Crossing The Canada-US Border For Shopping & Visiting Family Is About To Get So Much Cheaper

Crossing the Canada-U.S. border for short trips like shopping or visiting relatives is about to get a whole lot cheaper, thanks to an update to Canada's travel restrictions.

On Friday, November 19, federal officials confirmed that COVID-19 testing requirements will be dropped for eligible travellers who are leaving Canada for 72 hours or less.

From Tuesday, November 30, fully vaccinated people with right of entry to Canada will be able to skip the pre-entry molecular test, meaning they'll be able to return home without forking out hundreds for a PCR test.

This applies to people travelling via land or air, as long as they're able to demonstrate that they've been out of the country for three days or under.

As the COVID-19 tests approved to enter the country can cost at least $100, this update means taking short trips just got much cheaper.

It also means those driving across the Canada-U.S. border will no longer be required to spend any money on COVID-19 testing, as the American land border does not require fully vaccinated travellers to take a COVID-19 test prior to entry.

It's worth noting that people flying into the United States will still be required to take a test before arriving, although rapid antigen tests are accepted.

Unfortunately for people dreaming of lengthy vacations, the rules will not change for people leaving Canada for over 72 hours. In this case, passengers will still be expected to take a pre-entry molecular test before arriving. Rapid antigen tests are not accepted.

If you do still need to take a molecular test, Rexall Pharmacy sells a take-home test starting at $200, while Costco sells do-it-yourself PCR tests for $120. Air Canada has its own version priced from $149.

Some U.S. pharmacies do offer free PCR testing, although there are some risks to be aware of.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

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