International Border Practices That Shouldn’t Offend You

Americans often experience culture shock when they travel abroad for the first time. They may be unfamiliar with the protocols and procedures of other countries and can get easily offended. It is important to remain open-minded and not take offense when encountering unfamiliar customs.

Ordered to take your shoes off

For international travelers entering the USA, the request to remove their shoes for a security scan can be quite confusing. This is a practice that is uncommon in many other countries but is enforced in the USA. As such, it is important for travelers to be aware of this requirement before they arrive and to come prepared.

Going through metal detectors

Do not be surprised if you find yourself walking through metal detectors every now and then. That’s just part of the protocol to ensure that you are not carrying something you should not be. Be open-minded and cooperate with the authorities for a smooth journey. You surely do not want to be a part of a verbal tiff. Do you, now?

Getting delayed

Don’t worry – if for any reason you’re delayed by the airport officials, wherever it is you’re transitioning through, they will be liable for the costs of the delay. In other words, they will cover the costs of the extra charges you might have otherwise incurred; so all you can do is cooperate with the process that’s causing the delay so that it can be resolved as quickly as possible.

Random searches

Trust me, every single traveler who is subjected to a random search will find it discriminatory. Yes, in some instances the officials do implement some discriminatory practices, but if you have nothing to worry about, just play along so that the process is not slowed down in any way. Some of the best traveler stories start with being pulled aside for a random search.

Asked to produce documentation

This is a common practice and is practiced to fight terrorism. This doesn’t mean that you’re on some list of suspected terrorists when you’re asked to produce documentation proving your identity.

Being pulled aside for a health assessment

The reason why regional epidemics such as the likes of Ebola never made it to countries like South Africa is that airports have some health checking infrastructure in place, such as a body temperature scanner. So, if you’re pulled aside for a quick health assessment, think of it as a measure to safeguard the country from diseases.

Being pulled into customs clearance for questioning

This is one border practice a lot of first-time American travelers get shocked by. It is nothing serious – it’s just a matter of the customs officials doing their job of following up on some information about your travel. For example, they might ask you what the purpose of your visit is, This is to make sure you’re a legitimate tourist and don’t perhaps intend to work while you’re supposed to be touring, which may put the jobs of citizens of the country at stake.