Best Value Travel Destinations for Canadians

9 May 2019

A poor exchange rate can easily blow the holiday budget or make overseas travel unaffordable. There’s nothing more disheartening than realising a cup of coffee is going to cost you $10 or that a night’s accommodation will cost a week of rent.

Unfortunately, the forecast for the loonie is grim. Almost half (47%) of Canadian adults in a recent survey said that their holiday was, or will be, more expensive thanks to the dollar. That’s nearly 14 million people whose overseas holidays could now be up in the air.

However, we know that there are budget-conscious travellers who don’t want to ditch their overseas vacation just because of a weak dollar. So where should they go? We ranked 13 popular travel destinations for Canadians by cost to find out.

The most affordable overseas holiday destinations for Canadian tourists

Cuba is the most affordable overseas destination based on our analysis. It ranked second for on-the-ground expenses (factoring in exchange rates) and second for the cost of flights. Hello Havana!

Mexico and the Dominican Republic tied second as the next most affordable destinations. Mexico ranked fourth for daily expenses and third for the cost of flights, while the Dominican Republic ranked third for daily expenses and fourth for the cost of flights. If you’re torn between travelling to these two countries then sorry, your wallet probably isn’t going to make your decision for you. Por que no los dos?

Tied in fourth place are India and the USA. Interestingly, both countries had a number 1 ranking and a number 13 ranking. While it’s cheap to fly to the Big Apple, daily costs due to a weak loonie will hit your bank account hard. On the other end of the spectrum, India isn’t cheap to get to, but you’ll have a lot of purchasing power once you get there.

Spain, France and Portugal were in the middle of the pack in terms of value, which is not surprising given their geographic proximity to each other and their use of the euro. France did actually rank the best out of the three for the cost of flights (fifth overall), so it could be the better option if it’s just a short holiday.

Lucky number nine is Thailand. While this South East Asian destination is often touted as dirt cheap when you get there, it actually ranked behind India, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Mexico for purchasing power.

Italy and Germany tied in 10th place. Neither is particularly cheap to get to and, again, the strength of the euro against the CAD means your dollar won’t go far. They are, however, both more affordable than the UK, which ranked 12th overall. While flights to London aren’t too bad, the cost of daily expenses is significantly higher than nearly all other destinations. I guess they call it the pound for a reason!

Planning a trip to Australia? Unfortunately, this popular destination will hit your wallet the hardest. Unsurprisingly, it’s expensive to get to (although not as expensive as India) and daily costs are the third highest, behind only the UK and the USA. Want some good news? At the time of analysis, the Australian and Canadian dollars were nearly on par, so at least you won’t need to constantly figure out what things are costing you in Canadian dollars.

You can find the full overview here:

CountryCost of flight rankingExpense rankingOverall ranking
Dominican Republic432

Inspired to travel but don’t have the annual leave? You can treat yourself to a five-day long weekend (22-26 December) by taking just one day of paid leave on Christmas Eve this year. Plus there are loads of cheap travel deals available. You can check them out here.


Both the expense ranking and the cost of flight ranking were combined to determine the overall ranking.

Expense ranking: This was calculated using the average price of accommodation, food and taxis, which was then converted from the local currency into Canadian dollars to take into account the impact of the exchange rate. Countries were then ranked by their expense in Canadian dollars.

Cost of flight ranking: Countries were ranked on the cost of a return flight from Toronto to major tourist airports in the following cities: New York, Mexico City, Havana, London, Punta Cana, Paris, Rome, Sydney, Bangkok, Barcelona, Delhi, Berlin and Lisbon. Prices were sourced in early May for an outgoing flight on 3 or 4 September, returning 9 or 10 September (depending on which day flights were offered). The median flight price for that day was used. All flight prices were from Air Canada.

Data comes from a survey of 1,200 Canadian adults commissioned by Finder and conducted by OnePoll in March 2019. Due to not having enough respondents, the North (Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon) was not included.

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