Weird and wonderful customs regulations from around the world
With all the time we've spent travelling across the world, fighting our way through passport control and waiting to get through immigration and customs, we've been confronted by all kinds of bizarre rules and regulations. Not to mention stories we've heard from our clients.
From Kinder Surprises to Holy Water. Here are some of the strangest restrictions we've come across on what can and cannot pass through international borders.
Over the years, Nigeria has banned all kinds of things as a way to boost its manufacturing industry. The extensive list has included items such as chocolates, toothpicks, toothpaste, soft drinks, mineral water, spaghetti, wheelbarrows (our go-to carry on item) and our favourite – the ballpoint pen INCLUDING REFILLS.
Whether you believe it will protect you from evil, grant your prayers or just consider it a spiritual manifestation of God, there are strict rules around taking Holy Water into Fiji. You can take no more than one pint into the country, which must be hermetically sealed from the country of origin. The Holy water must also be certified as sterile and free from cholera, typhoid and paratyphoid germs.
These rules make sense to us. However, on the flip side, Fiji has attracted global interest for its' miracle waters' where people from all over the world visit remote springs which are said to have magical healing properties. Thousands of people come with empty water bottles in hand to collect this 'miracle water' to take back to their sick loved ones.
Funnily enough untreated miracle water from Fiji is strictly prohibited due to potential contaminants in the water. Travellers risk a $400 fine which is a far cry from miraculous.
Now we come to our absolute favourite prohibited item, or should we say character - Winnie the Pooh. Yep, you heard us right the cuddly, plump honey-loving fella is banned in China after images appeared online comparing Winnie to the Chinese President.
The United States
Welcome to the USA. The land of the free and the home of the brave. Where everyone has the right to bear arms – but Kinder Surprises are strictly forbidden!
Around 60,000 kinder eggs are confiscated every year at the US Border with kinder runners facing a fine of up to $2,500 per illegal egg. A surprise, indeed.
But don't worry, if you really can't wait and need a kinder egg fix while you're in the US, you can now get your hands on a 'Kinder Joy'. They are considered a safer alternative and a lot cheaper than a $2,500 fine.
After cigarette butts, chewing gum is the world's second most common form of litter and don't we know it. It's everywhere! There's rarely a paving stone down the high-street that's gum-free. But there's one place in the world where you're unlikely to encounter gum everywhere - Singapore. They've banned chewing gum in public since 1992. So, unless you have a prescription from your doctor or dentist, we would advise leaving your gum at home and purchasing a pack of your favourite mints instead.
If you suffer from hay fever, sinus problems or any other allergies, then you might want to think twice before you pack for Japan.
Common meds that you can purchase over the counter in other countries like Sudafed or Vicks inhalers are a big no-no in Japan. The reason for this is because they contain ingredients like pseudoephedrine (which is commonly found in cold and allergy meds) which can be converted into drugs.
Japan takes drug enforcement very seriously and banning common meds like Sudafed is the tip of the iceberg.
Barbados and Seychelles
From life on tour, we are well aware that some of you live and die in your camo cargo shorts. For those of you nodding along, listen up. Any bags, clothing or articles made from camouflage material are strictly forbidden in Barbados and Seychelles.
The reasoning for this is so civilians can't be confused with members of the military, and so that civilians can't impersonate military personnel for criminal purposes.
So, if you want to steer clear of the fashion police, it's probably best you leave your camouflage clothing at home.
Dangerous items like firearms, drugs, flick and lockable blade knives and… honey.
We're all about making love, not war. I mean, who doesn't love an aphrodisiac?! Well, it would appear that Malawi isn’t a fan, since aphrodisiacs have been marked as prohibited in official statements.
It's a bit of a grey area as Malawi is a bit vague on exactly which aphrodisiacs you can and can't take in. So maybe err on the side of caution when your packing and leave your Barry White CD, Viper Blood and Oysters at home.