7 Things You Need To Know If You’re Crossing The Canada-US Border To Shop On Black Friday

The keen shoppers among us will know that Black Friday is just around the corner and that means huge sales, discounts and deals on both sides of the Canada-US border.

If you are crossing the border to shop this year, there are a number of things to be aware of to ensure you don’t end up forking out more money than you have to – or end up getting in trouble with the police!

From declaring your goods and knowing your exemption limits, to finding what’s cheaper on each side of the border, here are seven things all cross-border travelers should know ahead of Black Friday this year:

Check your shopping list

If you’ve been eyeing the Black Friday deals that are available south of the border, you could be considering crossing into the US to shop this weekend.

Before you go though, it’s worth triple checking your shopping list and finding out which items are generally cheaper on either side of the border.

For example, new cars, mountain equipment and cheese are among the things generally much cheaper in Canada, while jeans, footwear, bedding and clothing are goods that usually cost less in the United States.

If you’re looking to shop Black Friday sales specifically, consider researching the deals you’re traveling for in advance to be sure that you will actually save money by the time you’ve covered your cross-border trip essentials – like duties, tax gas or accommodation.

Many companies have already shared details of their Black Friday deals too, so you can have a quick look around online to make sure the discounts you’re traveling for are actually better on the other side.

Consider exchange rates

Regular cross-border shoppers will know the drill, but those who don’t travel so often should be mindful of exchange rates when crossing the border.

If you’re purchasing goods in a currency that’s different from the money in your wallet, you can expect to pay fees at some point in the transaction process.

One way to lower your cross-border shopping bill is to cut down these foreign exchange fees, which you can do by using cash or converting your money before you go.

If you do want to travel with pre-switched currency, online exchange services can often swap your money at a lower cost than traditional banks and in-person exchange kiosks.

Crossbordershopping.ca says using Canadian dollar credit cards is another convenient option, but you could be charged hefty fees.

Canadian dollar credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, on the other hand, can be a promising alternative.

Check border wait times

Naturally, you can expect longer-than-usual lines at border crossings around Black Friday weekend.

It’s worth remembering that it’s also American Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 24, so border traffic around this date is likely to spike.

The CBSA urges all travelers crossing the border via land to consider traveling at non-peak hours, such as early in the morning, to avoid long lines and backlogs.

You can also check border wait times online before you set off, to get an idea of ​​how long you’ll be lined up for at various crossings.

Know the exemption limits

There are personal exemption limits in effect for those crossing the Canada-US border to shop and it’s important to be aware of the rules if you’re spending.

After all, Black Friday savings won’t mean much if you end up forking out a fortune in duties and taxes.

Canadian shoppers who visit the States for less than 24 hours are not actually entitled to a personal duty free allowance, which is why it can actually be cheaper to stay there for 24 hours or more.

This is because Canuck shoppers who remain in the US for longer than 24 hours get a duty free allowance of $200 per person (excluding tobacco products and alcoholic beverages).

This jumps to $800 per person for stays lasting longer than 48 hours.

Some hotels even offer discounts and deals to those who are entering the States simply to shop.

The CBSA duty and taxes estimator can help shoppers calculate any taxes on goods purchased in the US, which could help you decide whether to buy – or not to buy.

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Declare your goods

If you are bringing goods into Canada, you must declare them upon entry.

The CBSA advises travelers not to wrap gifts and to have receipts “readily available” to show to border officials, as items may be subject to a search.

It’s also essential to declare any food, plants or animals that you’re bringing into Canada, including house plants, fruits and wooden souvenirs.

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Don’t travel with cannabis

“Don’t bring it in. Don’t take it out,” that’s the advice from the CBSA when it comes to traveling with cannabis outside of Canada.

It’s worth keeping in mind that transporting cannabis across the border in any form – including oils containing THC or CBD – without a permit is considered a serious criminal offence.

Despite the legalization of cannabis here in Canada, travelers moving between countries could be subject to arrest and even prosecution for crossing the border with cannabis products, regardless of their intention.

“A medical prescription from a doctor does not count as Health Canada authorization,” the CBSA warns.

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This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.


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