Independent traveler

Love to travel, but hate tours? This blog offers insight on how to go it alone, from safe accommodations to seeing the best, and maybe the worst. After all, independent travel is an adventure. Flexibility and traveling on a budget are critical. No five-stars or all-inclusives. So hop aboard. Learn to enjoy travel at your own pace and price. Meet other adventurers like yourself and mingle with the locals. Remember: You may travel alone, but you wonʼt be lonely.

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How to get a good seat on your next flight. - 6/24/2012 9:26 am

All border crossings are not created equal...

I sure wish that U.S. Customs and Border protection could get it together and be consistent across the board. I remember when entering at Anchorage International in the 80s when the agents were so rude and ruthless that they treated every American like a criminal and it took over an hour to clear customs, but not today. At sometime, they started to be reasonable and logical. They must have decided that not everyone was trying to bring something into the states illegally.

However, recently I heard a story firsthand about people crossing the border by vehicle from Canada into the U.S. near Hope, B.C. after driving the Alaska Highway. The driver was interrogated for possessing a pound of commercially produced ground buffalo/bison meat.

Here's how it went:

Customs agent: "Do you possess any vegetables or meat?"

American: "Yes I have one pound of ground buffalo."

Customs agent: "Show me your hunting license to kill buffalo/bison?"

American: "I didn't kill the bison. I bought a pound of ground meat in Anchorage."

Customs agent: "You are not allowed to export bison to the U.S."

American: "I bought it in the U.S in Anchorage. I'm not exporting it."

Customs agent: "It doesn't matter."

American: "I'll show it to you. It is still in the plastic tube with the price and store name."

Customs agent: "I don't want it. I'm keeping your passport and you go over to the agricultural station."

American: "But..."

Customs agent: "Go now."

Two hours later after showing agents the one pound of bison meat, searching the vehicle including looking under the hood and a thorough search of the engine plus pulling everything out of the American's camping trailer, the American was allowed to cross back into the United States. (Of course, only after the American put everything back into place.)

Come on Customs why don't you concentrate on the bad guys and leave law abiding American citizens alone. What happened to common sense? It just goes to show, when you put little people into powerful positions there is abuse. How sad!

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