Black Friday: A long standing American tradition you can enjoy too!

It's hard not to notice all the news reports concerning the extraordinary rise of the Canadian dollar these past few months. With all the talk of a strong dollar, more and more Canadians are flocking south of the border to start shopping for the holidays, or to simply enjoy the end-of-season sales. These sales are the first of many leading into the American Thanksgiving weekend and "Black Friday" which kicks off the holiday shopping season with a bang!

"What is Black Friday" you ask?

Widely regarded as the beginning of the holiday shopping season, Black Friday falls on the day after Thanksgiving when everyone has finished their family obligations, eaten all the turkey they can and are ready to shop!

The name Black Friday has its origins in the belief that this is typically the day stores turn the corner and begin to turn a profit; retailers who have been unprofitable, or "in the red" until this day, see a change to being profitable, or "in the black." These terms originate from a time when accounting records were kept by hand and red ink indicated loss and black profit.

To entice shoppers to begin their holiday shopping season, retailers publish special sale ads on Thanksgiving Day to get customers into their doors the following morning. "Doorbuster" and "Early Bird Specials" invite customers in with heavy discounting on retail items. Lines often stretch around the block as customers jam parking lots waiting to get first dibs on the hot sale items of the year.

According to CBC News, Black Friday 2006 saw earlier open times for retailers along with new concept Doorbuster rewards. Retailers such as Sears opened their doors at 5 a.m. and were greeted with long lineups of customers waiting to enter; and for the first 200 through the doors $10 gift cards were handed out as a reward for choosing Sears and coming in so early.

CBC also reported that the total retail sales for Black Friday hit almost $8 billion US in 2006 - that's in just one day!

Tips for heading to the US to shop the Black Friday sales

There are a few key things you can do to prepare yourself for a great weekend away.

  • One is to do your research on Black Friday sales. While you don't have the benefit of the local shoppers of getting the ads delivered to your door with your newspaper, you can easily find websites with online copies of the very same ads found in those Thanksgiving Day newspapers across the US. Simply do a web search using the phrase "Black Friday" and you'll get 5 or 6 really great websites that have great sales info. Some of these sites even have tools so you can check out and print off special coupons for any time of the year - including Black Friday sales!
  • Clear out your trunk; you might need the space for all your purchases.
  • Make sure you are carrying the proper documentation; while a passport is not yet required to cross the border by car it sure does make it a lot easier (and it could be required as early as the Summer 2008.) If you don't have a passport then you must have on you your birth certificate and driver's licence.
  • If you're driving over the border, make sure you monitor digital signs along your route. Some areas, such as the Queenston and Fort Erie border crossings in Ontario, have posted digital construction signs that as you get closer to the appropriate exits provide border wait times. This gives you the option of crossing at either as they're pretty close to one another.

    If you're not sure if border crossing options exist for where you are, you can look online and check out border information at You can also get updates on border wait times here too!
  • If you aren't planning on heading to the US for American Thanksgiving or Black Friday, don't fret! Some of the larger retailers with online shopping capabilities will have time-sensitive sales on Black Friday and afterwards throughout the holiday season. Make sure to check out the great deals if you can. Some retailers will also guarantee shipping before Christmas too, so you don't need to worry about spending extra cash on express shipping.
  • If you do get the chance to head across the border for Black Friday shopping, make sure you get travel insurance prior to leaving. Even if you're only going for 2 or 3 days, you're leaving the country and a visit to an out-of-country emergency room can become a big expense, quickly. It will even provide you with coverage should you get into a sticky situation like those crazy stories you've likely heard where people get into scuffles over the last sale item in stock!

    All joking aside, travel insurance offers you the emergency medical protection you need when out of the country; whether due to an accident or illness.

Get a good deal now, even before the Black Friday sales

At shopping for travel insurance is quick, easy and very affordable. Travel insurance quotes are available instantly online for as little as $12. What better savings can be had then paying $12 now, instead of thousands of dollars should you need emergency medical attention while in the US?

Get a quick quote for you and your family and compare rates from leading Canadian insurers in less time than it takes to sign your credit card receipt at Macy's. At, you can get quotes anonymously, so you won't have to sign up to any clubs or mailing lists. Oh, and did we mention that getting quotes is free?

Compare travel insurance quotes from as low as $12 at today!

Happy shopping!

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