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What’s your foreign exchange personality? New RBC Poll reveals currency habits for U.S.-bound travelers


Canadians still plan to travel to U.S. this year despite weaker loonie


TORONTO, June 27, 2016 - Canadians are confidently making travel plans to the U.S. this year, according to a 2016 RBC U.S. Travel Poll, and some are doing so by limiting their upfront costs of foreign exchange

Half of Canadians (50 per cent) won’t let the low value of the Canadian dollar prevent them from travelling to the United States, while 13 per cent have decided to cancel plans entirely. Two-thirds of Canadian travellers (66 per cent) say they prefer to use cash while in the United States, the survey found.

“Canadians travellers use a wide variety of tactics when it comes to U.S. dollars, how they acquire them and how they spend them, during trips to the United States,” says Alain Forget, director, U.S. Business Development, RBC Bank (U.S.).

When planning their cross-border travel, over half of respondents surveyed (54 per cent) say they do not exchange their money in a lump sum at their bank in Canada prior to their trip; one-in-three (33 per cent) use their Canadian credit cards while in the U.S. and another one-third (27 per cent) admit to looking around the house for U.S. money left over from their last trip.

When Canadians return home, the majority (63 per cent) keep the unspent U.S. dollars at home, rather than re-exchanging the money or depositing the leftover funds.

“Consider adding a cross-border bank account to your travel checklist to help you stretch your money with every U.S. trip. A bonus: you can earn interest on your leftover U.S. dollars, rather than keep them at home until your next trip,” said Forget.

Forget offers three other tips to help Canadians travel smarter and take advantage of the U.S. dollar:

  • Consider U.S. plastic: Using cash is one of the best ways to stick to your budget. But a U.S.-based credit card is a smart option to avoid foreign transaction fees on bigger purchases.
  • Avoid small change: Don’t be among the 13 per cent of Canadians surveyed who watch the exchange rate closely and only exchange money on better days – it’ll likely cost you more in the long run if you exchange small amounts. The more money you exchange at once, generally the better the rate you will pay.
  • Set a realistic budget. Two-in-10 Canadians (23 per cent) say they plan to cut back on shopping, dining or entertainment when in the U.S. By listing all the items you plan to purchase during your trip, such as food, entertainment, accommodations, or gas if you are planning a road trip, you’ll be able to have a better sense of how much money you’ll need. As a rule of thumb, tack a 30 per cent premium to your budget for the span of your trip. But keep in mind that costs in the U.S. are generally less than in Canada which gives a boost to your budget planning.

About RBC U.S. Travel Study 2016
These are some of the findings of an IPSOS Reid poll conducted between February 22 to February 26, 2016, on behalf of RBC. For this survey, a sample of 1,004 Canadians who have traveled to the U.S. in the last two years from IPSOS’ online panel was interviewed online. 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 ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian travellers 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.

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For more information, please contact:
Ka Yan Ng, RBC Communications, 647-625-8726
Jill Anzarut, RBC Communications, 647-534-5118