It's that time of year again; a day full of big deals and savings. Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days, and is the perfect day to save on great gifts for your family and friends (and for yourself).

Some Canadians choose to travel to the States in search of even better deals. But does crossing the border really save you money?

Here are three things to consider if you’re thinking about travelling to the States for Black Friday deals:

1. The Exchange Rate

We all know that the Canadian dollar gets you less U.S. dollars, which means that going down south ends up being more expensive. All of your purchases, such as clothes, electronics, food, and accommodation will cost you more. And, we can’t forget that some foreign exchange methods charge an additional fee on top.

So, if you won’t be exchanging your money, contact your bank to find out if there are any options to save when using your debit or credit card across the border.

2. Border Taxes

You’ll also need to consider border taxes. When you go the U.S. you may run into duty fees and taxes depending on your length of stay. For example:

  • If you’re in the U.S. for more than 24 hours but less than 48 hours, you can claim goods worth up to $200 CDN—not including alcohol and tobacco. However, if the items you are bringing back exceed $200 CDN, duty and taxes are applied to the entire amount on the imported goods.
  • If you’re gone for more than 48 hours, you can claim goods worth up to $800 CDN. If you go over that amount, then duties and taxes are applied only on the amount that exceeds.

3. Travel Costs

Going to the U.S. has other added travel costs that you’ll want to factor in. For example, here’s a rough breakdown of a round trip from Toronto to Buffalo:

  • Gas – $45 CDN
  • Food – $60 CDN/day
  • Hotel (2-star) – $100 CDN/night

That adds roughly $205 CDN to your trip!

As appealing as the deals are, it’s important to know that you don’t have to go to the U.S. to enjoy big savings. Canada now has comparable deals that you can take advantage of (without hidden costs attached to them).

Also, don’t forget that Cyber Monday is just three days after Black Friday and you can make all of your purchases from the comfort of your couch! But beforehand, read about these eight tips to help you stay ahead in safeguarding your information while shopping online.

If you do decide to venture across the border, it’s highly recommended that you look into travel insurance, even if you’re only going for a day. Like any international travel, you’ll want to make sure that you have coverage in case you run into any unexpected circumstances. You could have unlimited coverage for eligible medical expenses as well as 24/7 worldwide emergency travel assistance.

Learn more about travel insurance, or get a quick travel insurance quote.

Happy Black Friday everyone!



This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.