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Avoid having to leave your Black Friday deals at the border

If you’re thinking of taking a trip to the U.S. to get in on Black Friday deals, read the following tips to avoid being caught off guard at the border when you find out your item is on the restricted list.


Tip #1 - Know what you can bring back

When you get to the U.S., you’ll see deals on everything: clothing, housewares, luxury items, outlet bargains, groceries and more, 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—these aren’t allowed back into BC. Baby items like self-feeding bottles and walkers with wheels are also on the can’t-bring-back list. Here are a few examples of what you can and can't bring back from the states:

supermarket shopping

Permitted Items

Up to 20 kg per person

  • Meat and poultry
  • Baked goods and candies (no goods containing meat)
  • Fish and seafood (no pufferfish or Chinese mitten crabs)
  • Dairy products (over $20 CAD may be subject to high rates of duty)

Up to 15 packages or less than 250 kg per person

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

Get details on the full list of permitted items.

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)

For a full list of items you can't bring back go here.

Tip #2: Know how much you can bring back

shopping bags

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 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 and be prepared to pay duty if you’re in the U.S. for less than 24 hours. Here are more exemption details.

Returning after less than 24 hours

  • For same day shoppers, all goods brought in from the U.S. (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 on all the goods you bring with you.

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.
family shopping

Tip #3: Protect yourself with travel insurance, even if you’re away for just a day

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 that big screen 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 Emergency Medical Insurance could save you far more money than the amount you save on a door crasher deal.

Plus, some insurance packages, such as BCAA Annual Multi-trip Travel Insurance cover you for any trip (up to a maximum trip length of your choice) outside of BC throughout the year, whether you’re travelling within or outside of Canada.

So, here’s the deal on BCAA 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. Just be sure to you have Travel Insurance before you leave BC. You can buy BCAA Travel Insurance online now at, it’s fast and easy!

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 across the border.