Oh, the joys of packing for your holiday… Making sure your luggage weighs no more and no less than the exact limit dictated by the low-cost, high-stress airline you’re flying with, going to extraordinary lengths to ensure that any liquids, creams or gels comprise less than 100ml per piece and are safely enclosed in a zip-locked plastic pouch, removing potentially lethal objects from your hand luggage including tweezers, scissors and sharp pencils… the list goes on.
But here’s something else to add into the mix when you’re packing your luggage for your next adventure. Don’t even think about smuggling toys inside chocolate if you’re venturing to the US. Those travelling to New Zealand should leave their precious guitars at home, and if you’re flying into Malaysia don’t buy any new clothes before you touch down.
Confused? Yes, so are we. Let’s have a look at some other items you’ll need to consider unpacking if you want to be accepted into the country of your destination.
Top Ten: World’s Strangest Banned Items
1. Marmite and Vegemite
Think again if you want to bring a little piece of home with you when travelling to Denmark. Britain and Australia’s beloved yeast-extract spreads were banned in Denmark on the basis that the products contain ‘enhanced vitamins’. Shock Horror!
There’s no outright ban on bringing musical instruments into New Zealand but you’ll have to be prepared to take your precious music-maker back with you when you leave the country, as customs will not allow musical instruments to be left behind under any circumstances. You’ve been told!
3. Cups and Saucers
Although you certainly won’t be arrested for carrying ceramic tableware into the United States, you do have to act with a little caution. American custom officials urge their citizens to test ceramics purchased in Mexico, China, Hong Kong and India for traces and levels of lead.
4. Chewing Gum
Leave your sticks of gum back home if you’re travelling to Singapore. The nationwide ban on chewing gum is far from an urban myth and there will be consequences if you’re caught harbouring or chomping on the minty stuff. You have been warned!
5. Mosquito Nets
You might have to risk getting bitten to pieces by mosquitos if you’re planning on visiting Nigeria. The authorities have banned travellers from bring mosquito nets into the country alongside mineral water, fruit and jewellery. Looks like you’ll have to make do with insect repellent… just make sure it’s under 100ml!
6. New Clothes
Make sure you’ve worn all your clothes at least once before packing for your trip to Malaysia. Turning up with more than three articles of new clothing on arrival is subject to duties and could leave you feeling a bit like a criminal. Not a good start to your visit.
7. Aubergines and Red Peppers
Import prohibitions on produce are a wise and, frankly, necessary measure in the prevention of disease. Quite what diseases Chinese custom officials think they’re preventing by banning aubergines and red peppers remains to be seen. But hey, you’re perfectly within your right to import guns and ammunition into the country.
8. Cordless Telephones
Indonesian authorities have long since banned live animals and produce from entering the country but it seems that the innocent-looking cordless phones are the latest objects to come under fire. If you can’t live without your cordless telephone when you’re visiting Indonesia then you’ll need an approved license if you’ve any hope of getting one into the country.
9. Kinder Surprise Eggs
Kinder Surprise eggs are banned in the States due to the ‘non-nutritive object’ imbedded within the shell of the chocolate treat that pose a potential safety hazard to children below the age of three. American kids need to fly over to Canada if they want to experience the joy of the world’s favourite chocolate surprise.
Heading to Cuba? Don’t even think about packing fresh animal products like milk into the country or your beloved toaster for that matter. Breakfast may well be a bland affair without a cup of strong milky tea and crunchy toast laden with butter and jam. Shame.