A majority of Canadians planning to travel this summer say high gas prices are affecting those planned getaways, according to two recent surveys.
A CAA South Central Ontario survey indicates that rising fuel prices are forcing many people to adjust their road trips.
Seventy-six percent of respondents said they have a planned road trip within the province of Ontario, 26 percent plan to drive out of the province, and 23 percent are traveling to the United States.
Of those planning a road trip, 64% said gas prices are likely to affect their plans, either by limiting the number of trips they take, driving shorter distances or adjusting their budgets.
The results include 1,697 responses polled from May 27 to June 5 through the CAA Member Affairs Committee in south-central Ontario.
“We recommend that you plan routes in advance and share them with someone, bring a backup map to your GPS and check the weather ahead of time,” said Kaitlynn Furse, director of communications of business for CAA South Central Ontario, in a statement.
“We recommend daily driving of a maximum of 800 kilometers per day with 15-minute breaks every two hours to ensure you are well rested before getting behind the wheel.”
Another survey by shopping rewards company Rakuten found that 71% of Canadians surveyed said inflation would affect their travel plans.
A large proportion of respondents opt for cheaper US flights, with 45% saying they have decided to fly to the US rather than pay for more expensive air travel to Canada.
Even with record gas prices, 73% said they would still drive to at least one of their planned destinations this summer. Of these, 23% plan to rent a vehicle.
Although 36% of Canadians say they plan ‘getaways’, doubling pre-pandemic levels, 65% insist it’s not a ‘real’ vacation unless they’re traveling somewhere.
The Rakuten Canada poll, conducted online by Ignite Lab in May, included 1,000 Canadian respondents, with results accurate to within three percentage points 19 times out of 20.
“IT’S JUST ABOUT SURVIVAL AT THIS POINT”
After more than two difficult years of the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health restrictions, most of which have since been lifted, a number of people have written to CTVNews.ca to say they have planned trips to car to go camping or see family after a long period of separation.
Now some are canceling those trips altogether or choosing to stay closer to home.
Responses were emailed to CTVNews.ca and not all have been independently verified.
“My husband and I were invited to a wedding in Ontario. We’re from Saskatchewan, so with the prices as they are, we may not be able to make the trip,” Whitney Ducharme said.
“With everything else going up, it’s just a matter of survival at this point, and we both have good paying jobs.”
Pamela Farber told CTVNews.ca that she and her boyfriend are from Kingston, Ont., “where the cost of living is quickly getting out of reach and gas prices are skyrocketing.”
They had originally planned a camping trip to several provincial parks around Lake Superior in July, but had to cancel due to gas prices, which alone would have cost them over $1,000.
“Even saving $400 a month on gas by taking the bus to work is still too expensive. Instead, we’ve booked campsites at nearby Bon Echo. [Provincial Park] only for the recent storm to also destroy most of this park,” Farber said. “Looks like we might be camping in the backyard for summer vacation this year.
Karen Grace said she hadn’t canceled a planned road trip to Nova Scotia this summer, but was ‘ridden with guilt over the cost of the trip’ as her husband had limited work over the two years, they had to repay the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the “rising cost of everything”.
“We have to attend a family wedding, my mother-in-law has gone from independent living to long-term care and over two years without family has made us bear the cost of the trip,” Grace said.
Jordana Winegust, 31, of Vaughan, Ont., said she and her family love to take short Sunday car trips to “mentally reset.”
But because of the price of gas, she and her husband now only choose one Sunday a month for a big road trip. And with a family wedding this summer in New Jersey, Winegust said she’s budgeting her gas mileage for July.
“After we get back, I don’t see us driving much more that month,” she said.
“I’m lucky we have a car and have enough cushion in our income to spend on gas. I can’t imagine what it’s like for those who have to choose between putting on gas in their car to get to work, and buy groceries to put food on the table.”
John Blois told CTVNews.ca that it costs almost twice as much to fill up his vehicle.
Since he’s on a fixed income, he said he had to cancel his summer trips and wouldn’t be able to see his mother in Cape Breton, N.S.
“Something has to be done, we’re basically stuck in our homes because of these fuel prices,” Blois said.