Longing for the Road, 4 in 10 (40%) Canadians Plan to Take a Summer Road Trip

Three-Quarters (74%) Say Pandemic Has Changed Vacation Plans; Day Trips (68%) and Family Visits (53%) Most Popular

The author(s)
  • Sean Simpson SVP, Canada, Public Affairs
  • Chris Chhim Senior Account Manager, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON, June 29, 2020 — The current pandemic has undoubtedly changed many aspects of our everyday lives, including how we get around and where we go on vacation. After being in self-isolation for so many months, how will Canadians look to escape cabin fever? A poll by Ipsos carried out on behalf of Toyota Canada has found that while many Canadians are still hesitant about travelling by air for vacation, they are instead keeping the great Canadian road trip alive by sticking close to home and discovering the beauty and wonder of nearby areas. This summer, Canadians will be swapping their plans for wine-tasting in Italy or beachside cocktails in Mexico for fireside chats at secluded chalet, and it just may be what is needed at this time.


Eschewing Air Travel, Staying Close to Home

It is no secret that Canadians are avid drivers. In addition to three-quarters (72%) of Canadians saying that they own a car, the proportion of who have access to some kind of vehicle climbs to 88% when factoring in options such as borrowing from family/friends, car sharing, and car rental. Albertans are the most avid car owners, with 9 in 10 (89%) saying that they own a car (and 94% saying they can access a car through other means).

Recent lockdown measures over the past few months have meant that Canadians have been spending less time in their cars for various purposes, both as drivers and passengers. But some still long to hit the road. With summer holidays approaching, three-quarters (74%) agree (40% strongly/34% somewhat) that the current pandemic has changed their summer vacation plans. It seems that travelling by plane to far-flung destination is a no-go for many this summer; only a quarter of Canadians (24%) agree (17% strongly; 8% somewhat) that they would feel comfortable taking a plane for vacation and 86% agree (39% strongly/47% somewhat) that they will stay closer to home than usual this summer. Among older Canadians aged 55+ years, 9 in 10 (91%) say they will stay closer to home than usual this summer.


On the Road Again

Even if Canadians may not be jetting off on vacation, they are still longing to have a change of scenery after spending so much time indoors. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that road trips remain an attractive summer vacation option, with 4 in 10 (40%) Canadians agreeing (9% strongly/31% somewhat) that they will take a road trip this summer. Those in Atlantic Canada are the keenest, with 50% (13% strongly/37% somewhat) agreeing that they will take to the road.

Canadians may be taking to the highway this summer, but they will not be venturing too far from home. While 70% of Canadians say they feel comfortable travelling outside of their city/town in a car, 42% say they would go feel comfortable (15% very/28% somewhat) going out of province. Even fewer (21%) say they would feel comfortable (7% very/14% somewhat) going to the US by car. Turning to summer road trippers specifically, 2 in 10 (21%) say they will go no more than 100 kilometers away from home, with half (50%) saying they will go no more than 300 kilometers. Given that this is a relatively short distance for such a vast country, it is understandable that the most popular activities for summer road trippers include day trips (68%), visiting family (53%), and camping (39%).

And where will Canadians be visiting? Half of road trippers say they will visit another city/town (51%), followed by national parks (42%), campgrounds (38%), beaches (31%), and cabins (23%). Perhaps a testament to majestically scenic areas such as Banff and Jasper, road trippers in Alberta are more likely to cite national parks as a summer travel destination (63%).


Still Taking Extra Precautions

Canadians are well-prepared to hit the road this summer, as 85% of summer road trippers say their current vehicle meets their needs for summer travel. As for what Canadians are looking for in their summer road tripping vehicle, air conditioning (68%) and good gas mileage (60%) are by far the top features. In particular, Albertans are paying close attention to getting good gas mileage out of their car (76%). Other features they are paying close attention to include:

Vehicle Feature


(of those taking a road trip)

Air conditioning


Good gas mileage


Safety features


Cargo space


Room for passengers


Cruise control


Navigation system


Speakers and sound system


Latest technology


Other features



Furthermore, just because Canadians are taking to the road this summer doesn’t mean that they are throwing caution to the wind when it comes to precautions to prevent contracting or spreading COVID-19. An overwhelming majority (94%) of those planning a road trip say they’re taking extra precautions to protect both themselves and those around them. Of those going on a road trip, two-thirds say they will limit contact with people (65%) and limit their exposure to crowds (64%). Other precautions include:

Protective Measure


(of those taking a road trip)

Limit contact with people outside my immediate circle


Limit the amount of time spent among crowds


Wearing masks while out in public


Self-catering/bringing own food to avoid restaurants


Extra care to clean/disinfect surfaces in car


Bringing own supplies to avoid using others’ (e.g. utensils, grill, cutlery, etc.)


Not venturing too far from home


Self-isolating after arriving back home


Self-isolating after arriving at my destination


Some other precaution


None of the above




About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between June 16-19, 2020, on behalf of Toyota Canada. For this survey, a sample of 2,001 Canadians aged 18 years and over was interviewed. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Sean Simpson
Vice President, Canada, Public Affairs
+1 416 324-2002
[email protected]

Chris Chhim
Account Manager, Canada, Public Affairs
+1 514 904-4336
[email protected]


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The author(s)
  • Sean Simpson SVP, Canada, Public Affairs
  • Chris Chhim Senior Account Manager, Public Affairs