What to bring back

“A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.” – Moslih Eddin Saadi

Trolls originated in Norway
There are many things that you can bring back to the US, and many that you cannot. Those that are forbidden are generally from endangered species, potentially infective plant and animal materials, and controlled substances even if they are legal in the country you are visiting. Do some research on the US Customs and Boarder Control website before you go for lists of what you can and cannot bring home.

In most cases I try to buy local art, whether it be fabric, paintings, paper products, jewelry, or whatever. These generally don’t have to be declared, particularly if they are from a third world country. If I’ve spent a substantial amount on gifts, I try to pack them in my carry-on when I’m ready to come home. This means that if my checked bags are delayed, I get off the plane with the things that are important to me.

Taking photographs is a great way to bring back the essence of your trip. Be aware that in some cultures taking pictures is rude and even threatening. In Russia, taking pictures of children without parents’ permission can be seen as a precursor to abduction. If in doubt, ask or pass up the shot. Some museums and religious sites require a fee for you to take pictures. I always pay the fee; it’s nominal when weighed against memories of some of those spectacular places. When you have access to the internet, you may want to upload your pictures to a cloud site, such as Dropbox, to make sure you get home with your collection.

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