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How to Get Through Customs as Fast as Possible

In Travel by Continental StaffLeave a Comment

Airports are always the most stressful part of every vacation – the hassle of carrying your bags and finding where you need to go before check-in, wondering if you’ll get through security fast enough to find your gate in time, and waiting idly through hours of layovers and travel time is exhausting. And finally, when you land at your destination, so close you can taste your relaxing holiday, you still have to get through customs…which always seems to take forever! So, we’ve put together a list of tips to help you escape airport-hell a little faster. Keep reading to learn how you can get through customs as fast as possible! 

Pick your Seat Strategically

First of all, make sure to pick your seat (usually 24 hours before your flight). You can do this online. If you don’t, you have no choice in the matter. Secondly, pick your seat with strategy in mind. Select an aisle seat near the front of the plane – that way, you’ll be one of the first ones off the plane, and therefore, one of the first ones through customs. Travelling lightly is always a good idea too, that way you don’t waste time gathering your belongings instead of racing to customs.

airport man aisle seat woman window

Use a Foreign Passport (if you have one)

If you have dual citizenship, it’s worth it to get both passports. At customs, you’ll be able to adapt to the preference of border staff and therefore get through faster.

Get the NEXUS Border Card

The NEXUS border card basically informs customs that you’re a trusted traveller. So, it makes crossing the U.S.-Canada border a breeze! There is an application, approval process and a fee. However, for frequent travellers, it’s well worth it. Find out more information here.

Be Organized (arriving)

Know exactly where you’re staying. Have the address saved or memorized so you can answer that question easily. Check the baggage requirements with your airline. If you have a layover in a different country and need to retrieve your checked baggage, you may find that weight limits or bag restrictions are different than the first airline.

travel bag packed suit organized suitcase

Be Organized (leaving)

Track your spending and keep all of your receipts. Make a list and declare everything! Keeping receipts in an envelope and creating an organized list shows that you’re aware of the rules, are being honest, and transparent. Plus, you won’t waste time trying to remember everything or be questioned if you forgot about something and they found it.  Try to pack everything you purchased at the top of your bag for easy display.

Don’t Bring Food

Just don’t do it.  Many countries restrict imports of fresh food like veggies, fruits, and meat – so eat everything before you get to the airport.

happy travelers old couple suitcase airport walking

You’re good to go! Of course, unexpected emergencies can happen – so make sure you’re adaptable.

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