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Do your Online Cross Border Shopping While Visiting the U.S.

Posted: October 19, 2014

Canadians who travel to the U.S. are doing their online cross border shopping in a unique way that is quickly growing in popularity: Having their online purchases shipped to their hotel or other accommodation in the United States.

If you are planning an overnight trip to the U.S., this can be the most convenient, cost effective way to do your online cross border shopping.

How it Works

Cross border shopping to your U.S. hotel / accommodation is very easy, but requires some advance planning:

  1. Before you travel, purchase the goods you want online and have them shipped to your hotel / accommodation that you will be staying at in the U.S.
  2. Call your hotel / host ahead of time to let them know you are expecting packages so they know to watch for them and store them until you get there.
  3. When you arrive at your hotel / accommodation, your goods will be waiting for you.
  4. Check your purchases, keep the ones you like and return the rest from your hotel.


There are several advantages to online cross border shopping to your U.S. accommodation:

  • Convenience: Your hotel or other accommodation is an ideal place to receive your packages, examine your online purchases and return any unwanted items.
  • Save Time: Online cross border shopping takes a fraction of the time it would take to physically run around shopping at brick and mortar stores.
  • Lower Online Prices: Many U.S. retailers offer lower prices on the websites than in their brick and mortar stores.
  • Free and Fast U.S. Shipping: Most U.S. online retailers offer free shipping within the United States and ensure your goods arrive within 1 or 2 days, benefits you won’t enjoy if you do your online cross border shopping from Canada.
  • Free and Easy Returns in the U.S.: Most U.S. online retailers offer free returns and have quick, easy return policies from within the United States. Returning U.S. online purchases from Canada can be time consuming, add significant shipping costs and require you to file an application to get your Canadian duty and sales tax refunded.
  • Minimize Canadian Duty and Sales Tax: If you are in the U.S. for more than 24 hours you will be able to bring some or all of your online purchases back to Canada with you on a duty free basis, a benefit you won’t receive if you ship your online purchases to Canada from the U.S. Get Canadian Duty Free Allowance Limits.


Follow these tips to make sure you have a hassle free experience shipping your online purchases to your U.S. accommodation:

  1. Plan Ahead: Time your purchases so they arrive at your U.S. hotel / accommodation early enough in your trip to examine and return any items you don’t want without having to rush.
  2. Research Shipping Prices and Policies: Make sure you understand the online retailer’s U.S. shipping policies before you order. The most important questions are:

    Do they offer free shipping within the United States? If not, what are their U.S. shipping fees? How long will it take for your goods to arrive at their destination after you order?
  3. Research Return Policies:  While most U.S. online retailers offer fast, easy, free returns within the United States, not all of them do, so it’s best to understand these policies before you order.