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If you’re not happy with the souvenir options from the airport, there’s always thinking outside the box. Just be sure to watch where you shop, because some stuff that’s cool abroad isn’t as cool once you arrive at US Customs and Border Patrol. Here’s a list of some of the best stuff you just have to leave behind. Oh, and skip the bootleg purse or watch—those are banned too.
A couple from Seattle learned this the hard way recently, as they were detained at the border over their chocolate contraband. Kinder Eggs—popular pretty much everywhere but the US—aren’t allowed to be brought into the nifty fifty. Basically the issue is that the little toys inside the chocolate eggs are a choking hazard, and the FDA isn’t too cool with them because food with non-nutritive objects in it is a big fat nope. So for now keep your candy separate from your toys, and you’ll be okay.
Wander through an overseas liquor store and you might come across the green fairy, but just be sure that you consume what you need aboard—the real good stuff isn't looked kindly upon in the United States. Even though most absinthe isn’t the stuff of literary legend, anything with just the word "absinthe" on the label is questionable. According to Uncle Sam it’s also against the law to import any absinthe beverage especially if the label shows artwork or pictures hinting at hallucinogenic or mind-altering effects—bummer.
Travel Bans / Travel News / LCCs / Checked Baggage Fees / Ryanair / Airline News / Music Travel / Live Music Travel / Airlines / Europe Travel / → All Tags
Ryanair, the most hated European budget airline, is known for advertising low fares and then hiking up the actual cost with fees for luggage, food, and priority boarding. Most Ryanair passengers know what to expect when traveling on the airline, but the company recently made some of their most faithful customers angry: musicians.
Many musicians, particularly those based in Ireland (Ryanair's home country), rely on the airline to get them to the continent when they're playing gigs or going on tour. However, new fees for musical instruments have made the cost of flying so expensive that musicians are struggling to afford it, and are even forced to turn down gigs.
Drug Travel / Amsterdam Travel / Holland Travel / Travel Bans / Tourists / Crimes / Travel News / Tourism / → All Tags
It's happening! That ban on selling marijuana to tourists and allowing them in Dutch pot cafesthe one Holland's been discussing since earlier this yearwill begin taking effect next year. And while "next year" seems like a far enough time away to not freak about this, may we remind you that next year is little more than a month-and-a-half away, and the ban hits January 1, 2012.
Don't go booking the first KLM direct to Amsterdam quite just yet, however. This first phase of the pot-for-tourists ban will only reach the southern parts of the countryLimburg, North-Brabant and Zeelandwhere drug tourism is more of a problem (the rest of Europe just comes across the border down there for a joint or two, you see). Maastricht has been trialling the program since October, actually. Regardless, officials promise to include Amsterdam and the rest of the country in the ban come January 2013.
Russell Brand pulled a fast one on his Canadian fans this weekend when he claimed he wouldn't make it to a gig in Ontario due to a problems at customs. Russell was set to perform at the Casino Rama in Orillia on Saturday night but tweeted that he was going to be late because of a customs issue.
@rustyrockets HELP! I'm gonna be late for Casino Rama show unless someone can force Canadian customs officials to let us land in Orillia!
Does anyone even remember a time when passenger were allowed to bring such threatening items as scissors and full water bottles through airport security? We've had perfectly good bottles of bug spray and shaving cream thrown out for being .5 oz over the 3oz rule, and once witnessed a foreign traveler having his giant jug of very expensive pure maple syrup confiscated at Vermont's Burlington Airport. It's no fun, for sure, and a couple airports have stepped up to at least offer an alternative to the trash can: shipping your banned items home.
Singapore's Changi International pioneered the service, whereby travelers holding more than the allowances or with forgotten box cutters in their bags can now just ship it right from the airport to their home.
Following Changi's lead is Beijing International Airport, where Shanghaiist reports Beijing Capital International Airport Terminal 2 is charging 20 RMB for items weighing less than 3kg shipped to Beijing addresses, and 100 RMB ($15.50) to be shipped anywhere else. Not too shabby at all! Everyone is getting Chinese ginseng and swords at Christmas this year!
[Photo: nemo's great uncle]
Traveling With Children / Baby Travel / Malaysia Airlines / A380 / Travel Bans / Malaysia Travel / First Class Travel / → All Tags
Forget strangers who nap on your shoulder, clip their toenails in the aisle or talk to you straight through the flight; the universal worst seatmate a flyer could (not) hope for is a crying baby in their ear. Don't get us wrong as we love babies, just not when we've paid good money to get to where we're going in one piece and in peace.
