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9 best places for Canadians to travel in summer 2024 — and cheaper travel dupes from around the world

From Europe to Asia, and the U.S. and Canada, these are the top summer vacation cities and underrated travel spots

9 best places for Canadians to travel in summer 2024 — and cheaper travel dupes from around the world (Getty Images)
9 best places for Canadians to travel in summer 2024 — and cheaper travel dupes from around the world (Getty Images)

From hot weather poolside relaxation to city exploration and wilderness activities, summer travel has been top-of-mind for Canadians. Some of the best places to travel in July and August may be even closer than you think, and there are always underrated and cheaper alternatives to some of the most popular international travel spots.

Taking a vacation during some of the busiest travel months of the year can be a bit daunting to navigate, but information provided to Yahoo Canada from Skyscanner reveals where Canadians are flocking to this summer. Additionally, Laura Lindsay, travel trends and destinations expert at Skyscanner, has highlighted that sometimes the more under the radar, but similar, destination dupes for travel hotspots are the way to go.

A city full of history, from royal landmarks to music phenomenons, London is a top destination for Canadian summer travellers, accord to Skyscanner.

Explore popular markets, like Portobello Road Market and Brick Lane Market, for fashion and antique lovers. Or Borough Market if you're a foodie. Art lovers shouldn't miss the opportunity to explore the Tate Modern, and spend an evening at Ronnie Scott's, a particularly historic spot for live music.

The English city also has some of the best shopping in the world, including famed department stores Harrods and Liberty London. But don't miss out on some impressive vintage shopping at stores like Lovers Lane. And check out British designers like Bella Freud while you're in town.

In terms of where to stay in London, the most luxurious and iconic hotel option is Claridge’s, an art deco landmark that has welcomed some of the most famous people in the world. It's the epitome of luxury.

If you want to be right in the action, Mimi's Hotel Soho is a great option for a boutique hotel right in the middle of Soho, that's quite budget friendly. It has stylish rooms and is close to many popular attractions, including Oxford Street and Piccadilly Circus.

Round-trip flights to London from Toronto this summer are as low as $600, check Skyscanner for live prices from your local airport

Liverpool, England (Getty Images)
Liverpool, England (Getty Images)

Fans of The Beatles will be particularly aware of the music history in Liverpool, but the English city also has so much more to offer. With a similarly rich history to London, Liverpool also has world-class museums and impressive architecture, including the Royal Albert Dock.

"Stroll along the picturesque waterfront, explore the bustling city centre, and immerse yourself in the friendly atmosphere of this dynamic metropolis," Lindsay stated about the destination.

Liverpool's Titanic Hotel recently made headlines when Taylor Swift was seen at the property, while she's on her Eras Tour. The hotel, located on Stanley Dock, is just minutes away from the city centre and is the focal point of the restoration of the docks, a warehouse transformed into a four-star property that blends its original Victorian architecture with contemporary design elements.

Located in Liverpool's Georgian neighbourhood, the boutique Hope Street Hotel is definitely a city chic property, with loft suites featuring brick walls and exposed beams. The spa was added to the hotel in 2021 with an indoor swimming pool and Himalayan salt sauna.

Edinburgh, Scotland (Getty Images)
Edinburgh, Scotland (Getty Images)

Back in May, Edinburgh popped up as a trending travel destinations for Canadians from Skyscanner data, but particularly if you've been looking to London for your next destination, the Scotland capital is a particularly impressive alternative.

"Both Edinburgh and London are cultural hubs, with thriving art scenes, world-class museums and renowned festivals," Lindsay highlighted. "With epic food scenes and pubs galore, you’ll get your London fix in a new and unexpected location, just a few hundred kilometres north."

The Balmoral Hotel is the landmark hotel stay in the city, with its notable clock tower. Very much leaning into Scottish heritage, the rooms and suites are feature tartan elements. If you're a fan of the TV series Outlander, The Balmoral has transportation from the hotel to take a tour of the show's filming locations, with a private driver-guide.

In the city centre, The Caledonian Edinburgh, Curio Collection by Hilton has views of the Edinburgh Castle and is located just 10 minutes away from Princes Street Gardens, the Royal Mile and Edinburgh's Old Town. Dine at Dean Banks at The Pompadour with a seven-course tasting menu focused on serving sustainable produce, and take a dip in the indoor pool that overlooks Edinburgh Castle.

