Dealing with customs: 5 tips on getting through border control quickly

customs man

We all know everyone loves a holiday. And why shouldn’t they? It’s the perfect excuse to escape from the madness and hassles of everyday life, with the opportunity to soak in the sun, explore regions unknown, and take on adrenaline pumping activities. What’s not to love?

However, custom control isn’t a fond place of many. You know, the awful part of going on holiday – where you have to wait in line like children being served their school dinners. Okay, so we understand why it’s so important, but most people want to be out the other side, enjoying a quick beer or a walk around the shops before the flight.

With over 100,000 planes taking off every day, it’s little wonder the customs control always seems so busy. But let’s take a look at how you can cut the drag and get out sharpish.

Check in online

Yes, this isn’t technically the customs control, but it’s worth a mention. Why wait around in long queues at the check-in, when you could buzz your printed ticket and be gone in just five minutes? It’s less stress, less hassle, and a great way to kick your holiday off on the right note.

Label your medication

If you’re ill, or have a medical condition of any nature, the chances are you’ll need to take medication with you – whether it’s prescribed or otherwise. The thing is, customs control aren’t medical experts – they can’t know exactly what you’re bringing along – and whether it’s for the purpose you’re saying.

The solution? Leave all medication in its original packaging and ensure it’s well labelled. You should also have a doctor’s certificate stating what the medication is. Think about contacting the airport before travelling too – so they know to expect both you and your meds.

Book flights during the day

aircraft takeoff

Unless you’re a bit of a flight veteran, or married to an air hostess, you probably didn’t know most flights happen in the morning, or the evening. This means the airports are typically a lot quieter during the day – 10am to 4pm or so.

How do you play this to your advantage? Book your flight at these times. You’ll almost have the whole customs to yourself, without the unwanted queues and herding of people.

Put belongings in your carry-on bag

carry on luggage

Ever been the guy at the front of the queue, pulling belongings left, right and centre from all your pockets? If you don’t want to be holding up the line, be prepared and stow everything in your carry-on bag before going through customs. This includes your ID, phone, boarding ticket, keys, watch etc. The more organised you are, the quicker you’ll be. This is also one of the Independent Traveler’s top tips on getting through the airport unscathed, so worth paying attention to.

Pick your line wisely

In the rush and excitement of getting closer to the plane, many people will jump straight to the first custom line they see. But there’s a trick here if you want to save a bit of time – avoid the families. That’s right, assess the lines and choose one with as many single travellers as possible. Families tend to take longer getting through – especially if kids are involved – so take are advice and join the singletons.

And there you have it – five great ways to speed your journey through the dreaded customs! You’ll be out in no time and stepping onto the tarmac to catch your flight.

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