As you can imagine, the frustrations are magnified when noisy babies are brought into the higher priced Business and First Class cabins. Oftentimes travelers choose to pay the premium cost for the premium benefit of sitting in a quieter cabin, in more spacious seats, and maybe getting sleep to adjust to time zones or prepare for a stressful day. And then a baby cries and what's the point anymore?
Heath Travel / Travel Bans / American Airlines / Europe Travel / In-Flight Meals / Airline Food / → All Tags
Flying to Europe this upcoming week and weekend? Don't expect to munch on a nice little salad as part of your in-flight meal on American Airlines. AA has removed salads from the in-flight menu due to rising E.coli outbreak fears in Europe, specifically regarding vegetables. The removal includes whole salads, plus lettuce and tomato as garnishes.
Usually we absolutely rail against any skimping on airline meals (especially on long-haul routes), but this is one thing we're totally okay with. The last place you want to feel any kind of sickness, or get any kind of sickness, is trapped for eight hours on an airplane. We'll gladly sacrifice a salad for safety in that case.
Plus, they are planning to serve substitutes, saying: ""We are replacing the salad menu items with other menu options to pre-empt any risk and alleviate concerns." Regardless, this is not the best time to be flying and a Vegetarian.
[Photo: Andy Miles for Jaunted]
It’s been some time since Arizona decided that they were going to change some of their rules and regulations dealing with immigration, and that led many travelers to pledge that they would skip over the state until things changed. We don’t have any cold hard facts or figures regarding a decline in Grand Canyon tourism or other Arizona hotspots, but negative attention usually isn’t a good thing.
Florida seems to be the next state looking to cause a little trouble, and as a result, it might just be the next state that some travelers will be boycotting. The state legislature recently passed a new bill that would—in their words—require “a reasonable effort” to figure out the immigration status of all those that are lucky enough to meet up with members of law enforcement. We’re not experts on stuff like this, but we do know that things are a little less intense than the policies and procedures over in Arizona.
If you thought for a moment that the killing of terrorist Osama bin Laden maybe would mean you'd be able to bring your toothpaste/shampoo/jar of souvenir maple syrup back onboard airplanes with you, then think again. There's news that not only is the liquids ban not going anywhere anytime soon in the United States, but the European Union and the United Kingdom, who've been seriously playing with the idea of ditching the ban at Europe airports, has just reneged on all that talk. The ban on carrying on liquids in bottles over 3oz/100ml remains.
It was at this time last year that the EU and UK first officially began complaining about it and voicing their desires to get rid the ban. They hoped, this year, to allow passengers flying from non-EU nations to an EU state, or who are in transit, to carry duty-free goods containing liquids. That would at least be a partial lowering of the ban, but alas it stands.
You know, ever since President Barack Obama entered office, we've been doing stories on the ever-so-gradual opening of Cuba, including everything from Orbitz's "Open Cuba" campaign to WestJet's direct flights from Canada. And now we are yet another step closer to drinking many a Cuba Libre as Obama has made several changes, all which go into effect in about two weeks and do not require congressional approval.
Here's what's going down:
Travel Bans / Drug Travel / Amsterdam Travel / Netherlands Travel / Travel News / Marijuana / → All Tags
A note to all those travelers (and gap year kids) who are hoping to spend the holidays and the turn to next year blazin' with legal marijuana in Amsterdam; your time for fun may be limited at the Dutch government looks to crack down on the sale of pot to tourists. It's all part of an effort to curb crime, reports Reuters, and also because the Netherlands just isnt' fond of their reputation as a hotspot for drug tourism and all the seediness that creates.
"The heart of the problem is crime and disturbances surrounding the sale. We have to go back to what it was meant for: local use for those who would like it," says Ivo Opstelten, the Minister of Public Safety and Justice.
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Uh oh, it looks like other countries are finally getting sick and tired of letting US actresses do with them what they will. Japan recently kicked out Paris Hilton due to her pending drug charges back in the States, and now Angelina Jolie has been denied entrance to Bosnia...but because of a matter far more delicate than drug charges.
Where is Angelina Jolie now? She's filming that movie already, just in Budapest, Hungary. It's the film that's got Bosnia worried, as it's about a "Bosnian muslim woman who falls for the Serbian soldier who rapes her during the bitter Balkans war." Women's groups, Muslim groups and war victims groups are all outraged that someone would want to film this in their country while the people who experienced the trauma are still very much around. Plus, to have A-lister Jolie throwing her weight behind such a project? Yea, Bosnia is mad. The Daily Mail even quoted a Bosnian official as saying, "With one film, Angelina Jolie is in danger of restarting the war all over again all by herself."