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March 10, 2022

Canadians save big flying out of U.S. border airports

Continuing a decade-long trend, the number of Canadians visiting the United States dropped sharply in 2009. We actually crossed the border 10 per cent less than we did the year before.

Same-day car trips were off the most, according to Statistics Canada — a 13.3 per cent drop.

But one cross-border travel option continues to grow.

Searching for lower fares and fewer hassles with airport security — because they’re flying domestically inside the U.S. instead of coming from abroad — some 2.5 million Canadian travellers crossed the border to fly out of smaller U.S. airports last year, according to the Canadian Airports Council.

And why not? Fares between U.S. cities can be hundreds of dollars less than flying directly from your local airport, reports USA Today. 

Montreal flyers drive to Plattsburgh, while travelers living in Vancouver head over to Bellingham and those living in Windsor regularly cross a bridge to Detroit. Kingston and Ottawa are also close enough to cheaper U.S. alternatives.

On a recent trip to Arizona, my flight out of Syracuse was less than half that available from a Canadian carrier. Even with gas and long-term parking, we still came out way ahead.

It also took about five minutes to clear security and even less than that when it came to settle up with Canada Border Services when driving home.

Have you done the same? Would you do so again?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...