It’s safe to say, most 2020 travel plans have gone out the window. You might have had to cancel an all-inclusive beach vacation, backpacking trip, or family reunion and opted for a staycation instead. With COVID-19 still impacting the travel landscape, it’s been tough to plan the best vacation destinations this year. But that doesn’t mean we still can’t travel safely or think about the best places to travel to in 2021.
In light of everything, we know that money has been an issue for many households and individuals. So we’ve put together the best vacation destinations for every budget. Whether you want the ultimate luxury vacation or you’re travelling on a tight budget – there’s something for everyone to enjoy!
Please note: Travel restrictions for Canadians is changing all the time. It’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest global health updates and guidance from the Government of Canada and the World Health Organization, along with the country that you’ll be travelling to before undertaking any type of travel.
Best budget destinations in 2021
Budget-friendly travel is taking into consideration trips that won’t cost you an arm and a leg in all respects: transportation, accommodation, food, and experiences. When you’re budgeting for your trip in 2021, cheap vacation destinations will either be all-inclusive or close to home. Here are our top budget-friendly destinations.
A cheap all-inclusive trip
The beautiful beaches of the Dominican Republic are currently open to Canadians right now, which means you are so close to waking up to the peaceful sound of ocean wave. This is the perfect cheap Caribbean beach vacation to put on your radar for 2021. Not to mention, round-trip airfare costs as low as $480!
There are plenty of all-inclusive resorts and hotels in Dominican that are open to tourists, and they’re offering incredible rates, often including free cancellation policies. For an amazing family beach vacation or romantic couples getaway, book your stay at Casa de Campo Resort and Villas or Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana. These resorts are also complying with safety protocols according to the country’s Responsible Tourism Recovery Plan. One aspect of this plan is a “sanitary bubble” implemented at hotels to ensure that employees stay as long as possible.
An affordable family beach vacation
For years, Mexico has been a popular cheap all-inclusive holiday destination for Canadians. Like Dominican Republic, several resorts in Mexico have adopted strict guidelines and protocols to keep employees and guests safe. You can easily travel to places like Cancun, Tulum, or Puerto Vallarta and vacation there without leaving the resort. Lots of resorts are currently offering discounts that are too great to pass up on for your next all-inclusive getaway. Look into Emporio Cancun, Catalonia Royal Tulum (adults only), or Sunscape Puerto Vallarta for a budget-friendly stay in the sun.
And the best part of cheap all-inclusive vacations isn’t just the price tag. Luxurious accommodations, white sandy beaches, gourmet dining, and the comfort of room service all make for the stress-free vacation you’re looking for. Budget doesn’t have to mean compromising on quality!
Grey County, Ontario
A fun outdoor staycation
If you’re not yet ready to get back out into the world just yet, that doesn’t mean future travel plans are completely off the table. There are plenty of cheap family vacation opportunities close to home. What about a fun outdoor, isolated staycation with your loved ones?
While planning vacation options for 2021, consider renting an affordable cabin somewhere in Grey County for a weekend. This is the perfect vacation destination for some fun winter activities like snowshoeing, skiing, skating, and cozy game nights in.
You can find great rates on cottages and condos in towns like Collingwood and Owen Sound. Then for some scenic winter hikes or snowshoeing with the family, head over to Inglis Falls or Weavers Creek Falls. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can snowshoe to the highest point on the Bruce Trail in Pretty River Provincial Park.
Best places to travel on a mid-range budget in 2021
Mid-range budget vacations lie somewhere between a complete splurge and a more no-frills escape. Check out some destination inspiration below for those with a decent budget to work with.
An eco-friendly vacation
Costa Rica’s borders are currently open to Canadians, and with very minimal entry requirements. If you’re thinking about countries to visit next year, then Costa Rica makes a great vacation destination. It’s also a leader in sustainable tourism, thanks to the country’s management in protecting its beautifully bio diverse lands. After a half day of travelling from Canada, you can relax in an all-inclusive wellness resort, eco-lodge, or a cozy cabin for that much-needed vacation. Stay awhile and go surfing, swimming, and hiking to your heart’s content.
Some mid-range accommodation options include a rainforest setting at Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa, overlooking the ocean at Si Como No Resort & Wildlife Refuge, or surrounded by lush greenery at Topos Treehouse Lodge
A private Caribbean escape
The paradise island of Aruba is open to Canadians, albeit with some mandatory entry requirements such as a health assessment, purchasing Aruba-specific COVID-19 insurance, and uploading a negative PCR test. That being said, a trip to Aruba is well worth it. Home to colourful reefs, crystal waters, and so much more, it’s a fantastic cheap beach vacation to consider taking in 2021.
