Santa Isn’t the Only One Travelling this Holiday Season

December 5, 2014

Twenty-nine per cent of Canadians plan to travel this holiday season and another 29 per cent wish they could.

The holidays are a busy time of year for travel as Canadians take to the sky to visit family and friends, but be prepared for crowds as 29 per cent of Canadians plan to travel and another 29 per cent want to travel this holiday season, according to a recent survey.

  • Before you go: Heed the advice of the Government of Canada’s website, “If you travel abroad you need travel insurance, no matter where you are going or how long you will be there.”

In addition to be prepared for crowds, you need to be prepared if you’ll be travelling with gifts too.

Travelling with gifts

If you’ll be playing Santa and taking to the friendly skies with gifts, it’s important you know what you can take with you, and bring back.

Travelling to the U.S. with gifts

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, “As a non-resident, you are allowed up to $100 worth of merchandise, free of duty and internal revenue tax, as gifts for other people. To claim this exemption, you must remain in the United States for at least 72 hours, and the gifts must accompany you.”

Travelling to the U.K. with gifts

The duty-free allowance if going to the U.K. is up to £390, according to the GOV.UK website, and the gifts must be with you upon arrival.

  • Before you go: Whatever country you’re travelling to this holiday season, make sure before you leave, you look up the country’s duty-free allowance; otherwise, you may find that you’re having to pay taxes before you even enter the country.

Returning to Canada with gifts

If you’ll be returning home to Canada with gifts that you’ve received while being away for:

  • 24 hours, you can bring gifts back valued up to $200 without paying duty or taxes
  • 48 or more hours, you can bring gifts back valued up to $800 without paying duty or taxes

Tips for travelling with gifts and flying through Customs

Likely the two most important tips to ensure you and your gifts make it through Customs together are:

  • Don’t wrap your gifts before leaving. Customs officials can, and likely will, require that you open them so that they can see what you’re bringing onto the plane and into the country. Same goes for gifts packed into checked baggage.
  • Know before you go that your gift is allowed to be brought into the country you’re travelling to or is allowed into Canada when you’re returning.

By observing these tips on travelling with gifts, your presents won’t be left behind leaving you empty-handed when you arrive at your destination.