Round-trip flights to Edinburgh from Toronto this summer are as low as $660, check Skyscanner for live prices from your local airport

Seoul, South Korea (Getty Images)
Seoul, South Korea (Getty Images)

The South Korean capital is one of the most popular destinations for Canadian travellers this summer. The city has a unique blend of modern elements, like skyscrapers and one of the best subway systems in the world, with older temples and palaces. And don't forget the impressive street markets, particularly Gwangjang market with all the Korean snacks.

"Notable attractions include futuristic Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gyeongbokgung Palace, and Jogyesa Temple, the site of ancient locust and pine trees," Lindsay advised.

Go to the Bukchon Village neighbourhood to see traditional Korea homes, hanoks, some of which have been converted to public spaces like cafes and art galleries. Don't miss your chance to see Changdeokgung Palace as well, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the most well-preserved of the Joseon Dynasty palaces.

The Hotel Naru Seoul MGallery Ambassador is a luxury hotel by the Han River, and make sure to look at the hotel's impressive collection of artwork. It's a certified Green Key hotel, awarded to properties for their sustainable operations, and guest can experience the exclusive Sunset Ritual.

Located in the popular Gangnam district, voco Seoul Gangnam, an IHG Hotel is close to a number of the city's attractions, shopping and nightlife. Each floor of the hotel has a 24-hour communal kitchen and self-service laundromat.

Round-trip flights to Seoul from Toronto this summer are as low as $1,600, check Skyscanner for live prices from your local airport

Signiel Busan, South Korea
Signiel Busan, South Korea

​​An alternative to Seoul is Busan, South Korea, known for its beaches, mountains and temples.

"Both Busan and Seoul boast a modern infrastructure, rich culinary scene and plenty of cultural attractions," Lindsay highlighted. "In Busan, vacationers can head to Haeundae Beach to relax on the golden sands of one of South Korea's most famous beaches."

"At the Jagalchi Fish Market, South Korea's largest seafood market, you’ll experience a vibrant atmosphere and sample fresh seafood dishes. If you’re looking for an artful adventure, head to Gamcheon Culture Village, where colourful streets and vibrant art installations take over this hillside village."

The Haeundae Sky Capsule is a particularly great way to take in the beautiful scenery around Haeundae Blueline Park.

An impressive luxury escape, the Signiel Busan hotel is located in the LCT Tower, with ocean views of Haeundae. The property has an infinity pool and dining options from Michelin 3-star chef Bruno Menard. There is also a kids lounge play area.

Lotte Hotel Busan is in the centre of the city, close to Busan Citizens' Park, Gwangandaegyo Bridge and Gukje Market. There is also a casino at the hotel, the Seven Luck Casino, which includes roulette, blackjack, baccarat and poker tables, and slot machines.

Bangkok, Thailand (Getty Images)
Bangkok, Thailand (Getty Images)

If South Korea has inspired you to book a vacation, Thailand's capital city, Bangkok, is another great option.

"Both Seoul and Bangkok share a boasting, rich food scene, modern architecture and cultural attractions," Lindsay shared. "Bangkok specifically is known for stunning architecture and vibrant street life."

"Explore the beautiful architecture of The Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaew). You won’t want to miss taking a boat ride along the Chao Phraya River, which runs directly through the city. Finally, you can shop at Chatuchak Weekend Market, one of the largest markets in the world, offering everything from clothes and accessories to home decor and street food."

Located at the Bangkok Noi canal, a Thai river home has been transformed into a boutique hotel, the Siamotif, with six rooms decorated wth murals by local artists. The property is close to the Taling Chan Floating Market and Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market, and Bang Khun Non street food area.

The Sindhorn Kempinski Hotel Bangkok has been dubbed a "wellness sanctuary" in Sindhorn Village, just steps away from Lumpini Park. The hotel's spa includes hydrothermal experiences, hydrotherapy offerings and an outdoor swimming pool.

Round-trip flights to Bangkok from Toronto this summer are as low as $1,500, check Skyscanner for live prices from your local airport

Toronto, Canada (Getty Images)
Toronto, Canada (Getty Images)

For Canadians looking to travel a bit closer to home over the summer, Toronto is a great spot for a city adventure. With a variety of different neighbourhoods to explore, it continues to attract summer travellers.

New visitors love to see the CN Tower. The Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood is the spot for anyone looking to do some luxury shopping, with designer boutiques like Prada, Saint Laurent and Hermes. The city's Chinatown is always a popular spot for foodies in particular, or the Danforth neighbourhood for any tourists craving greek food. Travel farther west for areas like High Park, Roncesvalles and The Junction for trendy restaurant, cafes and local shops.

