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Stay local, save and have fun.

A number of Canadians are scaling back on their summer travel plans, according to a new BMO survey.

Specifically, a quarter of Canadians plan to hold off on summer travel for budgetary reasons. Of those that are planning to travel, nearly half — 47 per cent — say they’ll only take trips within Canada in order to get the most bang out of the struggling Canadian buck. Still others, 14 per cent, are considering a “staycation.”

If you’re ready to take some time off, but don’t want to spend wads of cash, a staycation might be the perfect option for your family. Create a fun, fulfilling week for the whole family with the following ideas:

  1. Camp locally — even in your backyard: If you live near a national park, you can get all your gear from a rental place like Vancouver-based Canadian Adventure Rentals, which offers three-night minimum packages that include an SUV, tent, sleeping bags and other items, starting at $129 for one to two campers. TripAdvisor®* has a helpful list of local rental camping gear providers, broken down by location. Or, pitch your tent just a few feet from your back door for a less expensive alternative ― and an adventure for your kids. For some cheap treats, fire up your grill and serve up hot dogs and s’mores.
    Related: 10 summer activities the kids (and your budget) will love
  1. Embark on a neighbourhood treasure hunt: The Huffington Post recommends a family geocaching outing, which involves hunting down hidden items, stashed in millions of sites around the world by other geocachers, using a GPS-enabled device, such as a cellphone. Download the free app and find out more at (which has more than 160,000 users registered in Canada — some of whom may have hid a geocache in your area).
  1. Enjoy an off-season adventure: If you’re dying to spend a night away from home, take your staycation to a nearby location when prices drop annually. In general, hotel rates, except for ski regions, decline in winter from November to April in Canada, according to Smarter Travel®. If you live in a ski-centric area, like Whistler, British Columbia, you’ll score great deals. For example, it’s $189 less a night to stay at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler once April rolls around (compared to February), according to Travel + Leisure. Check out regional deal sites such as Groupon® to score additional savings on restaurants and services.
  1. Learn more about your area (for free): Although several of Ottawa’s museums, for example, cost $12–$13 to visit, more than a half-dozen offer free admission on some days during the week, according to Ottawa Tourism — and your local library may offer complimentary tickets, too. You can also try a creative approach to finding a no-cost educational outing. Or, Canadian Family suggests checking into your local fire station, which may offer complimentary tours by request. Your local police station may, too.
  1. Score a deal on sporting events: If you live near Toronto, seeing a game can be pricey. The Toronto Maple Leafs®** are the most expensive team to see in the National Hockey League — the average season ticket price is now more than $145, according to the Team Marketing Report NHL Fan Cost Index. Check for Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg or other season-ticket holders selling extras the day of the game (or close to it) on sites like TicketCity or StubHub®†† to save (or watch it on TV at home for the best deal).


®* Registered trademark of TripAdvisor LLC
® Registered trademark of Smarter Travel & Design
® Registered trademark of Groupon Inc.
®** Registered trademark of Maple Leaf Gardens Limited
®†† Registered trademark of StubHub Inc.

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