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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  • I was in Akaroa this summer and I noticed a lot of the tourists from off a cruise ship were carrying native pot plants they had bought. I did wonder if they would ever get back to America? When I travelled to the UK, I put in a couple of our Marlborough Wines as a gift, which is o.k. if it is in your luggage. We never had any problems at customs, most of the time they just push you through. Airports aren't really that scary, once you know the routine. At the Heathrow Airport they did really check your reason for visiting, how long you will be there and where you will be staying.
  • Lauren says
    It's good to have a list of what NOT to take rather than the other way around.
  • Cinty says
    OH wow. This is heaps shorter than the 'what to take' :)
  • Wice says
    I believe it is ok and safe to pack aerosols into checked-in luggage (can someone confirm please) but I know that apart from the 100ml size restriction, only aerosols that can be used on the body, are allowed in carry-on baggage.

    Also, watch for lids. I had a 100ml Avene water spray confiscated from me because the plastic dome lid was missing - a long dry flight for me!

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