As travel restrictions are loosening for Canadians, including the federal government lifting the global advisory against non-essential travel and the U.S. opening its borders to fully vaccinated Canadians travellers on Nov. 8 (including land travel), it looks like things are looking up for travel lovers hoping to take a vacation.
In particular travel between Canada and the U.S., which has historically seen a lot of flow back and forth, is expected to pick up as packing up and travelling between the two countries becomes easier next month.
When it was initially announced that the U.S. would allow fully vaccinated Canadian travellers to visit the country for non-essential travel, including land crossing, Expedia saw a 130 per cent increase in hotel searches for New York City, a 95 per cent increase for Palm Springs and an 85 per cent increase in hotel searches for Orlando.
“We know travel to the U.S. has always been popular amongst Canadian travellers, and these insights show there is much pent up travel demand and excitement for the future,” a statement from Expedia, provided to Yahoo Canada, reads.
Christopher Heywood, executive vice president of global communications for NYC & Company, stressed that New York City is “rolling out the welcome mat for international travellers,” adding that the city known for its diversity and vibrancy is a “safe place to visit,” in terms of the public health measures.
“Not only can they see the iconic places that they know and love about New York but they can also dig deeper, they can peel back the layers and explore the authentic New York and discover new neighbourhoods,” Heywood said. “You can do more in New York in three days than you can probably do anywhere else in a week.”
“Even if you have not visited here you’ve seen New York in TV and film, so there's a familiarity about New York, and it's a way to lift the spirit, I think, really, to come here and get that dose of New York City, which we all crave.”
In terms of pandemic travel, Heywood recommends that travellers plan ahead, possibly a bit more planning than they would have done in the past, to make sure reservations are made, tickets are booked for main attractions and ensuring travellers have an understanding of the regulations that need to be followed, including proof of vaccination requirements and masking rules.
“Remember, New York is not just Midtown, Manhattan, it is all five boroughs of New York City so a lot of Canadians will come in from the north and the first part of New York City that they'll encounter in the Bronx, but we have Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and of course Manhattan,” Heywood stressed.
“If you're looking for great value, consider coming now before things start getting busy.”
St. Petersburg – Clearwater
Las Vegas is a popular tourism destination globally, and that includes Canadian travellers, with many itching to get to “Sin City.”
You certainly won’t run out of things to do and see in Vegas.
New York City
No matter how many times you go to New York City, there’s always something new to see and do. If you’re in that category where you want to “make up for lost time” for travel, now is the time to really explore all New York has to offer.
The return of Broadway is a big draw to the city at the moment, don’t miss your chance to watch the popular show Six, or get a bit more classic with The Phantom of the Opera or The Book of Mormon (begins Nov. 5). Canadians may be compelled to support some local inspirations by watching Come From Away, set in Gander, Newfoundland after the 9/11 attacks, or Jagged Little Pill, based on Canadian star Alanis Morissette’s album of the same name.
While COVID-19 halted a lot of operations for restaurants and bars, now you can experience a variety of indoor, outdoor and hybrid food and beverage experiences.
You can also see stunning, breathtaking views from the all glass Summit One Vanderbilt observation deck or, beginning on Nov. 9, you can scale up a skyscraper 1,200 feet above ground at the Edge with the upcoming City Climb experience.
But don’t forget to stop and get a slice of pizza, a New York classic.
There are always cool hotels popping up in the city. You can stay at iconic New York landmarks and live out your Eloise fantasy at The Plaza, experience The Rooftop at Nearly Ninth at Arlo Midtown, stay at the cool Ace Hotel Brooklyn or maybe check out the new Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea, close to The High Line and Chelsea Market.
The “Theme Park Capital of the World” is definitely ready to welcome back Canadian visitors with some massive attractions to see this winter, in particular.
Disney fans won’t want to miss the 50th anniversary celebrations at Walt Disney World, including new nighttime lighting, fireworks, projection effects at Magic Kingdom Park, the Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure attraction at Epcot, another new nighttime experience called Harmonious at Epcot, and Disney KiteTales at Animal Kingdom, which features kites and wind catchers dancing through the air.
Universal Orlando Resort also opened the Jurassic World VelociCoaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Florida’s fastest and tallest launch coaster at 112 kilometres and over 45 meters in the air.
If you’re not that interested in theme parks, there are a ton of celebrity-inspired restaurants in Orlando including Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips, Ole Red restaurant by country star Blake Shelton, AVA MediterrAegean from executive chef Hung Huynh who won Top Chef Season 3 (opening in early 2022), and the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress will open a new restaurant later this year by Richard Blais, the first winner of Top Chef All-Stars.
In terms of saving money on travel, Visit Orlando has some recommendations for deals to take advantage of:
Nov. 29 – Dec. 6 2021: Air Canada Vacations is offering rates starting at $665 per person for flight and hotel stays at Coco Key Hotel & Water Park
Dec. 4-10 2021: Sunwing is offering rates starting at $530 per person for flight and hotel stays at Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Orlando International Drive
Jan. 21-28 2022: Air Transat is offering rates starting at $509 per person (save up to $310) for flight and hotel stays at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites
If you want to go to Florida but Orlando isn’t really your scene, a lot of Canadians are also looking to visit Miami.
With beaches spanning more than 20 miles of Atlantic coastline, it’s no surprise that they are a big draw to the area.
South Beach is probably the most known area of Miami, surrounded by Art Deco architecture, great restaurants, nightlife and shopping.
For a different kind of adventure, explore the Florida Everglades where you can see manatees, sea turtles, alligators and more than 350 species of birds.
Maui is the second largest island in Hawaii, known for its white, black and red sand beaches, and Iao Valley.
If you're travelling in the winter, you won't want to miss the stunning views of the migrating humpback whales.
Looking for more of an active vacation, there's great surfing, windsurfing, swimming and snorkelling. For land activities, horseback ride through Upcountry Maui and hike the scenic trails at Haleakala National Park Maui.
Some of the best rated hotels on Expedia and Hotels.com in Maui include Fairmont Kea Lani, Grand Wailea Maui A Waldorf Astoria Resort, Residence Inn by Marriott Maui Wailea and AC Hotel by Marriott Maui Wailea.
Mid-Century Modern is on full display in Palm Springs. There’s no mistaking the undeniably cool vibe in this destination.
Known as a hideaway for some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Dean Martin, Debbie Reynolds and Frank Sinatra, Palm Springs is a great desert escape from the Canadian fall and winter seasons.
You can experience the excitement of Palm Springs Pride in November, take in the beautiful view from the San Jacinto Mountains via The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, take the Palm Springs Windmill Tours or just hang by the pool at the variety of boutique or larger hotels in the area.