Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   Will customs question us if we pack one bag between the 2 of us? A friend said that they will frown on this. Anyone heard of this before? (

jaspertl Jan 24th, 2004 03:16 PM

Will customs question us if we pack one bag between the 2 of us? A friend said that they will frown on this. Anyone heard of this before?
My husband and I are trying to pack light for a 2 week trip to Ireland and wanted to pack just one larger bag between the two of us.
A friend told us that customs frowns upon this. She said that customs doesn't like to see 2 people sharing a bag.

Sounds weird to me...why would it matter.

Anyone have any experience with this?

Dick Jan 24th, 2004 03:31 PM

I can't possibly imagine customs caring.

After all, they only open a very small percentage of bags anyhow.

adrienne Jan 24th, 2004 03:37 PM

They're not going to even notice. You can enter a country with no luggage. Ask your friend where she got this information. I can't speak for Ireland, but half the time I don't even go through customs, you just walk through a door and no one even looks at you.

Anonymous Jan 24th, 2004 03:39 PM

I can't imagine customs caring, either, but it might be wiser to pack 2 smaller bags. Then if one is lost or delayed, you'll still have the other. And it's easier to carry two smaller bags.

MaryZ Jan 24th, 2004 03:40 PM

We normally share one bag and have never had any difficulty.

Margie Jan 24th, 2004 03:41 PM

You will not have a problem. My husband and I always travel with 1 bag for both of us (and it's carry on). We have had only 1 airline employee make a comment: he asked us if we were checking any luggage, we said "no"; then he asked us if we only had 1 bag for both of us, we said "yes"; he smiled and said "good job - have a great trip!"

i_am_kane Jan 24th, 2004 03:42 PM

Adrienne, I am do you avoid Customs, and just walk through a door? It sounds like you're Caspar the Friendly Ghost.

mclaurie Jan 24th, 2004 03:44 PM

Customs won't care but your airline might! The airlines have maximums on weight for a bag. They don't always stick to the rules, but we've had problems (can't remember which airline)We were entitled to 2 bags each weighing-say 40 lbs/piece (can't recall exact amount). We had 1 bag for both of us -maybe 60 lbs & they charged us extra! On the way home we bought a bag & switched to 2 bags so we didn't have to pay again.

adrienne Jan 24th, 2004 03:48 PM

i am kane...I'm friendly but no ghost. And, I'm not alone. There was a recent thread about customs at FCO airport and several people posted the same thing. I've arrived in London, Paris, Rome, Luxembourg and maybe more places (can't remember) and no one asked me any questions.

Remember, this thread is addressing customs only; not immigration. I do have to show my passport.

indytravel Jan 24th, 2004 03:49 PM

Several times going into Europe, I've not "avoided" customs but I didn't see anything happening. I went through the line "nothing to declare." I wasn't stopped, in fact I never saw a sole.

The most recent was November in Paris. My flight landed an hour early at 5:30am. Maybe that helps. :-)

jaspertl, I'd be more worried about returning customs in the US. I've had my worst experiences with them and US passport control.

jody Jan 24th, 2004 03:53 PM

Going thru the green line or nothing to declare one pays any attention. It is passport control that might stop you. That is not to say that you might be the one in 100 that is pulled out for inspection in the customs line.

There are 2 lines one must go thru.. and they shouldn't be confused...Immigration ( or passport control) and customs!

Marilyn Jan 24th, 2004 04:17 PM

I can't remember the last time I was stopped at customs in any European country. Probably at least 15 years ago, when I had a large bag full of sample products and did not go through the green line in the UK.

But you would be wise to check on the weight limit per bag. With all the recent economic problems, the airlines are looking at these overweight fees as a potential profit center.

tmh Jan 24th, 2004 04:20 PM

For the past 10 years my husband and I use one backpack with the day pack unnattached. We are 49 and 60 respectively and EVERY time we come through American customers we are asked a question as to where is the rest of our luggage.

American's are not know for traveling lightly and they know you've been gone for two weeks. We are ready with an answer of 'travel lightly' and/or 'wash clothes whiole traveling but be prepared. WE've never been searched but you are a curious item.

As to the airline, as long as it meets the size and number requirement, they don't care. With us separating the two bags, they don't exceed the limit and we don't carry anything heavy except for books and a journal.

janis Jan 24th, 2004 05:19 PM

jaspertl: Is your friend a little nutty in other respects? This is such a non-issue. Besides - only one name/ticket will be associated with the suitcase. So actually one of you is traveling w/ luggage and the other one is traveling w/o luggage.

One hint though. Instead of one huge bag that needs to be checked - try packing in two small bags that can be carried on. You will have the same space and two small bags are usually easier manage.

nibblette Jan 24th, 2004 05:32 PM

Two smaller bags may be better primarily because of weight restrictions. Many airlines have decreased their "free" limit to 50 lbs per bag. Your bag may not be over 50 lbs leaving but may be coming home after buying sovenirs, etc, during your trip.
Also the customs problem may not be a problem going but coming back to the US. I travel lightly and have had customs people look at me with unusual interest after seeing how little I have. I think this may be more of a concern if you were coming back from a country where drug trafficking is a problem.

djkbooks Jan 24th, 2004 05:40 PM

As others have mentioned, you MUST check with your airline for the maximum dimensions and weight allowed.

Travels_with_Food Jan 24th, 2004 07:32 PM

I did this with a friend going to Ireland. It's checked under 1 person's name...not 2. They don't question it. Just make sure it is "weight worthy" since they are very strict on weight and will charge like crazy, even if it's a pound over!

janeg Jan 24th, 2004 09:16 PM

McLaurie- The last time my husband had an overweight bag, Delta gave him a box to put some stuff in & checked both items for him w/o overweight fee.

janis Jan 24th, 2004 09:20 PM

janeg: That will happen less often now - most US airlines have decided to charge more for overweight bags. They always could, but now they actually are doing it. The airlines are looking for any new income source, and overweight bags are there for the picking . . . .

highledge Jan 25th, 2004 12:51 PM

Perhaps your friend was refering to two unrelated people sharing a bag? A married couple or family would probably share space in one or two bags any way. Two friends travelling together would be expected to have separate luggage. I know that there are exception to the above, but perhaps this is the logic behind such a comment.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:50 AM.