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Top trending destinations for Canadian travel, and KAYAK tips on when to book

Canadians are checking out the beauty of Brazil, the marvels of Montego Bay and the lush nature on Kauai, says a new study from KAYAK.

A look at the top trending destinations (those with the biggest increase in traffic) for the upcoming holiday season shows a whopping 53% rise in interest in Montego Bay, Jamaica; the largest percentage increase of any destination in the study. Next was Kauai, perhaps the most lush and natural of the Hawaiian Islands, and vibrant Sao Paulo, Brazil, both with a growth of 49%.

Half Moon is a wonderful resort near Montego Bay, Jamaica. – JIM BYERS PHOTO

Not only does KAYAK keep track of the destinations Canadians are searching for, they also can tell users the best time to book. For example, their exhaustive research found that it’s best to book Montego Bay tickets 2-4 weeks in advance. For Kauai and Sao Paulo, you’ll also get the best bargains 2-4 weeks prior to your trip. But for Singapore, the #5 trending destination, you’re better off booking two to three months before you fly. Ditto for Barcelona, the #10 trending spot.

David Solomito, Vice President North America Marketing, said KAYAK, which is a search engine and not a online travel agency, has been helping folks make smart travel decisions since 2004. They set up shop in Canada in 2013 and are now in 60 countries around the world. Two billion searches – for flights, hotels, rental cars and more – are conducted on the KAYAK website every year, he said. You can even use their trip tool to be notified of flight changes or alterations to your gate at the airport.

The KAYAK “Holiday Hacker Guide” is a great program you can use to find terrific trips Another wonderful feature is KAYAK Explore, which allows you to set your home airport, your travel budget and holiday dates (either the exact dates or a month or a season) and then check out the places you can go that fit your price point. You might find yourself looking at a great destination you’d never thought about before.

The Hawaiian island of Kauai is a trending spot for Canadians, with lovely, beaches and lush forests. – JIM BYERS PHOTO

Solomito said Canadians will take more holidays this holiday season than Americans; an average of 13 days from December to early January, versus 10 for Americans.

He also jokingly called Canada “procrastination nation,” noting that Canadians don’t start looking at winter holiday getaways until October; a month or so later than most Americans.

A study of the most popular destinations for Canadians would reveal a lot of the “usual suspects,” such as Orlando, Cancun and California. What KAYAK looked at instead were the “rising” destinations or “trending” spots with the biggest increase in searches. Using that criteria, the 10 hottest holiday spots for folks from north of the border are Montego Bay, Kauai, Sao Paulo, Cancun, Singapore, Kingston in Jamaica, Puerto Vallarta, Las Vegas, Lima and Barcelona.

Singapore is a fabulous, multicultural destination with great shopping and fantastic food. – JIM BYERS PHOTO

Here are some other findings in their report, detailed at a lovely breakfast at a fun, new spot called Overbudget on Queen Street West in Toronto:

– In addition to being the top trending destination, Montego Bay is ranked as one of the top 10 wallet-friendly international flights from Halifax and Winnipeg.

– Puerto Vallarta was ranked as the #1 most wallet-friendly flight from Calgary and Edmonton.

– Lima ranked #3 on KAYAK’s top trending destinations list for Calgarians.

– Many Canadians search for flights to Rio de Janeiro, but KAYAK found flights are often cheaper to Sao Paulo.

– Canadians can often find inexpensive flights to Scandinavia, but the downside is the expense of a hotel and restaurant meals (a cappuccino often costs $12).

– Searches to Hawaii may be on the upswing due to the addition of more flights. Southwest, for example, has announced it will start flying to the Hawaiian Islands.

– Singapore is lovely, but beware of monsoon season between November and January.

– For both domestic and international flights, Friday is the cheapest day to begin your trip. Coming home, Monday is usually your best bet.

– There’s no magic date for booking your tickets, but flight prices tend to decrease slightly on domestic flights in Canada on Tuesdays and for international flights on Thursdays.

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