Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fanfest Day Minus One: Alcohol

Welcome to the first of what I'm sure will be many many posts about my very first Fanfest.  Today is Sunday in the U.S.  I arrive in Reyk on Tuesday; my first flight leaves stupidly early Monday morning.  But there are lots of preparatory things that need to be done before tomorrow and today's posts on the subject will be tagged "Day Minus One".  My travel day will be "Day Zero", Tuesday will be "Day One", and so on.

Let's start with a fun one: booze.

Iceland is one of a couple of dozen or so countries that have an "inbound" duty-free shop at the airport, meaning that you can buy things there to your limit and not have to pay normal in-country taxes on them.  I've never been to Iceland, but I've been to two other countries that have this in place.  For Iceland for this trip, the main consideration is -- obviously -- alcohol.

Here's what Icelandic customs has to say on the subject(1):
Travellers can import duty-free alcoholic beverages and tobacco products as follows:

Alcoholic beverages:
  • 1 litre of spirits, 1 litre of wine and 200 cigarettes (1 carton) or 250 g of other tobacco products; or
  • 1 litre of spirits, 6 litres of beer and 200 cigarettes (1 carton) or 250 g of other tobacco products; or
  • 1.5 litre of wine, 6 litres of beer and 200 cigarettes (1 carton) or 250 g of other tobacco products; or
  • 3 litres wine and 200 cigarettes (1 carton) or 250 g of other tobacco products.
Spirits comprise alcoholic beverages having 22% alcoholic content or more; wines comprise alcoholic beverages, other than beer, below this alcohol content.

The minimum age for bringing alcoholic beverages into Iceland is 20 years, or 18 years for tobacco.
What this means in practice is that you can buy one liter of booze and one liter of wine or one liter of booze and six liters of beer at the Keflavik airport and bring it with you into the country when you pass through customs.  Plus one carton of cigarettes if you're a smoker or know an Icelandic smoker or someone else who might care to smoke a little more cheaply in Iceland.  Interestingly, apparently chewing tobacco and snuff is banned from import into Iceland.

So, now you know what the first thing many Fanfest participants will be buying Iceland.  ;-)

One more thing about Icelandic customs: Iceland appears not to have any particular restrictions as to the importation of computers.  The only lines in the customs file about this are as follows:
Travellers may bring into the country without payment of customs duty clothing, bedclothes, camping gear and other travelling equipment (including foodstuffs and other supplies) for their own use in Iceland, provided that these goods may be deemed of a reasonable quantity and nature for the purpose and duration of the visit, and consistent with the visitor´s other circumstances, and that they will be transported out of the country on the owner´s departure, in so far as they are not consumed in Iceland.

Traveller may bring with them a gift; the value of each object may, however, not exceed ISK 10,000. Should the value of an object be more than ISK 10,000 the person in question may utilise the customs allowance for that amount, and pay duty on the excess value.
I often travel out of the U.S. (including on this trip) with two computers.  Sometimes that's a problem, but it looks like it won't be this trip.  10k ISK is about $85.58 U.S. as of today's exchange rates.

Obviously, if I have any of this wrong, I hope experienced Icelandic travelers will correct me in the comments.

Next up: packing.

(1) And interestingly, Icelandic customs misspells "traveler" and "traveling" throughout this page.  Perhaps that's the British English spelling?  I assume so, because they also use the word "utilise".


  1. http://www.customs.is/default.asp?cat_id=61

    you can bring thigs in the amount of 88.000isk.
    if you are bringing a computer i would tell you to bring a receipt and declare it at the red gate for customs to see that you are just a traveler and that you are just bringing it with you. if you are however coming early there is a trick that many times the customs are not open yet so there will be no one to check your luggage :) have fun in our nice country and maybe we will have a beer together :)

  2. Icelandic customs are spelling "Traveller" perfectly correctly. It's you Americans who struggle ;-)

    Hopefully bump into you at FanFest. You will be wearing a 'Ripard Teg' mask, yes?

  3. Erm - "traveler" is the US spelling, "traveller" is the UK spelling, says Wiki ;-)

  4. Yes, "traveller" is the BE spelling. AFAIK, BE spelling in common throughout Europe.

  5. not not going to hate on any of you yanks out there, but sometimes proper English and American English differ in the way things are spelt and said, having said that it could be a misprint, then id find it quite funny

    anyways have a safe trip m8

  6. Yep, Traveller and travelling is the correct British English spelling - as is utilise (instead of utilize)

  7. Eve Online text uses american spelling because the europeans know enough not to send through thousands of bug petitions when they encounter spelling based on a different dialect.

    tldr; pandering

  8. In 2010, Iceland customs was pretty laid back; can't imagine it has changed much. I look forward to your reports and to seeing how the election resolves. Have fun! I wish I could have gone to FF when I had the chance; Iceland is an awesome place. Take and share lots of photos of everything and especially of people so we can put some faces to the names.

