Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle Magazine - - From My Travel Bag - BY DONNA S. VIEIRA edi­tor@dream­

No mat­ter where your trav­els may take you, ac­com­mo­da­tion costs prob­a­bly chew up a huge chunk of your travel bud­get. Ac­cord­ing to ho­, the lat­est Ho­tel Price In­dex re­veals Cana­dian trav­ellers paid an av­er­age of two per cent more for ac­com­mo­da­tion glob­ally in 2017. And, given in­ter­na­tional tourist ar­rivals world­wide grew to 1.3 bil­lion in 2017, rep­re­sent­ing a seven per cent jump over 2016 (ac­cord­ing to the lat­est UN World Tourism Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s World Tourism Barom­e­ter), I strongly sus­pect that up­ward trend will con­tinue in 2018.

In 2017, Con­fed­er­a­tion cel­e­bra­tions cre­ated a record tourism boom across Canada, re­sult­ing in an av­er­age in­crease of two per cent in ho­tel prices across the coun­try, with the high­est av­er­age in­creases re­ported in Hal­i­fax, Whistler, Mont Trem­blant, Banff and Vancouver. Both Toronto and Mon­tréal saw a price hike of eight per cent.

In Europe, ac­com­mo­da­tion prices in pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions like Por­tu­gal, Spain and Greece rose by as much as 10 per cent due to in­creased tourism de­mands. How­ever, you might want to look at vis­it­ing Eastern Euro­pean des­ti­na­tions in Croa­tia, Ro­ma­nia, Slo­vakia, Lithua­nia, Mace­do­nia, Ser­bia, Poland, Bul­garia, Es­to­nia, Mon­tene­gro, Bos­nia and Herce­gov­ina, Al­ba­nia, Hun­gary and the Czech Repub­lic, where your Cana­dian dol­lar goes much fur­ther.

If you’re search­ing for deals, look no fur­ther than the USA. Trig­gered by a de­cline in the over­all num­ber of for­eign vis­i­tors to the USA in 2017, the coun­try gen­er­ally ex­pe­ri­enced in­cred­i­ble price drops as high as seven per cent in no­to­ri­ously ex­pen­sive cities across the coun­try, mak­ing the U.S. more af­ford­able and ap­peal­ing for Cana­dian trav­ellers. Ex­cep­tions were Or­lando and Las Ve­gas, where prices rose by one and three per cent re­spec­tively.

A lit­tle far­ther south in Colom­bia, bar­gain hunters might con­sider vis­it­ing Bo­gota where the av­er­age night rate was $107 in 2017. And with Colom­bia gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity among Cana­di­ans, now is a good time to go be­fore the rest of the world dis­cov­ers it.

Per­haps an Asian des­ti­na­tion is on your radar. Now may be the per­fect time to tour the Land of the Ris­ing Sun. A strength­en­ing dol­lar against the Ja­panese yen re­sulted in Tokyo record­ing the high­est fall in av­er­age price, drop­ping seven per cent com­pared to 2016.

When it comes to find­ing the best air fares, most trav­ellers choose air­lines based on con­ve­nience and com­fort rather than cost. But you may still want to shop around. If your de­par­ture times or dates are flex­i­ble, you have a bet­ter chance of find­ing a lower-cost ticket. If you live near more than one air­port, you can com­pare flights and pos­si­bly trim your costs. Or con­sider fly­ing on a hol­i­day, such as Christ­mas Eve, Christ­mas Day, New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, when air fares are as much as 50 per cent less. Once you’ve booked a flight, hope­fully, all goes smoothly. In the event of a flight dis­rup­tion, check out Airhelp ( to de­ter­mine if you’re el­i­gi­ble for com­pen­sa­tion.

Ho­tel and air­line prices aside, you might also pre­fer to visit coun­tries where you are most wel­come. Ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tions Ex­pat In­sider sur­vey based on the in­sights of close to 13,000 ex­pats from 188 coun­tries and ter­ri­to­ries, the top 10 most wel­com­ing coun­tries are Por­tu­gal, Tai­wan, Mexico, Cam­bo­dia, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Oman, Colom­bia, Viet­nam and Canada.

Solo travel is another big travel trend for 2018, with the boom at­trib­uted partly to fe­male influencers em­pow­er­ing oth­ers to travel alone. And ho­tels, such as the St. Giles Ho­tels, with prop­er­ties lo­cated in New York, London (Eng­land), Syd­ney (Aus­tralia) and Pe­nang, are launch­ing pro­grams to at­tract solo jet-set­ters, with sav­ings of up to 20 per cent and spe­cial ameni­ties and ser­vices de­signed specif­i­cally to their needs and wants.

Time al­ways plays a huge role when you’re trav­el­ling, es­pe­cially if your itin­er­ary in­cludes a romp through sev­eral cities. How do you make the most of your time at each des­ti­na­tion and still main­tain a sense of bal­ance? The 48-Hour Power Jaunt se­ries from Ex­plo­rateur Jour­neys (ex­plo­rateur­jour­ might just be what you’re look­ing for. They’ll cus­tom-craft itin­er­ar­ies for you based on what’s most im­por­tant to you.

We wish you a won­der­ful sum­mer.

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