Bringing home gifts from Europe vacation is one of a number of topics not normally discussed leading up to a Christmas Markets sailing. With strict luggage requirements, it is not as easy as bringing an extra suitcase which could incur a $100 or more fee on return. The point is to be thinking of such issues beforehand, rather than being surprised later.
One of the wonderful parts of a Viking River Cruise is that no formal wear is needed. In addition to being a comfortable way to travel, that saves luggage space and weight that can be used for things we might pick up along the way.
Keeping in mind that airlines normally weigh checked luggage, not carry-on luggage can be helpful too. Packing heavy gifts that can be carried on to the flight saves weight in checked luggage. Items in checked luggage wrapped with clothing and positioned in the center stand a far better chance of making it back home. We have done this with bottles of wine and never lost one.
“Gifts you bring back for your personal use must be declared, but you may include them in your personal exemption. This includes gifts people gave you while you were out of the country, such as wedding or birthday presents, and gifts you have brought back for others,” says the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on their web site, something many travelers do not consider.
Still, after traveling internationally more times than I can remember, we have never had to pay a duty fee on return and have always declared everything we bought. Bringing home Christmas Markets presents should not be a problem either.
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