I came across a Budget Travel article yesterday that I found interesting but not completely true. The article, You’ll Never Get These 10 Items Through Customs features some items that I have brought home in the past from international trips.
The articles claim that some items that you’d like to bring back as a souvenir should be passed up. Some are for health reasons, while others are for economic and cultural reasons.
Here is the list:
- Certain plants (and crafts made from plants)
- Ivory (including jewelery)
- Ancient artifacts
- Meat-based products (even soup mix)
- Big souvenirs from Cuba, Iraq and most of Sudan
- Most fruits and vegetables
- Designer knock-offs and cartoon charactetr paraphernalia
- More than $10,000 cash
- Some Haitian Goat Hide Drums
So what have I brought back from this no-no list?
- On a trip to Eastern Europe a few years back I bought a small bottle of Absinthe back as a souvenir, never planning to drink it. Absinthe can be made from a variety of different ingredients and I’m not sure what this variety was made from since I gave it to a friend that collected liquors a couple of years later. I placed the absinthe in my checked luggage and don’t know if my bag was checked but it got home safely.
- While in Panama, Kim and I visited two of the native tribes. One of them, the Embera made various crafts made from plants. I collect masks and they had one for sale which caught my eye. The mask is a monkey face and is made from dried grass and possibly other plants. On the way home I had the mask in my backpack and was never asked about it. I had no problem clearing customs with it upon return to NYC.
- During our visit to Budapest we stopped by the Great Market Hall. We were offered lots of samples including some meats and sausages. After tasting a few I decided to buy a piece of dried meat to bring home. I packed it in my checked luggage and wondered if it would be taken out. When I got home I was happy to see that it made the trip back safely. In the end I never got to eat it. After forgetting about it for a while, by the time I opened it up, it had turned way too hard to eat.
Has anyone else ever brought home items from this list with or without a problem? If so, please share in the comments below.
Check out the full Budget Travel article which gives info about each item from the list HERE.