Tips for a Lower-Stress Travel Experience This Summer
One of the busiest travel seasons has arrived, with travelers preparing to take trips that will have them transiting through airports both domestically and internationally, as well as crossing various international borders and possibly interacting with different customs officials. Both U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) share tips to help make those encounters go more smoothly and quickly.
Last year, in the U.S. alone, CBP processed more than 114 million international travelers and the TSA screened over 2.7 million travelers on peak days. CBP officers are ramping up to handle the increased traffic expected over the summer months, and the TSA is expecting to screen 10 million more passengers during the summer months than last year.
While CBP concentrates its efforts on the travel into the U.S., the tips they share along with travel tips from the TSA will be viable and useful in any destination and upon returning back to the U.S. after travel abroad. Below are helpful travel tips to lessen stress this summer:
- Have your travel documents ready and in order when approaching a CBP Officer. Be sure to make two copies of all of your travel documents in case of emergency, leaving one at home with a trusted family member or friend.
- List of Medications
- Consent for Traveling with Minors
- International Driving Permit
- Declare goods purchased and gifted as well as food items – truthfully!
- List items purchased abroad with value listed. Purchased goods valued over $800 will be subject to duty at the time of importation into the U.S. Imported goods valued over $2,500 will likely require a formal entry with customs, engaging the services of a customs broker for the transaction.
- Declare gifts given to you.
- Avoid taking or bringing any fresh fruits and/or vegetables on your journey out of the country – don't pack a pest or bring one back!
- If traveling across the border to Canada or Mexico, apply for an I-94 and speed up your entry back into the U.S.
- Monitor border wait times using the official Border Wait Time app.
- Use Ready Lanes, which can speed up your trip by 20 percent.
- Declare your medication, pets and cash (if over $10,000).
- Medicines over 3.4 ounces must be declared at the TSA checkpoint and could be subject to additional screening.
- It is recommended that medications be put in your carry-on in case you and your checked bag are separated for any length of time.
- Refresh your memory on the liquid rules if traveling by air – remember the TSA's 3-1-1 security rule for your carry-on bag.
- Review the TSA prohibited list of items never allowed through security or on a commercial aircraft.
- Don't forget important items after maneuvering through the TSA checkpoint – belt, ID, keys, eye wear and spare change, to name a few. Fun fact: in fiscal year 2018, travelers left in excess of $960,000 in loose change at various U.S. airport security checkpoints.
- Consider participating in the Trusted Traveler Program, a five-year membership with CBP that provides expedited CBP and TSA processing (TSA PreCheck).
Wherever you're headed this summer, enjoy safe travels and we'll see you when you return.
If you have additional questions about traveling or transportation, please contact us or reach out to your Ascent Global Logistics representative directly.