Have you ever felt apprehensive about entering a foreign country? If yes, welcome to the club. If no, then you are very lucky........so far.
A common cause for traveler anxiety is entry and exit through foreign ports of entry. Although most countries list their laws and regulations regarding entry and exit, many do not update their websites or they change regulations arbitrarily. This can end a wonderful trip before it even starts, as every country has the right to deny foreigners entry.
The number one cause for detention upon arrival or departure in a foreign country, outside of purposeful illegal activity, is.........medication. Many travelers do not realize that there are certain doctor prescribed medications that are illegal in some countries. Often opiates, psychotropics and pain killers are illegal and can result in confiscation, fines or at worse, jail time. Even the amount of pharmaceuticals the traveler is carrying can mean the difference between drug possession and narcotics trafficking, which is punishable by death in many countries.
Here are some solutions to this problem;
Unfortunately, there may not be a good answer for those that are dependent on medicine that is banned or illegal at their destination of travel. In that case, the traveler may have to reach out to the government of that destination to receive special permission, or determine to go elsewhere.
Most countries require visitors to carry a passport. On top of having a passport;
Every country has laws regarding how much cash you can take out of your home country and into your destination. Money laundering is a huge problem globally, but the issue for most travelers is unknowingly transporting too much cash. If caught, at a minimum the traveler is going to lose their cash and never get it back.
When in doubt, declare. Travelers are typically not going to get in trouble for declaring an item not on the list, but could be fined or detained for not declaring something. Travelers should respect the local government at their destination and not try to skirt a country's sovereign laws in order to save time. Declare, declare, declare.
It's important to understand that the destination a travelers visiting is also the home of that customs government official These officials are usually underpaid and have to put up with a lot from foreign (often ignorant) tourists. Travelers should put themselves in the shoes of a customs agent, treat them how they would want to be treated and take the time to research and follow the rules. A little respect goes a very long way.
Blessings and Safe Travels!