A majority of Canadians who intend to travel this summer say high gas prices are affecting those planned getaways, according to a pair of recent surveys.
A survey from CAA South Central Ontario says the rising price of fuel is forcing many to adjust their road trips.
Seventy-six per cent of respondents said they have a road trip planned within the province of Ontario, 26 per cent are planning to drive out-of-province and 23 per cent are driving to the U.S.
Of those planning a road trip, 64 per cent said gas prices would likely affect their plans, either limiting the number of trips they take overall, driving shorter distances or adjusting their budgets.
The results include 1,697 responses surveyed from May 27 to June 5 through the CAA Member Matters Panel in South Central Ontario.
“We recommend you plan routes ahead of time and share them with someone, bring a map as a backup to your GPS, and check the weather ahead of time,” Kaitlynn Furse, director of corporate communications for CAA South Central Ontario, said in a statement.
“We recommend a daily driving maximum of 800 kilometres per day with 15-minute breaks every two hours to ensure you are well rested before you get behind the wheel.”
Another survey from shopping reward company Rakuten found 71 per cent of Canadians surveyed reported inflation would impact their travel plans.
A large portion of those surveyed are opting for cheaper American flights, with 45 per cent saying they have decided to fly to the U.S. rather than pay for more expensive air travel within Canada.
Even with record-high gas prices, 73 per cent said they would still drive to at least one of their planned destinations this summer. Of those, 23 per cent plan to rent a vehicle.
Although 36 per cent of Canadians say they are planning “staycations,” which doubles pre-pandemic levels, 65 per cent insist it isn’t a “real” vacation unless they travel somewhere.
The Rakuten Canada survey, done online by Ignite Lab in May, included 1,000 Canadian respondents, with the results accurate within three percentage points 19 times out of 20.
‘IT’S JUST ABOUT SURVIVAL AT THIS POINT’
After a difficult more than two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health restrictions, most of which have since been lifted, a number of people wrote to CTVNews.ca to say they had road trips planned to go camping or see family after an extended time apart.
Now, some are either cancelling those trips altogether or opting to stay closer to home.
The responses were emailed to CTVNews.ca and have not all been independently verified.
“My husband and I were invited to a wedding in Ontario. We are from Saskatchewan so with prices the way they are we might not be able to make the trip,” Whitney Ducharme said.
“With everything else rising it’s just about 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 cost of living is becoming quickly 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 the price of gas, which alone would have cost them more than $1,000.
“Even with saving $400 in gas a month by taking the bus to work, it’s still too expensive. Instead, we rebooked campsites at nearby Bon Echo [Provincial Park] only for the recent storm to destroy most of that park as well,” Farber said. “It looks like we may be camping in the backyard for summer vacation this year.”
Karen Grace said she hasn’t cancelled a planned road trip to Nova Scotia this summer, but is “riddled with guilt over the cost of the trip” as her husband has had limited work over the past two years, they’ve had to repay the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the “rising costs of everything.”
“We have a family wedding to attend, my mother in-law has been moved from independent living to long-term care and over two years without any family has us sucking up the cost of the trip,” Grace said.
Jordana Winegust, 31, from Vaughan, Ont., said she and her family love doing short car trips on Sundays as a “mental reset.”
But because of the price of gas, she and her husband only choose one Sunday a month now for a big driving trip. And with a family wedding this summer in New Jersey, Winegust said she is budgeting her gas consumption for July.
“After we come back, I don’t see us doing a lot more driving that month,” she said.
“I’m lucky we have a car, and that we have enough of a cushion in our income to spend on gas. I can’t imagine what it’s like for those who have to choose between putting gas in their car to get to work, and buying groceries to put food on the table.”
John Blois told CTVNews.ca it costs almost double to fill up his vehicle.
Since he is on a fixed income, he said he had to cancel his summer road trips and won’t be able to see his mother in Cape Breton, N.S.
“Something has to be done, we are basically trapped in our homes because of these fuel prices,” Blois said.