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What Not to Buy on or Bring Home from Vacation

What Not to Buy on Vacation

Customs officers confiscate thousands of goods every year from unaware travellers. While some items are plainly suspicious and illegal, most seized goods are just undeclared souvenirs. To prevent trouble at the border, consider leaving behind the following on your next trip.

Local Currency

Unless you collect foreign coins, taking currency from another country makes little sense. First, you will need to convert it back into your domestic currency. Assuming you initially exchanged your money, this means you get double-charged with conversion fees. Second, customs will not allow you to pass through with enough currency to constitute a sound investment plan.

Temporary Supplies

To save suitcase space, many travellers buy dispensable goods (i.e. toiletries) on vacation. While you might not get full use out of these products, just toss them before going home.

Alien Germs

When visiting countries with drastically different ecosystems and living conditions, you risk illness. Because your system is not familiar with the germs, it cannot fight them effectively. This is how outbreaks happen: a traveller returns home and infects other non-immune people.

Illegal Products

Carrying illicit substances, weapons or stolen goods across the border will get you detained. Similarly, smuggling cultural artifacts—even if unintentional—can have serious consequences. Many countries have import restrictions on art and antiques to protect foreign cultural property.

Plants and Wildlife

Animals not native to your country should never come home. First, they are not domesticated and can pose a serious danger to your wellbeing. Second, they will be disruptive to the local ecosystem—especially predator species. Although less of a physical threat, plants and agricultural products can also injure ecosystems.