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The price of fun

by Jonathan van Bilsen

Slowly, but surely, everything seems to be escalating in price, especially when it comes to leisure activities. It does not seem to matter what aspect of vacations you look at, the costs continue to rise.

For those who enjoy memory making at your family cottage, you have no doubt experienced an increase in maintenance charges, as simple items, such as snow removal and grass cutting, have dramatically gone up. Even the hydro companies have found a way to take a bigger chunk out of your bank account, by increasing the rates, if you are not a permanent resident of the area. Not to mention the wear and tear winter weather creates on a building which is usually made of wood.

If you have a mortgage on a vacation property, you will no doubt have seen an increase in rates, due to inflation and much higher interest rates.

Those fortunate to own vacation homes in the southern US, will experience massive increases in maintenance fees, due to unprecedented hurricanes and storms pounding the shores in recent years.

Of course, a second property, along with: maintenance fees; taxes; upkeep and all the toys, like boats, sea-doos, ATV’s and snowmobiles, have one added menace looming over head: capital gains taxes. A $200,000 profit will result in a capital gain of about $60,000, with half of that going to our friends in Ottawa.

Second residences are not the only leisure activities which have seen a rise in cost. Travelling itself, has been hit quite hard, mostly by the pandemic. Those wishing to undertake it will pay the price. I have recently booked a flight to Europe, and, although the airfare itself was reasonable, I had to endure an add-on of $90 for seat selection, per person, per flight. As if that was not enough, I was also charged $110 per suitcase.

Cruising, although still reasonable, has also had its share of increase in rates. The average price for a cruise seems to hover around $2,500, depending on your destination. I mentioned, in a previous article, the average age of passengers is in the forties which means many will be travelling with children. I was recently talking to a friend who wanted to undertake a cruise with his wife and three children. The total cost, with airfare, was $15,000 for a week.

The word ‘staycation’ is popping up more and more, and I think, my best bet is to dig the old tent out of the basement, set it up in the backyard, turn on the barbecue and enjoy a few S’mores. On second thought, maybe I will just go inside, make some popcorn and watch a National Geographic film about a faraway place.

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.

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