The least security/customs/baggage-friendly Christmas gift

The Rapid Traveler was in Mexico City yesterday for a last minute business trip, the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. As he went from meeting to meeting he savored the sights of pilgrims carrying large Guadalupe portraits and the cacophony of firecrackers.

At a meeting with a service provider, The Rapid Traveler was given the kind of gift that travelers dread. Beautifully presented, it consisted of a bottle of Spanish wine, a large cheese, a machete-like cheese knife, and a huge rectangular glass board. It ticked all the boxes of being security unfriendly, customs unfriendly and baggage unfriendly. The board alone was too fragile and too large for The Rapid Traveler’s rollerboard. Well, not everyone does their Christmas shopping thinking of the fussy needs of road warriors. This was a generous gift and the intent is not to mock the givers, but it was almost comical how travel unfriendly it was.

Gift 003The impracticality of transporting the gift reminded The Rapid Traveler of the Christmas spirit and it became a happy afternoon pleasure for his local colleagues.  A gift to one became a pleasure to several. And no shattered glass or wine-soaked laundry upon arrival!

Readers, what logistically-challenged or unusual gifts have you received on your travels?

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  • Multitools. As someone in tech, vendors love to hand out multitools. With knife blades, screwdrivers, etc.

    I don’t check bags. I *do not* check bags. I have no way to get this through security. None.

    Typically they’re the “cheap” ones, so I find someone else on the trip (not affiliated) to re-gift to and they love it. Should I ever get a “brand name” device, I’d probably eat the expense to simply ship it Priority Mail back home.

  • KB

    If you live in Australia you are guaranteed a travel unfriendly gift on almost any trip. Australian quarantine laws are strict and are enforced, so almost any effort that is made to give a locally produced and culturally interesting gift will be a waste. Woven baskets from the woman’s collective: fail. Cheese/coffee/cake/biscuits made by the spouses of your colleagues: fail. Wood carved bowl: fail. Seashell necklace: fail.

    Basically, if it was ever alive, attached to something that was ever alive, or grows in the ground: fail.

    On the upside, Australia is a long way from anywhere, and often in the opposite season to your destination. This means checked baggage, so the cheese board pictured would be fine. As would the knife. The wine, of course, would be for immediate consumption.