New rules governing the amount of money Canadians are allowed to spend south of the border take effect June 1st.
Canadians who could only declare $50 of purchased goods after an overnight trip across the border are now able to bring $200 worth of merchandise back home. Better yet the limit has doubled from $400 to $800 for people on a jaunt of between two and seven days, while the limit for those gone for more than a week increases from $750 to $800.
A “Three Star” hotel, Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts, Radisson Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree etc. can be booked on expedia.ca for $140.00 including taxes. If you get a little bit out of town to Tonawanda or Amherst you can get a nice room “Two Star” at the Comfort Inn, LaQuinta Inns & Suites, Days Inn for $75.00. Most offer a free breakfast as well. Now if you both spend your full limit of $200.00 and figure you are getting at least a 25% savings (if you shop smart you can easily save 50%) this would be the equivalent of $500.00 Canadian – HST on $500.00 Canadian is $65.00 and a breakfast will easily cost two of you $20.00, fill up the car at a savings of $1.00 a gallon, $40.00 and guess what! Your hotel was free! Even better if you do two nights and a mid-week jaunt is even cheaper.
Final reminder – you can send tax free duty free “gifts” back to Canada as long as value is less than $60.00. It will cost you $12.95 for a “free” small flat rate box 8-5/8″ x 5-3/8″ x 1-5/8″and $32.00 for a medium box 13-5/8″ x 11-7/8″ x 3-3/8″ or 11″ x 8-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ at the U.S. Post Office. I always slip in a small “Happy Birthday” note just in case Canada Customs takes a peek.