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One Week To Go...A Few Questions...

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Newcastle, Maine
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One Week To Go...A Few Questions...

Well folks, my trip is almost upon me, one week from today and I'm on my way to my great adventure in London!

Thanks to the internet and the wealth of information I have recieved on the various forums,(especially here on TA) I feel like I have done my homework well and I'm ready to go, a little butterflies in the tummy, but I like butterflies so it's okay...This is the first trip I have taken in 9 years and the first ever solo out of the country. Some people think I am nuts, but I think it's the only way to go! I'm so psyched!

These things are on my mind...

I am a smoker (yeah, I know) so I want to take my ciggies. I'd like to take a carton in my suitcase (the allowed 200) but what if I did take a pack or 3 extra in my carry on? Is it really a big deal, should I declare them or would you folks just pack them in there and not worry? I don't want any hassles, but what harm can a couple extra packs of smokes do? And what will it cost me to declare them?

How about picking up little souvenors while I am there? I can see myself buying things like books, T shirts, maybe a coffee mug or some jams..not much because I am on a strict budget, certainly nothing expensive or large or extravagant...Do I have to declare these items? Do most people?

I have a 6 day 6 zone Travelcard that came with my London Pass. I didn't order it but it came anyway. It's a paper card with a magnetic strip, it does say at the top that it isn't valid without a photo id and the number is blank, I assume because I need to get it validated and then they give me the ID #..My question is, what do I do with it? Should I just present it for validation as if I had ordered the thing ( I assume they sent it by mistake, but I think it's real) amd how do I tell if it's authentic? I guess it's possible that I or they made a mistake when I ordered the Pass, but I think it was their mistake and not mine, my credit card was charged the right amount. Advice, please.

and lastly (for now) I borrowed luggage from my sister. It's a huge suitcase with wheels and I know I can fill it, but what is the weight limit on American Airlines for your luggage? Where do I look for this info? I'm coming over for a week, should I look for a smaller bag? This one appears to be about 21in. x 30 in at least. Big. Lots of pockets.

Well that's all for now, but in the words of some one else..."I'll Be Back"

Thanks everyone, you're all terrific!

Suzie

Detroit, Michigan
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1. Re: One Week To Go...A Few Questions...

Regarding declaring your souvenirs... On the plane coming home, they will give you a Customs Declaration form that you have to fill out and present to the Immigration and Customs people when you land. There is a place on the form to declare your purchases. I generally just approximate the things I'm bringing back - like tea, books, clothing, cosmetics, chocolate and estimate approximately what they cost. I've never been asked for receipts. They are mostly concerned with food or plant items you might be bringing back.

Newcastle, Maine
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547 posts
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2. Re: One Week To Go...A Few Questions...

Thank you. So it's not a thing where you have to pay tax or something on your purchases? What about bringing the cigarettes in?

Seattle
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3. Re: One Week To Go...A Few Questions...

Suz: Check this website out for what you can and cannot bring back:

…ustreas.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/kbyg/

On the customs declaration, you only need to write the dollar amount of all the goods you're bringing back into the States. The duty-free limit is $800.

On the form where it says food and food products, I just neatly write in "cookies, candies, etc." to save them having to ask me. Usually they will look at my form and say, "You're only bringing in cookies and candy?" and I'l say yes.

AA luggage rules:

aa.com/content/…baggageAllowance.jhtml

Seattle
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4. Re: One Week To Go...A Few Questions...

Suzie: Forgot to answer the travelcard question. I would email or call the London Pass people and tell them what happened. It's possible they will say, "Oh, you're so honest, keep it and use it." They might not, but it's still worth doing that so you won't feel guilty.

Detroit, Michigan
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5. Re: One Week To Go...A Few Questions...

As long as you keep purchases under the allowable dollar amount, you don't have to pay duty on your purchases. I'm not positive what the limit is - it used to be $400 per person, but I think it's higher now (I never spend that much so haven't ever worried about it.) Can't help with the cigarette question - but I know they are very expensive in the UK (so bringing your own is a good idea.)

Nebraska
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6. Re: One Week To Go...A Few Questions...

Hi Suz. American Airlines states that for international travel your bag has a limit of 62inches (take a measurement of length + width + depth: example - a bag that is 32in x 20in x 10in will equal 62inches) and 50 lbs. Measure your sister's bag and make sure it fits the allowance, and then weigh the bag empty, then you will know how much in pounds you will be able to pack in it. Do a run through of packing and see how much the bag weighs, it will give you a good idea if you need to change bags or pack lighter. For bags that weigh between 51 and 70 lbs at checkin - you will be charged an extra $25.

UK
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7. Re: One Week To Go...A Few Questions...

I'm not a smoker, but I have noticed they sell them here!! Do you really think that being caught smuggling (even if you protect your innocence) just to save a few pounds, is a good way to start a holiday? Do you really want the hassle?

Ask American Airlines what the weight limit will be its usually on your ticket or with your eticket in the email, and its also on their web site.

What you can take back into the US is a US rule, not a UK one, we dont care how much you take away, check a US customs site for details.

Dunno about the travel card thing but I suspect it was a part of your London pass, maybe a special offer or similar that you just missed. BRing a passport photo or two with you just in case, though your passport or drivers licence hopefully will do. Just wait to see what happens when you use the card.

Lastly, dont fill your bag up coming here, because you'll be going back with more! Again FWIW I find it easier to manage two smaller suitcases than one large one, but each to their own. For one week though, you really shoulndnt need a lot of stuff, formal dress is not required on the underground or at tourist sights!!

London, United...
Destination Expert
for London
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3,822 posts
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8. Re: One Week To Go...A Few Questions...

With regards to the 7 day travelcard, you do not need a photocard. You used to but not anymore and it looks like they have never updated the paper travelcards. It is only with one month or longer travelcards that you require a photocard.

London, England
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9. Re: One Week To Go...A Few Questions...

ciggies here range from; a few pennies under £5.00 a packet of 20 say B&H in supermarkets, to £5.25 in general shops to £5.30 in petrol stations and off licences.

Stanley, Falkland...
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10. Re: One Week To Go...A Few Questions...

Suzie,

On one of your other questions ("just a run through") you say that you've never travelled before and don't know where to produce your passport at the airport and what the steps are when you land at your destination.

And yet, here you are, on your first foreign trip, suggesting that you smuggle in cigarettes! What are you thinking of? Is the cost of ciggies in the UK so great to warrant all the hassle if a customs officers pulls you over and searches your bag?

I can only assume that you are really smuggling serious drugs (why else would you need such a large bag for a one-week trip) and are just trying to check whether any searching is done at Heathrow. Please don't do this. Sniffer dogs are all over Heathrow. If you are genuine, just buy your cigarettes after you land. We need the currency.