary ($442)December ($197/night)1 month ahead ($456)
Most expensiveMarch ($493)October ($299/night)6 months ahead ($495)

10. San Juan, Puerto Rico
Overall median airfare: $638

Looking for an island escape? Puerto Rico has everything you could need. With year-round flights for less than $500, finding a reason *not* to go will be the challenge. According to our data, prices are at their lowest in May, which has temps closing in on 30 degrees. Plus, hurricane season starts in June, so May is in that oh-so-sweet shoulder season when prices are down, crowds are fewer and weather is still nice.

Visit the fortresses of El Morro and Castillo de San Cristobal, which give a look back at the area’s history. Both are expansive structures that actually appear more like castles. In the evening, wander along Paseo La Princesa dine at one of the exceptional and inventive restaurants on Fortaleza Street and enjoy the vibrant nightlife at bars that range from chic to kitsch.

For a sweet treat for around $1, you need to know where to look. For the area’s best-kept secret (and tasty mash-up of sorbet and shaved ice known as limber), head to Caleta de las Monjas 9 and when you see the iron gate (in front of La Plaza de la Rogativa) give a shout for “Eddie” who will appear to share the flavours of the day.

 Median airfare from CAMedian hotel rateWhen to book
Least expensiveMay ($412)September ($306/night)1 month ahead ($475)
Most expensiveDecember ($592)November ($566/night)6 months ahead ($587)

 

When you’re ready to start planning your trip, we’ll be here to make sure you have all the information you need to confidently plan your 2019 travel.

Methodology
Median airfares are for round-trip, economy class flights from Canada. For Trending Holiday destinations, KAYAK considered flight Destinations with the Greatest YoY increase in searches of the top 100 most searched destinations for travel dates 11/16/2018-01/02/2019 and search dates 01/01/2018-08/18/2018. Change in Popularity (YoY increase) is based on search traffic change from previous year for travel dates 11/17/2017-01/03/2018. Median airfare by month for destinations is based on travel dates 11/01/2017-01/31/2018 and search dates 05/01/2017-01/31/2018. For destinations not directly located in an international airport city, the closest international airport was considered for airfare. When to Book data is based on median airfare as a function of weeks before departure for travel dates 11/17/2017-01/03/2018. For destinations not directly located in an international airport city, the closest international airport was considered for airfare. Median hotel rate by month for destinations is based on travel dates 11/01/2017-01/31/2018 and search dates 05/01/2017-01/31/2018.

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