We think that traveling with our kidlets is one of the most fun ways to educate them. Why talk to them about Iceland when you can take them there and they can see it’s majesty for themselves? Of course, as parents we’re always trying to keep costs down so when Travelzoo announced their five travel destinations that will offer Canadians the best value, we stood up and listened.
“Two factors driving this year’s picks are the depreciating loonie and additional flight options,” said Michael Duchesne, publisher for Travelzoo Canada. “Canadians are looking to go where the dollar will go further making Rio and Poland very appealing. And all of the destinations on the list have increased flight options for Canadians making airfares more competitive.”
Deal example: Flights from Toronto or Montreal to Reykjavik starting at $249 each way including taxes.
Why 2016 is the year to go: Icelandair services Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto and Halifax and will introduce Montreal later this year while WOW Air plans to launch service this spring with prices at $99 each way. The new flights and increased competition will likely push down fares. Reykjavik is also a great layover option and gateway to the rest of Europe.
Why take the littles: Iceland is a natural playground where everybody can have fun no matter what their age. You can bathe in geothermal water or heated swimming pools, ride horses or go dog sledding, see whales, or even try to spot Vikings, elves, and trolls. The possibilities for families are endless.
Deal example: Vacation packages to China, including flights, hotels, meals, tours and taxes for less than $1000 per person.
Why 2016 is the year to go: Fares from Canada to China have been on the decline in 2014 and 2015 and Travelzoo Deal Experts predict fares to hit an all-time low in 2016. Additionally, tour operators purchased bulk vacation package inventory in advance due to the declining loonie, which will result in more deals. Travellers should book early in 2016 as deals will diminish once the inventory runs low.
Why take the littles: Come on. The Great Wall? Who doesn’t want to see that for themselves? Aside from that, Pandas, Great Warrior Statues and a culture (and food!) really like no other is an excellent way for kids to see that life is not all about them.
Deal example: Return flights from Toronto to Warsaw for $700 including taxes.
Why 2016 is the year to go: Poland is one of the only European countries that is still a good deal for Canadians due to the low cost of living. Travellers can pay on average $60 per night for a 4-star Kraków hotel and dine at the top-rated restaurant on TripAdvisor – Restauracja Starka – for $32 per person including drinks.
Why take the littles: Poland actually has a large variety of attractions. There is a sea with beautiful sandy beaches and fantastic hotels nearby. There are the Mazurian lakes, which give the option of hiking in the woods, swimming in the lake, water skiing, boating and other water sports. There are the mountains in the south, which are great for hiking in the summer and excellent for skiing in the winter. With the slopes not as difficult and ski passes significantly cheaper than in the neighbouring countries this is really something to consider.
Deal example: Return flights to Rio from Toronto for $640, including taxes.
Why 2016 is the year to go: Two factors make Rio de Janeiro more accessible and affordable for Canadians in 2016: the declining Brazilian real and a hotel room surplus as a result of the Olympic Games. Rio is one of the few destinations that offers a favourable exchange rate for Canadians as 1CAD = 2.86 BRL. More than 70 new hotels have also been built in anticipation of the Olympic Games, increasing occupancy from 31,000 beds to 51,000 beds. Travellers will find the best deals post-games as the hotels look to fill the increased inventory.
Why take the littles: While Rio might not be the most obvious choice for a family holiday, there are plenty of activities for exuberant kids. Beaches, bike rides around Lagoa, aerial cable-car rides, adventure parks and rainforest walks. Brazilians are very family-oriented; you’ll be welcomed with open arms at most restaurants. High chairs are readily available. Many hotels let children stay free, although the age limit varies. At many sights, kids under 13 pay half price admission; those under five or six typically get in free.
Deal example: Weeklong all-inclusive vacations with flights for $815 including taxes.
Why 2016 is the year to go: Low fuel costs and expanded flight capacity have helped cut the price of all-inclusive vacations to the Dominican Republic. Deals for travel in 2016 are discounted by almost 40% from Toronto and 55% from Winnipeg, when compared to similar packages in 2015. Additionally, Air Canada and Sunwing increased their weekly flights to Puerto Plata. And West Jet is expected to double capacity this June.
Why take the littles: Between the different resorts and home rental options, there’s something in the Dominican Republic for every budget. Take the kids on an outback Safari, horseback riding, water rafting and canyoning. Kids will also really enjoy the Ocean World Adventure Park at Playa Cofresí on the northern shore. Bonus: If you visit between January and March, don’t miss the opportunity to watch the humpback whale migration at Samaná.