  9. As George Bernard Shaw said, 'England and America are two countries separated by a common language'.

  10. I'll second Mynxee and point out that if you're arriving early in the morning, Icelandic Customs probably won't be present -at all-. They haven't been either of the times I've visited so far. You could go into the red line and wait, like you're supposed to for declared goods, but you'll like do what *ahem* everyone else does and just leave through the green line without anyone ever batting an eyelash. Even those waiting in the red line for staff that aren't there often give up and walk out through the green.

    So when it comes to booze, many *ahem* FF travelers simply put the legal limit (or more) in their suitcase, and even those cases they might STILL buy more at the duty free and walk out through the green line unfettered. Such a thing would be rather trivial, and especially during flights arriving in the morning.

    As for your computer, I don't see anything that prohibits someone from bringing two of them. And a gift is a gift anyways - if you're not leaving either of your computers in Iceland, they're part of your personal belongings and should be just fine to bring in. And again, see above about customs officers literally just not being there at the station if you arrive early in the morning.

    I know you're a bit of a rules lawyer Ripard, but do try to have some fun on this trip, and don't stress too much about the customs thing. Hell, even the security to get on the plane for the flight home is FAR more lax than anything you'll ever see in the United States. Bring whatever you need, you should be fine.

    1. Good tips, thanks! And yeah, I tend to be a bit of a paranoid when traveling overseas, but it's never had a downside so far. I knew India customs as well or better than the India customs officials and used my knowledge to bypass a sticky situation once. There's hardly any downside to knowing the rules even if you choose not to follow them. ;-)

  11. Also, another pro tip for you and other attendees - even if you don't drink or smoke, pair up with a CCP staff that needs something cheap. Alcohol is literally almost double the price in-town due to absurd taxes, same with cigarettes. Just send out a tweet or something if you have room in your allowance for either of these goods, but don't let it go to waste!

    CCP employees are often said to be underpaid by industry standards and the cost of living here is high, so it really means a lot for people to have these brought to them (and they'll pay you back, anyways.) Don't miss out on this opportunity to do a dev a favor! ;)

  12. Do not listen to the idiots who are telling you to ignore customs regulations. Sure, you might get away with it, or you might just be the one person who does not.

    Is it really worth the risk? Why not check the penalties first, then make a smarter decision.

    Americans tend to be pretty cocky when traveling, but that is because American enforcement is an international joke, and Americans also believe that hiring (or being) a smart lawyer can get them out of any trouble.

    One American friend of mine is not quite so cocky, after an incident in Singapore in which he was caned. Nor are a couple of former acquaintances who happened to be carrying certain illicit substances while transiting through Malaysia - they were caught by a random check at customs, jailed, tried, and executed.

    Yes, it does happen.

    Be smart, travel safe.

    1. "Americans tend to be pretty cocky when traveling..."

      Indeed. Our company hires quite a few international consultants, and the Americans are the only ones who consistently get into legal trouble.

      Just this year, we've had two Americans arrested in China, one in Thailand, and one in Germany. Three were customs violations - two were carrying proscribed items, one was caught with undeclared goods. The fourth arrest was due to drinking alcohol on a public street.

      The two arrested in China were slapped with PNG status, and required to leave the country. The one in Germany ended up paying a stiff fine (which he actually attempted to ask us to reimburse).

      The one in Thailand stupidly compounded the crime by attempting to bribe the customs officer, and was treated to a stay in prison.

      And, of course, none of these people will be hired by us again.

  13. RE: Alcohol and Fanfest

    Please recall what happened to Mittens last year, before you are tempted to (over)indulge.

    Just a word of friendly advice from someone who voted for you for CSM8 (and sadly voted for Mittens for CSM7).

    1. To say that I'm not much of a drinker is understating the case. So no, very little chance of this happening. Any booze and cigarettes I pick up from duty-free will end up as gifts of various types.

    2. Mittens is an alcoholic - Fanfest had nothing to do with it.

  14. Customs will absolutely not care if you are bringing 2 computers as long as they are not brand spanking new still in the box you bought them in.

    The limit (and I was actually unaware that it had been raised to 88k isk) is mainly for Icelanders returning after a massive shopping trip abroad and unless you've got obviously new stuff hanging off you then they will probably send you along.

    The putting the legal limit (or over) into your check in luggage and then buying more at the duty free can be more iffy because you might get a random check (random not being all that random, being around the age of 20 and coming from say..ibiza will dramaticly increase the number of random searches). But I've yet to hear from anyone I personally know and has brought more than the legal limit to be stopped.


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