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Use bathroom before you get off plane. When leaving plane and heading into airport remember that custom lines can be quite long, and if you get stuck, well you know. When taking bus trips down forget to do same, it may look like a short trip on map, but it can take a long time to reach depending on traffic or weather conditions.
Do not pack restricted items or carry them. This will slow you down in customs and may result in a fine or worse. Small sharp items like scissors or razors may be fine in your checked luggage but do not carry them in your purse or coat. Many airports restrict lighters so you may wish to leave your expensive lighter at home and carry a disposable one in case you are asked to leave it at customs office.
If you have embarrassing items you must pack, you may want to put them into some sort of bag. This helps prevent embarrassment in case you suitcase should open accidentally, or when customs looks through your suitcase or bag.
Get your shots. Contact your local health center or doctor well ahead of your trip to arrange to get proper shots for country or countries you are visiting. Plan ahead and be safe. A simple shot could save your life or at least prepare your body for all those nasty little bugs.
If you pack strange things in your suitcase put them on top so that airport workers or customs have easy access to checking them. I had a friend with a dense metal and wood sculpture at bottom of a 50 pound bag filled with other items, this added about 20 minutes to his wait to leave airport. When in doubt just ask or phone airport ahead of time.
Enjoy your travel, but remember that planning ahead is more important than finding cheap plane tickets.
The author has spent years traveling through Asia and the South Pacific Rim.
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