One of the most popular activities that people do when they travel is to go shopping. Many people go on vacation strictly to shop while others pick up a souvenir or two when they’re on the road. But one thing is for certain, nearly everyone brings a little memento back from their trip across the border. Nowhere is this more true than in Canada.
As the weather cools many Canadians hop in their cars and head for the South. In less than 24 hours you can be in a warmer climate enjoying fun in the sun. With cross border shopping rules though, it’s always been a bit frustrating as to what we are allowed to bring back into the country. Truthfully, we’ve never been quite sure about what was allowed and what wasn’t so we always kept our purchases to a minimum. Better safe than sorry right?
With the holiday season approaching we thought we would hi-light what those rules are and demystify them a bit.
It was good news when we came home this past summer and heard that the Duty Free allowances for Canadians had been raised. Now, when you leave the country for 24 hours or more, you can bring home $200 worth of goods. If you are gone for four days (48 hours) you can bring home $800 worth of goods. Previously we were only allowed to bring home $200 and $400 for the same amount of time. I like seeing it doubled. But hey Canada, don’t think that you can hop across the border for a day trip and get these benefits, you need to be out of the country for at least 24 hours.
If you shop at a duty free store, you can stretch that money even more. Think about what you save if you shop without tax and duty! You can actually save up to 40% of your travel needs by shopping Duty Free. Pretty awesome. We’re all for finding a bargain and stretching our dollar. The more we can buy for the same amount of money, the better we feel. We can get a lot more out of our $800 bucks when we’re saving an extra 40%.
Just this past weekend I went to Cleveland with a friend to see the great Canadian Band, The Tragically Hip play at the House of Blues. I didn’t know this before, but you can stop at Duty Free before entering the States to do your shopping. My friend was out of her favourite perfume, so we took a stroll through the Calvin Klein aisle. I always thought that you had to buy duty free on your way back, not on your way there.
We could have even bought a bottle of local wine to take with us into the US for our trip. I wish I knew this before we crossed the border, I would have done a lot more shopping! There were some great deals in there.
For more information on Duty Free Allowances visit Duty Free Canada
The duty free stores have come a long way too. We grabbed a bite to eat and a coffee at Tim Hortons before crossing the border. We had Canada with us all the way, a Timmies double double and the Tragically Hip onstage. Who could ask for more?
Why would I shop at the Canadian Duty Free instead of the US outlets? I can buy my favourite Canadian products that I can’t find in the US. At the same time I’m supporting local businesses while saving on tax and duty. I’m all for supporting our local retailers, buying Canadian and most of all saving money. Plus, if you make a purchase at the duty free store, you get to skip the line and cross the border without a wait. When the holiday season is in full swing, that’s a huge advantage to making the most of your vacation.
Did you Know?
I didn’t know that Duty Free stores are operated by independent business people. I always thought they were government owned, but they’re not. That makes me want to shop there even more! They can even be reached on Facebook, I love it when companies are available to talk to the public.
So the next time you drive to the States, take a moment to stop in at the duty free before you cross the border. You’ll be surprised at what you can buy, and remember, you have a lot more allowance than you previously had before.