Shopping: Tips for your Black Friday spree

(NC) -- Are you heading south to take advantage of Black Friday savings? The busiest shopping day of the year in the United States promises unbeatable deals on everything from electronics to clothing and jewelry. While Canadian retailers are starting to get in on the act with their own offers, many of us still travel south of the border to enjoy great deals and rock-bottom prices. Here's what you need to know to make the most out of your trip.

Plan ahead: Canadian shoppers who stay in the U.S. overnight are now allowed to bring back up to $800 worth of duty-free goods. Book your hotel early and consider flying to avoid delays at the border. Of course, you won't want to fly if a big-screen TV is on your wish-list so plan to leave early to beat the rush if you're driving. Know which stores you must hit and create a wish list to avoid impulse spending.

Find coupons online: If you ever watch Extreme Couponing in envy, now you too can take advantage of U.S. retail discounts. Websites and Twitter accounts specific to Black Friday savings are a great resource for finding the best high-value coupons. Be sure to check the fine print before you head to the store and stay on top of any early bird specials as these can offer the deepest discounts.

Stay connected: Your smartphone can be your Black Friday lifeline if you need directions, if you want to find exclusive online offers, and especially if you want to post pictures on Facebook or tweet about the great deals you have found. Do control your roaming costs however. Travellers say that the most reliable protection for this is the Rogers U.S. Roaming Internet Rate. They charge $7.99 per day for up to 50 MB. There are no sign-up or monthly fees; just turn your data roaming 'on' and start surfing. The plan lets you know when you're approaching the 50 MB limit so you don't have to worry about surprise costs. Plus, you can text 'usage' to 3330 anytime for free to check how much data you have used that day. When roaming is this easy and affordable, you can stop searching for Wi-Fi and start enjoying your shopping spree.


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