The summer months are also the perfect time to take the ferry over to Toronto Island for a picnic and a bike ride, and the Centreville Amusement Park.

If you're looking for a historic Toronto stay, Fairmont Royal York is the way to go, also conveniently located just across the street from the city's train station. The property has been open since 1929, with famous guests including England's royal family. Clockwork Champagne & Cocktails at the hotel is also a fabulous place to meet friends for a drink.

A popular choice for visitors and locals looking for a staycation, The Broadview Hotel in the city's east end, is always a pleasure to stay in. Famously a conversion from a strip club, the property has guest rooms with outdoor terraces and some overlooking the Don Valley River. There is also a rooftop bar with impressive views of the Toronto skyline.

Round-trip flights to Toronto from Vancouver this summer are as low as $170, check Skyscanner for live prices from your local airport

Chicago, Illinois (Getty Images)
Chicago, Illinois (Getty Images)

For decades people have pointed out similarities between Chicago, Illinois, and Toronto, and we have to admit they do share similar spirits, and both cities structured around significant bodies of water (the Chicago River for the U.S. city).

"Known for its iconic skyline, diverse neighbourhoods, and rich history, Chicago offers something for everyone," Lindsay stated. "Explore world-class museums like the Art Institute of Chicago, indulge in deep-dish pizza and admire breathtaking architecture during your visit to the city."

Chicago is a particularly great food city. Giordano’s is a popular spot for deep dish pizza, as well as the local chain Lou Malnati’s. Another must-try local food is a Chicago-style hot dog. If you're a fan of the hit show The Bear, get your dog at Superdawg Drive-In, featured in the show. For other The Bear-inspired options, check out Alice's Lounge, Ceres Cafe and Ever.

The Gwen, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Michigan Avenue Chicago is a twist on vintage 1930s Chicago glamour, with the art-deco exterior of the McGraw-Hill Building. In addition to impressive guest rooms and suites, The Gwen also has a "glamping" offering where guests can stay on the 16th floor terrace and spend a night under the stars, with the views of Michigan Avenue.

Located on the north side of the city, The Guesthouse Hotel is surrounded by some great local shopping and restaurants. The 25-unit property has a rooftop deck that guests can enjoy and there's a whole kids menu of items families may need, free of charge.

Round-trip flights to Chicago from Toronto this summer are as low as $275, check Skyscanner for live prices from your local airport

Seattle, Washington (Getty Images)
Seattle, Washington (Getty Images)

From water to forests and plenty of interesting city neighbourhoods, Seattle, Washington is a great getaway, with options for lots of different travellers.

"Seattle is known for its stunning natural beauty, thriving tech scene, and rich culture," Lindsay highlighted.

"Explore the historic Pike Place Market, where local vendors offer fresh seafood, artisanal crafts, and mouthwatering cuisine. Visit the iconic Space Needle for panoramic views of the city skyline and Mount Rainier. You won’t want to miss discovering Seattle’s eclectic neighbourhoods as you check out a local coffee shop, or exploring Seattle’s rich music scene."

The Edgewater Hotel is uniquely located on the Seattle waterfront with views of the Olympic Mountains, Elliott Bay and the city. Famous musicians The Beatles, Pearl Jam, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young and the Foo Fighters have all been guests at the property.

Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle is located near Pike Place Market, Seattle Art Museum and the Great Wheel. There was a $25 million dollar restoration of the property, completed 2021, which provided an updated look to historic Seattle luxury. The hotel has an indoor pool and Canine Club for pets.

Round-trip flights to Seattle from Toronto this summer are as low as $300, check Skyscanner for live prices from your local airport

If flight costs are getting you down, there are a few things Canadian travellers can do to ensure they're getting the best deal possible for their next vacation, both on the Skyscanner platform specifically and when looking for flights more generally.

  • Beat the crowds: For flights that are filling up fast, you'll want to make sure you're looking at the monthly view on travel search sites like Skyscanner to see the best possible option available for flight dates.

  • Set up alerts: Prices are always changing, so if you're hoping to travel to a specific destination, or on specific dates, set up a price alert so you can be quick if a deal comes up. Skyscanner specifically has a price alerts system for any cost changes.

  • Consider "Everywhere": If you're hoping for a new adventure, or a little rest and relaxation, but you don't have a specific destination in mind, the "Everywhere" search on Skyscanner may be your new best friend to discover the most affordable vacation destination possible.

  • Flexible dates: There may be certain times where you need to travel for specific dates, but the best deals are really revealed when you open yourself up to some flexibility. Even changing your travel dates by a day, or a week, can result in significant savings.