Even if you’ve never set foot on a plane before, you can probably guess what sort of things can’t be brought with you. Live animals are a definite no, unless it’s a registered service animal, and even then – international flights are a bit iffy. Of course, illegal recreational drugs are forbidden, even if you happen to be travelling to somewhere where certain drugs are permitted, such as Amsterdam.
There are even some weird restrictions in a few places. If you fly into France, you will see posters reminding you that counterfeit designer goods might be confiscated. The French certainly want to protect the integrity of their luxury industries, so leave your fake YSL sunglasses at home.
There are a few interesting items on the list of what not to bring to Cuba.
When visiting the island nation, there are some things that simply should not be packed. If you are discovered carrying these things, you will still be able to enter the country, and yet these goods will be confiscated and you will not see them again. You will not receive compensation either, and your travel insurance provider is unlikely to help you since these items should never have been packed in the first place.
So when you are packing for your Cuban getaway, what needs to be left at home?
Certain Types of Literature
Regardless of your own views regarding Cuba’s political history, it’s important to understand that most Cubans are pretty darn proud of their nation and have respect for their government. If you plan to bring Cuba-centric reading materials with you, it’s important to ensure that you don’t bring anything that carries a particular bias.
While the government is not immune from criticism, you should be wary of bringing anything that takes a particularly negative or aggressive view with regards to recent Cuban history. It’s not as though Cuba is ruled by a totalitarian regime, but the authorities might frown upon literature that is considered to be overly critical, and this includes books and magazine articles.
It’s really not considered to be a big deal, but if discovered, these publications will probably be taken away from you at the airport, meaning that they should be on your list of what not to bring to Cuba.
Certain Types of Communications Technology
You might have heard that mobile phones don’t work so well in Cuba due to a lack of infrastructure. You will still be able to make and receive calls and messages (if your service provider has a roaming agreement with Cuba), but you can more or less forget about data access. You can probably live without checking Facebook every five minutes. There are a handful of wifi zones in larger cities, but these are rather rare.
You might want to be ultra cautious about staying in touch with the other members of your party, so you might be thinking about packing walkie talkies or a satellite phone. Your forward planning is to be admired, but these things are definitely on the list of what not to bring to Cuba. Such communication devices are simply not allowed, and will be confiscated, along with any kind of handheld GPS device.
Don’t Bring a Drone
You will almost certainly end up taking a whole lot of photos during your trip to Cuba, and yet there are some limitations when it comes to how you do this. Drone technology is actually quite remarkable, allowing you to capture a bird’s eye view of wherever you release the drone. While many types of drone are small enough to be packed into your luggage, they are definitely on a list of what not to bring to Cuba.
Even though your intentions are perfectly innocent, drones can easily be used to take photographs of sensitive areas in Cuba, such as military installations.
A drone will be confiscated upon arrival, so you’re going to need to live without taking overhead photos and videos.
We don’t judge consenting adults who enjoy looking at photos or videos of other consenting adults who might not be wearing any clothing, but pornography is what not to bring to Cuba.
Whether it’s a magazine or a DVD, you should not bring any pornography into Cuba. It’s something that the authorities are rather sensitive about, even though the country is fairly liberal in a number of ways.
We haven’t heard much about immigration authorities checking files stored on a laptop or mobile device, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, so you might want to delete any files that can be considered to contain adult content.
Weird Things When it Comes to What Not to Bring to Cuba
Back in 2014, the Cuban authorities began to crack down on what not to bring to Cuba. While it was always traditional for Cubans who live or travel overseas to bring gifts upon their return to their homeland, it was felt that the allowances were being exploited.
It was suspected that the outlandish quantities of some goods being transported into Cuba were destined to be illegally sold, and so restrictions were introduced.
Some of these restrictions are not so surprising, such as the fact that the combined total value of anything brought into Cuba should not be valued at more than USD $1000. It’s when you consider the quantities of the individual items that contribute towards this maximum limit of $1000 that it seems a little bit… strange.
Some of these restrictions can certainly seem a little bit strange, such as only being able to bring a maximum of 24 bras into the country.
You can also, should you feel the need, bring in 10 kilos (22 pounds) of laundry detergent. If you are unsure about the status of any potentially questionable item you wish to bring into Cuba, check with your travel provider. They will be able to tell you if it’s allowed, or will at least know who to ask.