Customs Tips for International Travelers on Five Continents

customs tips Oct 07, 2020

    For travelers, going abroad is a motivation to search and explore new cultures and destinations. When you plan your journey, you get excited with the idea of those new things but may also seek for familiar food, utilities and cosmetics to use. If you would like to take your delicious cheese or tasty wine to share with your foreign friends, you should be careful to have the specific amounts. While packing for a trip to last more than few weeks abroad, you may pick up all the drugs and pills you have. However, some countries have restrictions on the type of drugs to carry in baggage.

   You should be aware that every country has different amounts of duty-free limits on alcohol and tobacco. In our blog, you will find the tips on how to import or export goods during international trips to various zones.

Customs and Duty-Free Areas

In each country, customs officials collect tariffs, control the flow of goods including animals, personal items and hazardous elements as well as prohibited goods. They also check whether those imported/exported goods are within permitted amounts.

All authorized ports are recognized customs areas. In most of countries, you are subject to X-raying of your luggage, handbag and laptop at an international airport. For land travelers who prefer bus trips or driving personal cars, arrivals are controlled by the border security including customs officers. In Europe and North America, X-ray at borders is possible but in some Near East, Africa and several non-EU countries, customs authorities will check your bag and luggage by hand. It means you will take all the content out to confirm that you have no illegal items or do not exceed personal limits.

What if you would like to take home some electronics or high-profit goods? Don't neglect to check the customs rules in different parts of the world.

European Union

The basic customs law across Europe is standardized within the European Customs Union  established in 1968. According to the Treaty on the Functioning of EU, free circulation of goods is possible throughout the union. However, there are price limitations for tax-free import. Up to €22 there are no taxes whereas from €22 to €150, you are needed to pay VAT in differing percentages. In Germany for instance, it is 7-19%, in Italy 22% and in Czech Republic, it is 21%.

United States of America

Over the States, customs restrictions vary by the country of origin and the type of product. The duties range from no tax to 81%. In recent years, particularly Chinese products have been restricted on importation in value by US Border and Customs Protection (Date accessed: 02.05.2020).


Being one of the leading manufacturing and exporting origin, China has a large expansion of Customs Clearance Guide for international passengers (Date accessed: 02.05.2020). Air and land travellers are allowed to bring duty-free 1500 ml. of alcoholic drinks (with alcohol content of 12% or above) and 400 individual cigarettes or 500 grams of smoking tobacco.


Travelers to Russia should know that they can bring 3 liters of alcohol beverages and a reasonable amount of perfume. Alcohol is allowed to adults aged over 21. The tobacco and cigarette quantity is similar to the international standards, as seen in China. You can carry up to 5 kilos of animal and plant-based food products, excluding fresh vegetables and fruits.


As a newly trending destination for Turkish tourists, Qatar has some restrictions on imports. Alcohol, e-cigarette and pork are banned to import on international arrival. You can take your pet to the county if it is not a specific breed. Pabbler works under the regulations of customs law regarding the destination country. To validate, you can use the Customs Guide (Accessed date: 02.05.2020).