Countries discouraged to visit

By: Kathy Steinemann

Remember that individual airlines may have slightly different regulations, and the restrictions on domestic and foreign flights may vary. The new rules in the USA may not be followed by other countries. You will have to carry out some advance research - and to avoid surprises, err on the side of caution.

An updated list of prohibited items in carry-on luggage includes liquids, gels, and pastes, including:

 - Toothpaste and mouthwash

 - Shampoo, hair conditioner, styling gel

 - Liquid makeup (that includes mascara, ladies)

 - Hand creams or lotions

 - Salves and ointments

 - Perfume, cologne, after-shave lotion

 - Liquid medications

 - Large gel caps (such as Vitamin E)

 - Yogurt, applesauce, pudding snacks

 - Bottled water

 - Soda, juice, sports drinks and other beverages

 - Lip gloss

 - Liquid hand sanitizer

 - Hair gel

 - Sun tan lotion

Add to the above list any type of product that could be mixed with something else to form a new substance. Find alternatives, or take them out of your carry-on bag and pack them in your checked suitcases.

Some airports in certain countries may request that passengers sample liquids before they are permitted to pass through security.

Electronic items that could be used to trigger an explosion *may* also be banned:

 - Cell phones

 - iPods

 - MP3 players

 - Laptop computers

 - PDAs

 - Blackberrys

 - Other similar devices

Items necessary to care for young children (such as baby formula) *may* still be permitted. To avoid last-minute complications, investigate purchasing powdered formula instead. Ask flight attendants to provide you with boiled water for mixing it. (Here is where breast-feeding moms have a clear advantage!) Although there are tablets available for sanitizing water, they may not be suitable for children. Thoroughly check labels and directions before purchasing.

Prescription medications and insulin are permitted. However, make sure that you carry a current copy of your prescription with you. The name on the prescription MUST match your travel documents. If possible, switch liquid medication for a tablet form if available.

Pepto-Bismol and other products have non-liquid versions. 'Pocket-pack' strips can be substituted for mouthwash. Liquid hand sanitizer should be exchanged for pre-moistened packaged towelettes.

Snacks can still be healthy. Instead of yogurt, include an apple or orange. Consider carrying packages of raisins, breakfast bars, granola bars, and other similar products instead of pudding and applesauce snacks.

Airlines are requesting that passengers check in to the airport at least 2 hours before scheduled flight time. Some are even asking for a 3-hour window. Telephone ahead to determine if your flight is on schedule.

It is uncertain at this point whether or not these restrictions will become permanent. Development of new sophisticated scanning technology could allow a return to more normal travel at some point in the future.

Try government transport websites for more detailed information:

 - United States: tsa.gov

 - Great Britain: dft.gov.uk

 - Canada: tc.gc.ca

For other countries, try internet searches such as:

transport department Germany aviation security

Public transportation systems such as subway, rail, and mass transit facilities have introduced more stringent regulations as well.

Be alert - but don't become discouraged! With the heightened security measures in placeFeature Articles, it is probably safer than ever to travel.

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