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British Columbians plan to travel

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With high vaccination rates, easing of travel restrictions, and changes to cross-border COVID-19 testing requirements, a new BCAA Travel Confidence Survey reveals high travel confidence and a change in travelers’ worries when it comes to international travel.  

The survey, conducted for BCAA by Léger just as travel restrictions were lifted, found that 84% of British Columbians are concerned about getting stuck due to rules changing or testing positive and having to quarantine versus fear of actually getting sick from the virus. This is a shift in perspective from BCAA’s previous survey conducted in the summer of 2021, when potential travelers were most worried about being exposed to COVID-19 (78%) and that pandemic restrictions would take away from enjoyment of their trip (77%).  

Overall, travel confidence appears to be strong: 68% of potential travellers are seriously thinking of traveling, 22% are actively planning a trip, and 10% have already booked a trip outside Canada.  

While 67% currently say that they plan to travel outside of Canada this year or next, the survey also found that British Columbians are thoughtfully planning and prioritizing safety in their upcoming travel arrangements. Almost all travelers, (88%), will prepare to ensure travel is safe despite COVID-19, and 83% will choose less risky destinations.  

Generational Differences  

Mature British Columbians are least likely to feel ready to travel again soon. While nearly two thirds (63%) of people aged 55+ are planning international travel this year or next, that’s 10 percentage points lower than 18–34-year-olds. And those aged 55+ are more than twice as likely to have no plans to leave Canada – 29% compared to 13% of those aged 18-34.  

Young travellers are the most confident to travel without waiting longer for the pandemic to ease. Exactly half (50%) of younger British Columbians who plan to travel believe that travel is still risky but say that they’re ready to take the chance to travel abroad. That compares with 46% of those 35-54 and 36% of those 55+ who plan to travel. 

Preparation is Top of Mind 

Potential travelers still have significant concerns about COVID-19 and are planning carefully to protect themselves and their loved ones, with 84% planning to buy medical insurance for trips outside of Canada. Three-quarters (75%) of 18–34-year-olds plan to take out medical insurance for international trips versus 93% of British Columbians aged 55+.  

“What we’re seeing is a dramatic increase in the number of British Columbians prioritizing preparation and caution in their upcoming travel plans,” said Namita Kearns, BCAA’s Director of Insurance Products. “They are taking the safety of themselves and their loved ones into consideration by planning ahead and purchasing medical insurance before leaving Canada. It’s encouraging to see British Columbians looking to enjoy international travel again – while prioritizing their health and safety.” 

BCAA recommends that people do their research and look to protect themselves as they book travel. “Do your research beforehand, check travel advisories, and plan ahead to minimize risk and ensure a happy and safe trip,” said Namita Kearns. “Check your insurance coverage, ask questions, and stay safe.” 

BCAA recommends that travelers confirm how much COVID-19 coverage their insurance provides based on their vaccination status. Check for Travel Delay & COVID-19 Quarantine coverage which can cover unplanned accommodation and living expenses and look out for helpful benefits such as access to virtual medical care.  

BCAA has more travel planning and insurance tips for travelers at bcaa.com/backtotravel