Along with queuing at Tim Hortons, being overly polite and shoveling snow, border shopping is a great Canadian pastime. And I’m willing to bet that since the NHL season has been cancelled, a lot of us will head South on weekends to find good deals… even more so with the latest increased duty free allowances.
The 8,891 kilometer-long Canada–United States border, officially known as the International Boundary, is the longest international border in the world shared between the same pair of countries, and it is Canada’s only land border. Most urban areas are concentrated by the U.S. border and we are never far from our Southern neighbours. Border crossings are just a short drive away and both American and Canadian custom authorities are used to the daily traffic—with proper documents and paperwork (typically, your passport), procedures are easy and straightforward for Canadian and American citizens.
And going to the nearest border is an excellent way to kick off this holiday shopping season. Indeed, you can find great deals around the border, and you don’t even need to drive to the nearest American town to shop at usual boring big box stores—you can simply head to Canada’s land border duty free shops.
Currently, 27 American-Canadian border crossings offer duty free shopping facilities (see all the locations here). Most of us take a break nearby these facilities before going through immigration and customs, as they often offer a good place to rest and stretch your legs or grab a snack and get some tourist information. But Canadian duty free shops are also a great place for bargain-hunters, so don’t feel shy and come on in!
Remember how exciting it is when you can visit duty free shops at the airport while waiting for your flight? Well, land border crossings have the same kind of shops—plus you don’t have to worry about missing the final boarding call! Retailers offer alcohol, fragrances, cosmetics, health and beauty products and typical Canadian products such as the popular ice wine, and prices are very competitive since you save the tax. For instance, you can save up to 40% on your travel needs! To see what a bargain you can get depending on your location, use this handy tax saving checker.
The news this season is that new duty free allowances came into effect as of June 1, 2012—and it’s great news since the allowance was increased (you can see all the details on the updated allowances here):
- You can now spend $200.00 for trips over 24 hours;
- and $800.00 after 48 hours.
To kick off the holiday shopping season, you are all invited to hop till you drop at the border! For more info, head to duty free Canada.
Happy holiday duty free shopping!