Where Families Are Travelling with Flight Centre

We combed through 12 months of booking data to find out how Canadian families are travelling today. Here's what we learned.

A family casually fishing from a dock while on vacation

4min read

Published 11 May 2023


We combed through 12 months of booking data to find out how Canadian families are travelling today. Here's what we learned.

School’s out for summer! Well…almost. And that means parents are getting ready to hit the road (and the airways), planning epic family vacations that their kids will remember forever. 

Do you know where you’ll be travelling to yet? Coordinating a family vacation requires some careful consideration, especially if you’re trying to accommodate the interests of different generations. That’s where we come in.

To help inspire your next getaway, we’ve decided to share some family travel trends from the past 12 months. Read on to find out where Canadian families have been going, how much they’ve been spending on travel and more — plus get recommendations for your next vacation.

Three young kids marvelling at the scenery while riding a gondola in Venice
Three young kids marvelling at the scenery while riding a gondola in Venice
Three young kids marvelling at the scenery while riding a gondola in Venice

Which destinations are families travelling to?

Some destinations are simply better suited for a family vacation than others. Take Las Vegas, for example. With its cocktail bars, restaurants and nightly entertainment, the city doesn’t necessarily scream “bring your kids!” — though there are some attractions for the younger crowd, such as the Big Apple Roller Coaster at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino. But we digress.

According to our store booking data from the past 12 months, Canadian families have been travelling to:

  1. Mexico 
  2. United States
  3. Dominican Republic
  4. Canada
  5. Cuba
  6. Jamaica
  7. United Kingdom
  8. Costa Rica
  9. Italy
  10. France

Many people opted to stay close to home, with almost 35% and 20% of family bookings being attributed to Mexico and the United States, respectively. Domestic trips within Canada also proved popular (particularly those to Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary), as did island escapes to the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Jamaica. Clearly, the majority of Canadians aren’t just looking for family fun — they’re looking for family fun in the sun

Trips to Europe have also been checked off families’ travel bucket lists over the past year, with the United Kingdom, Italy and France being among the top destinations. Within those countries, London was one of the most-visited cities — and we’re not surprised! There are endless activities for families to enjoy in the English capital, from touring mind-blowing museums and watching shows in the West End to shopping at Hamleys (the world’s oldest toy store) and taking photos outside Buckingham Palace.

How much are families spending on vacations?

We’re not going to sit here and pretend that travelling hasn’t gotten more expensive in recent years. The cost of everything has gone up, and unfortunately, travel is no exception. Why? Simply put, supply is struggling to keep up with demand. Jet fuel prices are also higher than ever, and many companies are still trying to recover losses they incurred during the pandemic, among other factors.

To help give you a sense of how much additional money you can expect to pay for a family vacation, we compared the average amount spent by families over the past 12 months with the average amount spent by families over the same period in 2019/2020. 

If we’re being honest, the results are a bit discouraging…Canadian families are spending approximately $1,900 more on domestic travel than they did three years ago, and the same can be said for other top destinations. Today, families are spending approximately:

  • $3,000 more to travel to Mexico
  • $2,700 more to travel to the United States  
  • $2,000 more to travel to the United Kingdom

We understand that increasing prices can impact how you plan a family vacation. But we also know there’s always a deal available — especially if you’re flexible with your destination and travel dates. Check out our current offers or contact a travel consultant to find something that will keep both your kids and wallet happy!

Mom and daughter using a laptop computer to plan a vacation
Mom and daughter using a laptop computer to plan a vacation
Mom and daughter using a laptop computer to plan a vacation

How far in advance are families booking trips?

It can be difficult to gauge how far in advance you need to book a family vacation. Book too early and you may see prices drop. But book too late, and you may miss out altogether. It’s a fine line to tread!

Over the past 12 months, families who travelled domestically in Canada booked their trips approximately 39 days in advance. Finding themselves at the mercy of work obligations, schools breaks and sports tournaments, most families don’t have the flexibility to book a spontaneous vacation. 

And that number only increased for international journeys. After all, there’s a big difference between organizing a quick weekend trip and planning a once-in-a-lifetime adventure overseas. For instance, families booked:

  • 49 days in advance of travelling to Cuba
  • 66 days in advance of travelling to the Dominican Republic
  • 66 days in advance of travelling to Jamaica

Starting to plan you next family vacation? Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know when hot deals drop — and to get a regular dose of travel inspiration delivered straight to your inbox! 

Young girl running in front of the castle at Disneyland
Young girl running in front of the castle at Disneyland
Young girl running in front of the castle at Disneyland

Attractions to inspire your next family vacation

Assuming all this talk of family vacations has inspired you to pack your suitcase, here’s a kid-friendly attraction to visit in each of the most-booked destinations we mentioned earlier:

  • Xcaret in Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya (Mexico): This popular water park boasts more than 50 natural and culture activities. Dive into cenotes, float down a lazy river, swim alongside diverse aquatic species and more!
  • Disneyland in Anaheim, California (United States): It’s a classic for a reason, whether your kids want to meet characters like Mickey Mouse or explore newer attractions such as Pixar Pier.
  • Playa Bávaro in Punta Cana (Dominican Republic): Swim, snorkel and soak up the sun at this incredible beach, where white sand and turquoise waters await!
  • Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada): There are endless things to do at this beloved urban park, from biking the Seawall and visiting the Vancouver Aquarium to playing a game of pitch and putt.
  • Fusterlandia in Jaimanitas (Cuba): Cuban artist, José Rodríguez Fuster has transformed this seaside town with colourful and fanciful mosaics that will delight both kids and parents.
  • Luminous Lagoon in Falmouth (Jamaica): Take a boat tour to this incredible spot where you can swim in the bright-blue glow of bioluminescence.
  • Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland (United Kingdom): Tucker the kids out by booking a tour of this incredible fortress.
  • Waffle Monkey in Tamarindo (Costa Rica): Fuel up for your day at the beach with decadent Belgian waffles — you can get ’em topped with fruit, chocolate, eggs, bacon and more.
  • The Colosseum in Rome (Italy): Whether you book a guided tour or simply wander through the amphitheatre, you’re bound to be impressed by this ancient structure.
  • Luxembourg Gardens in Paris (France): Kids of all ages can find something to do at this beautiful park, from riding a carousel and watching a puppet show to sailing a remote-control boat across a large pond.

If you haven’t already got a family vacation in the books (or want to plan an additional trip), get in touch! Our travel consultants are prepared to recommend destinations and help you find irresistible deals.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is based on the family store booking data currently available to us, and we’ve made every effort to ensure its accuracy. Data is based on booking date (not travel dates) for the period April 1, 2022 – March 31, 2023. 

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*Conditions apply. Prices are in CAD. All advertised prices include taxes & fees. Air travel in economy class unless otherwise stated. Package, cruise, tour, rail & hotel prices are per person, based on double occupancy for total length of stay unless otherwise stated. All-inclusive vacations include airfare on a per person basis. Prices are for select departure dates and are accurate and subject to availability at advertising deadline, errors and omissions excepted, and subject to change. Taxes & fees due in destination are additional and include, but not limited to, local car rental charges & taxes, one-way rental drop fees which are to be paid upon arrival, resort fees & charges, and airline baggage fees. Additional important conditions and supplier terms may apply. For full terms and conditions visit please speak with a Flight Centre Travel Consultant. CPBC#2790, TICO#4671384, OPC#702971.

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