Border crossings in B.C. are expected to be extra busy for Black Friday. (Black Press Media files)

Border crossings in B.C. are expected to be extra busy for Black Friday. (Black Press Media files)

Going to the U.S. for Black Friday? Here’s what you need to know

Bring your passport, not your pot and be ready for long lineups

Planning on heading south of the border for Black Friday shopping? Here’s what you need to know to not get stuck in a lineup, or have your on-sale goodies snatched up by customs officers.

Leave early

If there’s ever a day to leave earlier than you think you need to, U.S. Thanksgiving and Black Friday is the time.

It’s the busiest travel weekend of the year, and the Canada Border Security Agency is warning travellers to check border wait times and seek out a less busy crossing.

The Douglas crossing in Surrey is the busiest land border crossing in B.C. and the CBSA recommends Pacific Highway, Aldergrove or Abbotsford-Huntingdon instead.

VIDEO: Tips to avoid overspending this holiday season

If you’re flying, the Vancouver International Airport says it’s expecting heavy traffic to and around the airport.

It’s asking travellers to take the Canada Line if they can, adding that drivers parking at the long-term value lot near Templeton Station might see extra busy trains as shoppers storm the nearby McArthurGlen Designer Outlet stores.

Be prepared

To keep the lines moving smoothly at the border, make sure you have all your documents – passport, NEXUS – ready to go so you’re not fumbling with them as the agent looks on.

If you’re planning to bring back hundreds of dollars in goods, keep in mind that you have to declare them at the border and possibly pay duties on them. If you want an estimate of how much you’ll pay, check out the CBSA’s calculator here.

One of the key jobs of border guards is to watch for missing kids, so be ready to answer detailed, and even invasive-seeming, questions about any children in your car.

Absolutely no marijuana

Cannabis may be legal in B.C. and Washington State, but it’s a complete no-go at the border.

Pot is still against federal law in the U.S. and is still illegal to take out of Canada. Anyone travelling across the border with cannabis could face criminal charges, even if it’s medicinal and comes with a doctor’s note.

READ MORE: Heading abroad in the legal cannabis era could harsh your buzz


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