Back eons ago (oh alright, only about 35 years ago, so not really eons) travelling across the border between Canada and the US was a lot less structured, but when 9/11 hit ... things began to change. Once, you could drive between our two countries with little worry, but today travel involves a lot more preparation than just packing your suitcase.
Although there have always been regulations about what you take across into the US and what you can bring back into Canada, checking packages as you drive through the border crossing was almost non-existent way back then.
Today, the checks are frequent and you should be prepared to show all your receipts for everything coming back into Canada with you, and receipts to show what hotels or motels you've stayed at. The receipts can help confirm the length of time you've been in the US, and prove the value of products you're bringing back home.
I once had a friend whose engagement ring was taken by border staff (receipt given to her) because her boyfriend proposed in the US while on holiday, even though he purchased the ring in Canada. The ring was returned when he came back to the border with the store receipt and appraisal.
If you haven't crossed the border from Canada to the US recently, (or from the US to Canada) you'll be doing yourself a favour by studying the requirements before you go. Make sure you carry nothing with you that is restricted in the US, or restricted from crossing the border (things like seeds, live plants, roots, some foods, drugs, including unlabelled prescriptions, etc.)
I go back to the border crossing sites every time we take a trip and double check what I'm packing, or what I'm bringing home. You don't want to be surprised by a change that you were unaware of.
You can find this information on travelling with:
- prescription drugs on the US Customs & Border site here,
- admissible foods found on this page,
- travelling with alcohol for personal use is allowed with conditions & may need licensing
- Visa requirements and travel documents required for Canadian citizens entering the US
- pets (cats)
- after emailing the border crossing website about the dog policy they provided me with this information (copied from the email I received back): Requirements for Dogs
While I do focus mainly on Canadians going to places in the US, for US Citizens travelling to Canada, some information is available at theNiagara Falls Border Crossing site.
I'm not really planning on providing a ton of travel tips. There are many sites that can provide you with much better information than I can, but I will be sharing some of our travel routes, and the information on the hotels where we've stayed, places we stopped when enroute for meals, or rest stops - what we liked, what we didn't, and our experiences along the way, and at our destinations.