What NOT to take

Kathy Steinemann

Kathy Steinemann writes regularly for 111 Travel Directory - Adult Escapes - and 1000 Travel Tips - as well as several other websites.

Planning to travel abroad? Leave these items at home!

Leaving the Figueroa

Anyone who travels regularly is aware of luggage and carry-on restrictions post 9-11. However, if you travel abroad, there are other considerations to keep in mind. No foreign country wants undesirable insects, rodents, or diseases to infiltrate their population via border crossings.

Before reading further, remember that if you have outstanding police warrants or a criminal record, you should probably forget about foreign travel. Period.

What NOT to take with you

Regulations vary by country. The snacks you pack for a domestic flight may not pass customs inspection for an overseas destination. Start with a good dose of 'common sense' and you will quickly realize why most of the items on the following list are not permitted:

- Beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages that have been opened

- Pets without appropriate vaccination certificates

- Native wildlife

- Weapons - or toys and other items that look like weapons

- Big game bagged while on your safari or hunting trip

- Prescription drugs without an accompanying doctor's prescription

- Drugs, vitamins, or nutritional supplements with unreadable labels

- Illegal drugs or paraphernalia - *DEATH PENALTY* in some countries

- Potted houseplants, seeds, soil, pebbles, or sand

- Natural products like seashells, pieces of coral reef, whalebone

- Uncooked pork, poultry, beef, and other meat or animal products

- Unprocessed or uncooked vegetables, fruits, tubers, roots, etc.

- Hay, straw, oats, and similar items

- Any other natural products that may harbor diseases or pests

- Fireworks and incendiary devices

- Clothing and souvenirs manufactured with any of the above products

Some prohibited articles may be allowed with appropriate permits or certification. If you don't know for sure - don't pack them or bring them back home with you.

What you MUST take with you

Imagine your charging should you go through customs on your return trip and discover that you must pay duty on your laptop computer, digital camera, and jewelry - even though you purchased them in your own country prior to your trip. Yes, it can - and does - happen. Protect yourself!

Pack copies of documents such as sales receipts, credit card statements, insurance policies, and appraisals for all valuable items to prove ownership and purchase date - especially for anything that looks like new.

No receipts or paperwork? Take a picture of each item next to a newspaper that plainly displays a readable date. Note the serial number(s) with each photo. Keep all photos and paperwork in a safe place along with your passport and other important documents. They will be invaluable when you fill in customs declarations - both leaving and returning.

Do your homework

Spend some time doing research on the internet before you travel. You should be able to find a government or embassy website that provides the regulations online. Do searches such as:

- customs regulations France

- customs regulations Spain

- customs regulations Brazil

- customs regulations USA

Advance investigation may save you considerable time, money, and effort as you pass through each border crossing.

Be aware! The resulting peace of mind will make your holiday much more enjoyable.

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  • ama2008 says
    Interesting article, thanks for this....I dont travel much, but I DO like watching Border Patrol and it amazes me what people try to brin gin and out of countries
  • Aims11 says
    Argh customs scare me! At least now I should have no reason to get stopped!
  • Jess says
    A friend who is a air hostess recently got stung for an apple in her hand luggage that had travelled in and out of Australia and Fiji 3 or 4 times before she got fined for it. $400 too! bugger
  • New Member says
    Who in their right mind would be travelling with potted plants, native wildlife or any of the other no nos on the list without having a rather suspect motive anyway. It really raises my eyebrows whilst watching the Border Control programmes on tv and seeing what people have tried to bring into the country, most times i am just completely astounded by their oblivious attitude. I have only travelled very small distances but to me it is common sense that has kept me from knowingly or otherwise coming into problems at customs.
  • CEZ33 says
    I travelled alot 10 years ago and it was much less hassle - there is so much to think about when packing now!
  • very interesting read! I am travelling overseas for the first time in August, and I got some great hints! Thanks very much!
  • Aww well that cancels out the pet Elephant and skyrocket combo I was thinking of bringing back lol
  • Hannah says
    Definitely should be common sense - If in doubt, don't take it.
  • Mellow says
    The TV programme 'Border Patrol', shows some idiolts ..... a good example as to avoid the embrassment ... Its a simple training aid
  • coco says
    I always double/triple check that I haven't got any food or anything in my bags.

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