Travel is returning, but with new expenses

Photo by Romolo Ravani

Travel is coming back, but the added expenses are making people hesitant.   

Regardless of their vaccination status, all travelers returning to Canada must have a negative PCR test 72 hours before their departing flight.   

“A PCR test costs up to $200 dollars, depending on where you’re going,” says Kendra Chisholm, a Travel Agent in the Hamilton area.  

Chisholm explains how she always warns her clients about the price of tests. Still, some clients become upset when they realize how much extra they will be paying.   

These tests can leave quite a dent in Canadian wallets. A  family of four could be paying up to $1,000 dollars extra just for testing. That is an added expense many families cannot afford.   

Kayla Duerden is a Niagara resident who has experienced this first-hand. She recently cancelled her trip to Jamaica for January 2022. The cost of the COVID tests played a huge factor in her decision to cancel.   

Each country has its own rules when it comes to arrivals and departures. This makes travel that much more complicated. As of December 5th, Ireland requires all international travelers to show proof of a negative PCR test. Even for vaccinated people. This places more pressure on travelers to stay diligent, in case it costs them their trip.  

“If you’re not booking through a travel agent, do your research and find out exactly what is required of you,” said Chisholm.  

With the threat of the Omicron variant, countries like the United States now require proof of a negative test at least 24 hours before takeoff. Travelers fear that this is not enough time to get their tests back.   

“They’ve also got a lot of concerns about the one-day testing policy, like what if results don’t come back in time? What if they can’t get an appointment? Those kinds of things, especially with the fact that things are changing with the new variant coming out,” says Avery Navikevicius, owner of 95 Ave Events & Tourism.   

Since it’s a gamble getting your tests back in time, some are paying more to get faster results. Amber Edwards said she paid $100 USD for her PCR test so she could come back home from the United States. She paid $100 more to expedite the results in time for her trip.  

“Finding a place to guarantee my results in one day is stressful,” says Edwards.  

At the Toronto Pearson Airport, you can expect to pay $250 dollars for an expedited PCR test. Your results come back within six hours. A standard PCR test costs $140 dollars with results coming back within 12-24 hours.   

“If you want to travel right now, that’s just the game you’ve got to play,” says Navikevicius.  

Travel isn’t anywhere close to how it used to be. Canada only saw around 51,000 inbound visitors in March 2021. This is compared to more than the 3 million who visited in March 2019. But regardless of the obstacles, many people are slowly building up the courage to travel again.  

Travel Agents and travelers alike are hoping 2022 brings good luck to the tourism sector, and maybe even a break to their wallets.