One of the best parts of traveling internationally is the immigrations and customs interrogation. After years of traveling, talking to the officers still gives me such a rush – like a crazy game of Russian Roulette, even though I know I will survive. It’s probably due to too many “Locked Up Abroad” marathons, but I always get a nervous feeling in our stomach whenever I talk to the officers. Obviously I didn’t smuggle anything illegal, but what if that little statue we bought in the market has hash inside it? I definitely don’t want to end up like Piper Chapman!
Through my travels, I’ve learned there are three easy things to do to make the immigrations and customs process easier. These little steps are pretty obvious, but you would be surprised how many people get so cranky and rude after a 14 hour flight and 1 hour long customs line. No reason to take it out on someone doing their job! When going through, just remember the manners your mama taught you. She was on to something.
1. SMILE: These officers have been dealing with lots of unfavorable personalities and people who don’t speak the language. You’d be surprised how far a smile will go.
2. TRY TO MAKE A JOKE: This is my go to in any new situation. It doesn’t have to be a ROTFL joke, but something simple to break up the monotony of the conversation. These officers are tough so it’s fun to crack their exterior. I always joke about shopping when they ask about our purchases.
3. SAY THANK YOU: After you are finished, make sure to say “Thank you – have a great day”.
It’s not rocket science here, but some simple manners will make all the difference. However, if you are breaking the law, just remember…orange is the new black, but it doesn’t look good on anybody.