Many Canadians tweaking travel plans to reduce risks: expert

By The Canadian Press

A travel expert says many Canadians eager for a getaway are opting for shorter stays, road trips, and excursions that allow them to stay closer to home.

Tourism professor Wayne Smith of Toronto Metropolitan University says these are ways travellers can reduce the impact of poor weather or avoid the cancelled flights and lost baggage that dominated recent headlines.

“What we’re seeing is more and more people who are doing short-haul travel. So I could pack up the car, I’m going to go do a road trip. At least I know I’m in my car,” Smith said.

Smith says travellers are also combining business and pleasure ventures to further mitigate the risks of multiple outings.

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WestJet has apologized to its passengers after severe winter weather forced it to cancel more than 1,600 flights between December 18th and January 1st. The debacle coincided with similar woes for the carrier Sunwing, which also apologized to passengers after winter storms upended their operations.

Smith says airlines hit hard by restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic are operating on such shoestring budgets, and have little leeway if something goes wrong.

He says shorter trips reduce travel risk, and he encourages travelers to buy travel insurance, bring extra medication and have cash on hand in case they cannot use debit or credit cards

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