Americans are flocking to Canada to take advantage of the exchange rate in our loonie with record-breaking deals on shopping, hotels and more. But what about travellers looking to go south for the winter, or even just visit friends and family in the U.S.? Many Canadians are opting for domestic travel where they can get more bang for their buck, but for those still looking to travel to the U.S. without going into debt, these five tips will help save money before, during and after their trip.
1. Find businesses that offer discounts for Canadians or the Canadian dollar at par
Canadians are America's greatest customers; in 2014 they topped the charts with 23 million visits to the U. S. So with the Canadian dollar dropping drastically, many businesses and even entire cities have been motivated to come up with ways to entice Canadians to keep travelling down south despite the increase in costs associated with U.S. travel.
- Cities like Scottsdale, Arizona are encouraging Canadians to continue visiting by offering discounts on resort packages, tours, shopping and more with their "Get Some Loonie Love" campaign: http://www.experiencescottsdale.com/loonie-love/
- Hotels, ski resorts and restaurants all over the country are offering discounts to Canadians who show their passports. Check out www.canadaatpar.com for a list of participating businesses.
- Until April 30th, Myrtle Beach is offering discounts of up to 55% for Canadians. Their "Dollar for Dollar" deals are their way of evening out the U.S. and Canadian dollars. Longer stays of 5-7 days will come with the biggest discounts. http://www.visitmyrtlebeach.com/hotels/deals/can-am/
2. Get a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees
Whether you're short on time to exchange your colourful Canadian cash for some crisp green singles, or you just can't stomach the idea of losing over 35% of your money in one go at the bank, credit cards will always be there to help you out when travelling to the U.S. Unfortunately, they will also be there to collect 2.5%-3% of what you've spent - something you may not think about until after you've returned from your trip.
Here, you will find a list of Canadian credit cards that do not charge foreign transaction fees. Just one less thing to worry about.
3. Visit states that don't charge any sales tax
If you haven't discovered this already, you're in for a pleasant surprise. In certain places in the U.S., the price tag on a product actually corresponds to the exact amount of money you must exchange in order to buy that product. That's right - no more calculating extra charges on your purchases in these states that have NO SALES TAX!
Delaware, Oregon, Montana and New Hampshire are sales tax-free, while Alaska has an optional retail-level tax (averaging out to 1.69% tax on purchases.)
Certain states, such as Washington, have an optional sales tax exemption for non-residents living in areas with sales tax below three percent. Residents of Alberta, Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut are all eligible for this exemption.
4. Choose an all-inclusive travel package
One of the easiest ways to spend more money than you intended, especially when it comes to currency exchange rates, is on unexpected travel expenses. With an all-inclusive vacation package, you can pay for almost the entire trip using Canadian money without having to worry about extra costs.
Check out these 5 tips for booking an all-inclusive vacation from Reader's Digest: http://www.readersdigest.ca/travel/budget-travel/5-tips-booking-all-inclusive-vacation/
5. Join the Canadian Snowbird Association
The Canadian Snowbird Association is a group that advocates for the rights and benefits of Canadian travellers. The 25$ yearly membership comes with many benefits, including access to a pooled fund where U.S. dollars can be bought at a preferred exchange rate every month.
Find out more about the Snowbird Currency Exchange program here: http://www.snowbirds.org/snowbird-currency-exchange