Monday, February 19, 2007

Take a holiday

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.

In a relationship we sometimes need to get away for a short trip. Sometimes we need to get away from each other. Whatever it may be here is 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. It's a DEATH PENALTY in some countries, like Singapore.

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 chagrin 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.Lets say you are going on Vacation Barcelona, do searches such as:

- customs regulations Spain

Bar advice.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. Bon voyage.

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