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Black Friday deals shouldn’t leave you black and blue

If you’ve been living under a rock, Black Friday is a big deal. Well, it’s actually millions and millions of big deals in all of the malls and stores in the United States. This year, Black Friday is on November 24th, just one day after their Thanksgiving. And because it’s seen as the official first day of Christmas shopping, most major retailers open very early, offering Doorcrasher Sales for the eager people that have camped out overnight.

If you’re thinking of making a run to the border for Black Friday deals, make sure you read up on the following tips:


Tip #1 - Know what you can bring back

When you get to the U.S., you’ll see deals on everything: luxury items, outlet bargains, groceries and gifts, so it’s important to know what items you can bring back to Canada. For example, some unexpected items are completely prohibited like: fresh apples, potatoes, and stone fruits like peaches and nectarines are not allowed back into BC, and neither are baby items like self-feeding bottles and walkers with wheels. For the full list, go here.

Permitted Items

Up to 20 kg per person

  • Meat and poultry
  • Baked goods and candies
  • Fish and seafood (no pufferfish or Chinese mitten crab)
  • Dairy

Up to 15 packages or less than 250 kg per person

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Dried fruit and vegetables
  • Frozen fruits and vegetables

Prohibited Items

  • Baby walkers
  • Infant self-feeding devices
  • Jequirity beans
  • Lawn darts with elongated tips
  • Second-hand mattresses (unless you have a document that certifies that the mattress has been cleaned and fumigated)

Tip #2: Know how much you can bring back

Time is money. Nowhere is this more obvious than the total amount of goods you can bring back to Canada before paying duty and taxes. The more time you spend with friends and family in the U.S., the more money you can spend on those Black Friday deals without paying duty. Just remember to keep all of your shopping receipts to prove you’re under the limit. Here are more exemption details.

Returning after less than 24 hours

  • For same day shoppers, all goods brought in from the US (including alcohol) can be charged with applicable duty and taxes

Returning after 24-48 hours

  • Up to $200 (CAD) is permitted, excluding alcohol and tobacco products. If you buy more than $200 worth of goods, you’ll have to pay duty.

Returning after 48 hours or more

  • Maximum of $800 (CAD) is permitted. Alcohol, cigarettes and tobacco can be included in this amount, and you can bring either up to 1.5 litres of wine, 1.14 litres of alcoholic beverages or up to 8.5 litres of beer.

Tip #3: Protect yourself with travel insurance

Picture this: you go the U.S. for a couple days and find an incredible deal on a flat screen TV. Everything is in your favour until you throw out your back hoisting 66” of 4K technology into your car. Now you’re in a high-def mess if you need immediate medical help, unless you have travel insurance.

Medical expenses incurred outside of Canada can be costly and your provincial health plan (or MSP) may only cover a small portion, if at all, leaving you to spend way more money than you saved on Black Friday deals. Having travel medical insurance could save you far more money than the amount you save on a Doorcrasher Deal - plus some packages cover you for any trip outside of Canada throughout the year.

Here’s the deal on our Travel Insurance. Emergency coverage starts as low as $20 for a single trip. BCAA Members save 10% and everyone can use the 24/7 claims service. Plus it’s easy to buy at BCAA locations, on the phone at 1.888.268.2222, or even online while you wait at the border. Get a quote now at bcaa.com/travel

While everyone expects to save money on Black Friday, nobody plans on getting sick or hurt. Always make sure you and your family are properly protected before you travel south of the border.