There are plenty of world-class all-inclusive resorts that you can feel safe and comfortable in. You can even take it a step further and book a private villa for you and your family. Take a look at Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, Costa Esmeralda Village, Riu Palace Aruba All Inclusive or Merlot Villas Aruba. We’ve listed Aruba as mid-range but you could also go all out on luxury or opt for a more budget-friendly trip.
A fun getaway close to home
Whether you’ve never been to Niagara Falls or you’ve been countless times, it still remains a fun and adventurous getaway for families, friends and couples. Niagara Falls is one of the best places to travel in Canada. It offers an opportunity to make memories and witness the impeccable beauty of the falls – which never gets old.
There are plenty of mid-range budget options to choose for your stay. You can find deals on rooms that have a front-row seat to the nightly Falls Illumination, en-suite hot tubs, and on-demand entertainment. Some of our top hotel picks include Marriott on the Falls, Embassy Suites, and Sheraton Niagara Falls.
Best places to visit for a luxury vacation in 2021
After the year we’ve had, why not treat yourself to the luxury vacation of your dreams? These trips and destinations may be on the higher end, but if you have the means and want some respite from your worries – then these are some of the best places to travel.
Relaxing and luxury getaway in the mountains
How does a lavish holiday in the mountains sound? If you’re ready to treat yourself to a luxury getaway and you don’t want to travel too far, look no further than Banff, Alberta. Most hotels and accommodations in Banff are pretty pricey. But when you’re surrounded by majestic mountain ranges in a decadent room – then Banff is one of the best luxury vacation destinations you could treat yourself with. You could hit the slopes during the day and wind down with some rejuvenating spa time. Sounds pretty perfect!
Go all out and feel like royalty when you stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise or Fairmont Banff Springs. Both are ideal settings for a memorable staycation escape with your partner, family, or even solo!
Alternative domestic destination: Kamloops, BC
Given that a lot of provinces are going through various waves of lockdowns, we wanted to offer an alternative all-inclusive holiday destination that you can choose from. Around a 3.5 hour drive from Vancouver is Kamloops. Surrounded by gorgeous mountain terrain, you’ll be up close and personal with nature.
There’s plenty of fun activities for every season; from skiing in the winter, to hiking in the spring, mountain biking in the summer or kayaking in the fall – there’s plenty to do for every type of adventurer. If you’re looking for a quality stay, look into the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Kamloops, Delta Hotels by Marriott Kamloops, or some cozy luxury cabins for an all-out glamping experience.
A beach paradise
The Bahamas may just be the luxury beach vacation you’ve been craving. They are currently open to tourists who have a negative COVID-19 PCR test, taken no more than 5 days before your arrival. With more than 700 islands and not to mention beautiful waters to swim in, the Bahamas is an immaculate natural landscape to enjoy.
You could easily spend a day or more soaking up the sun’s rays (bring your reef-friendly sunscreen!), or get swept up by the ocean with plenty of water activities like diving or kite-boarding. This would be the perfect getaway for couples who are really looking to have some intimate R&R together. Some luxurious stays include Rosewood Baha Mar, The Ocean Club, and Grand Isle Resort & Spa.
Try an extended working holiday in 2021
Barbados has recently opened their doors to remote workers who want to live and work in the country for up to 12 months with a Welcome Stamp. Digital nomads have paved the way in recent years with working remotely in ideal locations around the world, but given the shift of more work and learning going online this year, this might be the perfect opportunity to try this lifestyle yourself! It’s much safer than bouncing around locations, and you can achieve that work-life balance with tropical beaches right at your doorstep.
The is one of the more expensive countries to visit, because it costs $2,000 USD to apply and your salary must be at least $50,000 USD. But once you start to make living arrangements, there’s everything from budget-friendly studios to beachfront luxury condos to try in Barbados.
Just because our 2020 travel dreams didn’t go as planned, doesn’t mean 2021 is off the table. We hope our best vacation destinations inspired you to plan a trip for next year, regardless of where you are on the budget scale. As restrictions are constantly changing, always remember to check local government guidelines before booking any travel.
Discover where you can go
Get the latest information on which countries are open and closed for Canadians here with our interactive global map. You can even sign up to receive email updates when your top destinations reopen.
Frequently Asked Questions
The main ways to mitigate the risks of exposure while travelling during coronavirus include: wearing a mask at all times, washing your hands regularly, carrying alcohol-based hand rubs/hand sanitizers with you, and practising physical distancing. You can read up on the full WHO recommendations on precautions to take here.
Each government around the world has their own guidelines regarding flying during the coronavirus outbreak. We recommend you check with your local advisory board for the latest advice.
You usually do need to set dates when you book flights. However, if you buy a flexible ticket, you can move the flight date and time until the ticket’s validity period (which is usually, but not always, one year from the date of purchase) ends.