"" Writer's Wanderings: Beware Customs Regulations Where You Travel

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Beware Customs Regulations Where You Travel

If you travel a lot, you may become too accustomed to filling out those custom forms and passing through the immigration area of the countries you are entering. For much of the world, it is not much out of the ordinary. Usually the rules are:

  • Don't bring fresh fruits, veggies, or meats into the country.

  • Do not bring an unusually large amount of cash

  • No unusual insects or plants (These often have to be cleared through special channels)

  • Soils, sands, etc

You might also be asked to declare if you are bringing a large amount of literature, electronics, etc. into a country especially if you are there on business. (Once crossing into Canada we were asked, after declaring we were there for a TV interview for my book, if we were carrying books to sell.)

Another unusual occurance was as we entered Australia from Papua New Guinea. Any wooden souveniers had to be checked out to make sure they didn't contain any insects.

It's a good idea to check the country's customs regulations well ahead of your trip particularly if it is an exotic place like Dubai. To our dismay, we discovered recently that their regulations included a long list of banned medications--many that are over-the-counter drugs in most countries. Almost all cold or cough remedies and some of the bronchial meds for asthma are banned as well as anything with codiene. Lots and lots of prescribed meds are banned and you are limited to how much you can bring for personal use--30 to 90 days.

The suggestion is to bring meds in their original containers along with a copy of the prescription from your doctor.

They will also ask you to declare books, DVDs, CDs, and photographs. I'm guessing it's more for content that they do not want distributed.

This trip seems to get more complicated the closer it gets. But it was a good lesson to us to check with the customs regulations before going to another part of the world we have not experienced yet.

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