Laptop and overland travel: hassle at borders/checkpoints?
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Jul 3, 2013 1:45 PM Last Post By: almondy23
May 15, 2013 12:03 PM
Laptop and overland travel: hassle at borders/checkpoints?I'm planning to fly into Dakar and travel overland through W Africa toward S Africa. I'd like to bring along my old dumpy laptop (~8 years old) to keep in touch and maybe get some work done from time to time. But I'm wondering if it'll be an excuse at border crossings or police checkpoints for authority figures to ask for made-up customs fees or the like. The thing can't be worth more than 50USD at this point so I'm wondering if it'll lead to more hassle than it's worth. Anyone have any experiences along these lines?
May 15, 2013 5:35 PM
May 16, 2013 4:57 PM
May 16, 2013 9:36 PM
3No one cares....unless you look apprehensive or guilty about it, in which case they'll suddenly remember all sorts of taxes and fees for which no receipts are forthcoming. Seriously: relax and it'll be fine. If anyone tries to extract money from you, smile and make nice until they get bored and let you pass.
May 17, 2013 12:20 AM
Jun 2, 2013 1:35 AM
5The G-B custom official made a huge fuss about a Senegalese businessman not having 'proper' papers for his laptop, but nothing happened apart from having to endure shouting and humiliation of another human being as well as being kept at the post for around 15 minutes. Nobody paid 'correction fees' or 'taxes'.
Re #4 - I really could not agree more - not here to advertise the products, but I'd find it hard if I have to travel without that device again.
Jul 3, 2013 1:45 PM
6On my trip there, it was easy to avoid them even knowing you had a laptop or anything else valuable with you. Leave your dirtiest and smelliest laundry at the top of your bag, and watch customs interest disintegrate rapidly! I kept my small laptop wrapped in clothes towards the bottom of my big bag, and smelly things on top, they never, never would even touch anything. Sorry to sound gross, but in West Africa you stop caring about such things after a while, epsecially when it comes to taking care of your valuables.
If they do find it, well, all the above advise is pretty solid. Going into Guinea after Senegal seems the most likely point for customs to ask for 'something to declare', be sure not to do your laundry before going into Guinea!
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