Customs Advice When Backpacking Through Europe
Backpacking through Europe is an amazing way to visit a variety of countries on a budget which is why so many people choose to travel to this continent and take in all that is offered pedestrian style. Before you set off, know that you can help ensure that your backpacking experience is phenomenal by being ready for Europe customs.
In some cases, you may not have to go through customs at all when traveling from one country to another, but you’ll certainly need to go through customs when you enter Europe and when you arrive back home. Getting through European customs can be a hassle if you’re not prepared for the situation or if you’re not honest with the customs agents. For this reason, SPS has created a list of tips for getting through customs in Europe as safely and quickly as possible.
1. Don’t pack anything stupid.
The fastest way to get in trouble in a foreign country (or at U.S. Customs, for that matter) is to try to bring something illegal into the country. This can include knives, guns, illicit drugs, or even fruit, vegetables, or animals. Countries have strict guidelines on what is allowed in and out, and if you try and sneak by, you run the risk of ending up in a foreign prison. Be aware of what’s allowed in and out of different countries, because substances and weapons that might be allowed in one place may be strictly taboo in another.
2. Don’t say anything stupid.
Perhaps even worse than trying to bring illegal materials into a country is lying about it. If you’re honest about what you have and where you’re going when questioned, you have a much, much lower chance of getting in trouble. If you simply didn’t know that a switch blade is legal in one country and not legal in another, probably the worst that will happen is that they’ll confiscate the item. If you lie about it, on the other hand, and are found out during a random search, you could face serious consequences that you just don’t want to think about.
3. Know where you’re going and what you’ll be doing.
The primary questions you’ll get asked at European customs are where you’ll be staying within the country, how long you’ll be there, and the purpose of your visit. You don’t need extensive answers to any of these questions, but it’s a good idea to be ready with your answers. Have the addresses of any hostels or hotel that you’ll be staying at ready to go to make this process swift and easy.
4. Be sure you have all the travel documents that you need.
First and foremost, keep your passport safe and sound. You want to keep it on your person at all times to avoid losing it or having it stolen. You’ll also want to bring a copy of your marriage certificate if you’re traveling with your spouse, copies of any international insurance policies you’ve taken out, and all of your necessary travel visas. Contact Swift Passport Services before your trip to make sure that you have everything you need to get in and out of all the countries in Europe that you’d like to visit on your backpacking excursion.
Wherever you go, remember to stay safe and use your common sense. And one more thing: enjoy your trip!