Cheap dairy, Trader Joe's: What Canadians missed most about driving to the US

Oct 13 2021, 7:22 pm

With the US announcing its land border will reopen to fully vaccinated Canadians in November, many people are already planning their first post-pandemic trip.

The US land border has been closed to non-essential travellers for nearly 20 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and some of our favourite activities that are only a few hours’ drive have seemed incredibly far away.

Here’s a roundup of some of the things Canadians will be able to do again next month:

Visit family and friends

family visit

Iakov Filimonov

Many couples and families have been separated for months by the border closure, and this holiday season could be the first time in a long time Canadians can drive to see their relatives in the US.

Outlet shopping


mojo cp / Shutterstock

It’s well known that the US has more and cheaper options for buying clothes and other goods, and there are many outlet malls close to the border serving bargain-hungry Canadians. Just keep an eye on the $200 spending limit for a 24-hour visit to the US, or you’ll end up paying Canadian taxes.

Cheap cheese and dairy products



Cheese is notoriously expensive in Canada, so it’s a popular item to buy on cross-border road trips.Ā Tillamook is a favourite of British Columbia residents, and there’s a creamery in Oregon that offers tours.

Trader Joe’s

trader joe's

Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock

From peanut butter cups to the Everything But the Leftovers seasoning, there are many reasons Canadians missed this much-loved grocery chain. Not sure what to buy? Check out these TikTok accounts that review products.

NFL and other pro sports games

seattle seahawks

@seahawks / Instagram

For those of us living outside Toronto, major sports games that aren’t hockey-related can be hard to come by. Now that the US land border is opening, Canadian fans can drive down to see their favourite teams play again.

Cheap gas


Margarita Young/Shutterstock

Americans tend to have cheaper prices on fuel than we do, so remember to fill up the tank before heading back. Be careful about filling jerry cans though, because leaking fumes from those can ignite and cause a fire if you get into a crash.

Cheap booze



Check out Costco for great deals on spirits — but watch the Canadian government’s limits on how much alcohol you can bring back.

American fast food

In-n-out Burger

Adam Wilson/Flickr

A stop at In-N-Out is mandatory.

Visiting the other side of Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, Ontario (Travelzoo)

We all know the Canadian view of the falls is better, but there are so many other things to do on the US side.

Trips and vacations in the US

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park (Stephen Moehle/Shutterstock)

There are so many drive-able spots to visit in the US, but we never really appreciated them until we couldn’t go anymore. Get ready to pack a sense of adventure with beautiful US national parks to the 2022 travel itinerary.

Faster cross-country road trips

Google Maps

Google Maps

Moving from Toronto to Vancouver? The drive is about 10 hours shorter if you travel through the US. You’ll miss Banff and the Canadian Rockies though — so it’s a tradeoff.

PO boxes

PO Box

Alina Rosanova/Shutterstock

Because paying international shipping fees and duties sucks.

Cheaper flights

SeaTac airport

Bill Roque/Shutterstock

Many people still see international travel as risky, so this one may not come back into play for months to come. But dedicated travellers are sometimes able to find cheaper flights out of US airports — so much that the price difference is worth the drive across the border.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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