Your flight is booked, accommodations reserved and your passport is up-to-date. Besides packing and preparing your house for travel, what else do you need before your departure? One important piece of international travel that can fall to the wayside is doing research on local laws and customs. This has been highlighted with recent reports of American travelers being detained for unknowingly bringing banned substances into Mexico.
In these cases, travelers were stopped at customs, searched and arrested for bringing cold and sinus medications containing pseudoephedrine into Mexico, according to CBS Local in Chicago and KLS in Salt Lake City, Utah. Even after contacting the American Consulate, the recommended attorneys required costly fees to resolve the matter.
Not only are cold and sinus medications under scrutiny, but inhalers and some allergy medications as well, according to the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Mexico website. Travelers needing these medications are advised to carry a prescription or doctor’s letter; however, keep in mind it is still possible to be detained if the medication is considered a controlled substance. Consider bringing along medications that do not include pseudoephedrine or purchase over the counter medication when you arrive.
It’s important for travelers to research their destinations prior to travel thoroughly. Websites such as U.S. Passports & International Travel can provide travelers with beneficial information on alerts and warnings, travel document requirements, local laws and customs, emergency preparedness and consulate information. It is also recommended to register your trip with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which is a free service that provides travel alerts and warnings on specific destinations, as well as providing the U.S. Embassy your contact information in case of an emergency.