Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Most Cdns plan spring getaway: BMO poll

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TORONTO -- It seems like the majority of Canadians will be getting over the winter blahs by packing their bags in the spring.

A study released Wednesday by the Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO) found that 79 per cent of Canadians recently polled say they plan on taking a getaway between March to May.

Nearly half (49 per cent) of those asked say their trip will be short and sweet, lasting only a weekend. Thirty-five per cent say they'll take a week-long trip, 13 per cent say they'll take two weeks and seven per cent say they'll go away for more than two weeks.

The poll found that the majority (59 per cent) plan on vacationing within Canada, while nearly half (49 per cent) say they'll take a trip to the U.S. Eighteen per cent plan on going away to the Caribbean, Mexico, central or South America.

The average amount of money planned for these trips range from $2,157 to $6,490.

The main reasons for travel include visiting family (44 per cent), taking a family vacation (23 per cent) and going away for a romantic trip (22 per cent).

BMO says spring has always been a popular time for Canadians to travel, particularly to warmer climates following a gruelling winter. It adds that even the decline of Canadian dollar will not likely be enough to deter travellers.

"Even with the moderate decline in the Canadian dollar in recent weeks, the currency remains historically strong," Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets said in a statement. "We continue to expect the loonie to trade just below parity through the spring travel season."

The poll also found that the vast majority (85 per cent) of those polled say they will invest the time in looking for the best travel deal for the trip. Thirty-four per cent say they'll save money on their vacation by going to their vacation property, while 15 per cent say they plan on cutting costs by cashing in points through loyalty programs.

Regionally, the survey found that British Columbians (88 per cent) were most likely to travel in the spring, followed closely by Albertans (86 per cent). While those who live in Quebec (49 per cent) were the least likely out of all the provinces to pack their bags for a getaway this season.

The 2013 BMO survey results came from an online poll of a random sample of 1,000 Canadian adults conducted between Feb. 25 to Feb. 26.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 23, 2013 D2

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