TORONTO — A recent national survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Toyota Canada discovered that this year’s family vacation may look a little different, with almost 74 per cent of Canadians having changed their summer travel plans due to the pandemic. With a desire to explore locally and re-connect with family, friends and nature, the day trip has emerged as this summer’s new preferred getaway.

With only 24 per cent of Canadians saying they’d feel comfortable taking a plane at the moment, the car will be the go-to mode of transportation for the summer of 2020. The majority (70 per cent) of Canadians feel comfortable travelling by car outside of their city or town and almost half (49 per cent) are planning at least one day trip over the next two months. This year, though, Canadians are looking for closer-to-home destinations to explore, with only 42-per-cent comfortable venturing out of their province and only 21 per cent who would visit the U.S. in the near future. Of those planning to hit the road this summer, most are opting to stay within a 100-km radius of home, making day trips the new preferred excursion.

Safety and well-being remain top-of mind when planning trips, with 94 per cent of those planning a road trip indicating they will be taking extra precautions to protect both themselves and those around them. Of those going on a road trip, two-thirds (65 per cent) say they will limit contact with people outside their immediate circle and limit their exposure to crowds (64 per cent). Other precautions Canadians plan to take on their road trips include wearing a mask while out in public (54 per cent) and taking extra time to clean and disinfect surfaces inside the car (43 per cent).

“What a difference a year can make,” says Stephen Beatty, vice-president, Corporate at Toyota Canada, referring to the national IPSOS survey commissioned by Toyota Canada in 2019 that predicted the “demise of the Canadian road trip” due to soaring gas prices. “No one could have anticipated we would be where we are today, but there is something beautiful about this back-to-basics approach to summer vacation. The idea of hitting the road is nostalgic for many, evoking memories of simpler times spent with the family, playing silly car games and enjoying the journey as much as the destination.”

The survey also found that Canadians are craving connection, making visiting family and friends this summer (53 per cent) the primary purpose of their road trips. Additional road-trip destinations include exploring another city or town (51 per cent), visiting a beach (41 per cent), discovering a national/provincial park (42 per cent) or settling in at a campground (38 per cent) or cabin (23 per cent).

While Canadians across the country are expected to hit the road this summer, there are several interesting provincial differences:

  • Atlantic Canadians have the highest number of trips planned this summer, with 50 per cent of respondents planning to hit the road
  • Despite the pandemic, 74 per cent of Quebecers feel comfortable travelling outside their city or town and 45 per cent feel comfortable travelling outside the province
  • Ontarians crave their cars the most, with 54-per-cent stating that staying at home during the pandemic has made them miss driving
  • Residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba are the most relaxed about venturing farther from home, with 48 per cent saying they’d feel very comfortable travelling out of province
  • B.C. residents are taking the most precautions while on the road, with 78-per-cent limiting contact with people outside of their inner circle

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