How To Deal With Electronic Border Serches

I travel all the time. I have Global Entry, yet just the thought of an electronic border search  although unlikely, is quite unnerving.

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Basically it involves you having to give all your passwords to the agent at border control so that they can check  your social media for subversive behavior. I suspect that if the USA gets aggressive with this to foreign travelers then other countries will get equally aggressive with Americans traveling abroad.

From what I understand, and correct me in the comment section if I am wrong, Al Quaeda, ISIS and co. encrypt their social media plots, so authorities wouldn’t find out about imminent attacks by checking cell phones anyway. I can agree that if they found someone with virulent anti-American rhetoric on their social media we shouldn’t let that person in, but how does it bode for the rest of us? Do we really want border control agents able to read all of our emails and social media and do whatever they want with them, or do we want to hold onto some measure of privacy?

You could of course get a burner phone to travel with, but for me that would be a gigantic hassle as my entire life runs through my iPhone. You could delete all social media apps from your phone and iPad, but that just looks like you have something to hide.

The whole issue is just creepy. sent me this article on the subject. If you are a traveler it is definitely worth reading.

How to Deal With Electronic Border Searches

Plus, what these more invasive searches mean for travel

man with cell phone

image via

What to do if you’re asked to hand over your phone—and what these searches may mean for the future of travel

 Most people are sailing through passport control and customs just as they did before the inauguration. But for travelers from foreign countries—particularly those targeted by President Trump’s travel ban—and the unlucky few American citizens and legal residents who get pulled aside for what is known as “secondary inspection,” tales of electronic searches and disconcerting requests from border guards abound.

U.S. border agents have increasingly been demanding to search the electronic devices of some travelers entering and exiting the country and even requesting the passwords to their social media accounts. “The idea that it will become a concerted part of screening is very new,” says Alex Abdo, a senior staff attorney at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

So what does a U.S. citizen or legal resident need to know about returning to the United States from abroad—and flying domestically? Here, we break down the history of technology searches at the border, the likelihood of being searched when you travel, what you should do if you are pulled aside, and the best ways to protect your data at the border.
Electronic Searches Aren’t That Common—Yet

Phone and computer searches were happening before President Trump was elected, but privacy advocates worry they have since ramped up. Between October 2016 and March 2017, border agents searched the electronic devices of 14,993 arriving international travelers, according to newly released data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a nearly 79 percent increase from the same period a year earlier.

Searching electronic devices at the border is not a new tactic for CBP: The practice began a decade ago, in the waning years of George W. Bush’s presidency. The current policy, which allows for searches of “computers, disks, drives, tapes, mobile phones and other communication devices, cameras, music and other media players, and any other electronic or digital devices” has remained the same since 2009.

What has changed is how invasive those searches now are, thanks to the ubiquity of social media, smartphones, and mobile cloud storage, as well as advances in computer-assisted search methods for electronic devices. These days, most smartphones are continuously logged into their users’ email accounts and apps and contain everything from medical and financial records to cloud-stored archives of digital photos and social media messages.

At the moment, technology searches may affect only a tiny fraction of overall travelers entering the United States—0.008 percent within the past six months, according to CBP.

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How to Protect Yourself and Your Data at U.S. Borders

When entering the country, travelers can protect their digital privacy in myriad ways—by traveling with data-free “burner” phones, deleting apps and sensitive data from devices, and encrypting their contents—but ultimately, if CBP officials request it, “You can’t refuse to turn over your physical device,” says Abdo. “They have clear authority to look at it.” He cautions against resisting an agent’s request to hand over a device: “We’ve seen some cases of people being physically subdued.”

U.S. citizens have not and cannot be prevented from entering the country for refusing to give up their passwords or unlocking their devices, but the issue is murkier for foreign visitors, who don’t have a right to come into the country and can be denied entry. “If you are a U.S. person, they eventually have to let you into the country, but they can make life inconvenient,” says Abdo. “They can detain you at the border for hours—there are cases where courts have approved of six-hour detention. They can take your device and hold onto it for five days.”

After a device is seized, CBP officials can take it off-site, try to crack its encryption, and copy its files and metadata, says Esha Bhandari, a staff attorney at the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. What happens to your copied data after the government has access to it? “They are supposed to decide within 21 days whether there is probable cause to keep that information,” Bhandari says. “But the notes CBP takes about you can be retained up to 75 years. If you verbally told someone your password, that could remain in a government database for a very long time.” If this happens to you, it is recommended that you change all of your passwords.

CBP officers may ask for your permission to search the content of your device. You do not have to grant it, Adbo says. “You should make clear you do not consent to searches of the devices” so as to not forfeit your legal rights. But this may very well result in your technology being taken from you for a temporary period.

Is Searching a U.S. Citizen’s Smartphone Legal?

Electronic device searches at the border exist in something of a legal gray area because the U.S. Supreme Court has not ruled on the issue. The border agency believes that device searches can be conducted without suspecting a person of a crime, or of being inadmissible, at U.S. ports of entry. But some legal experts dispute this reading of the law, saying that device searches at the border are so invasive they should require a warrant based on probable cause, as they are inside the country. “Most people think the writing’s on the wall,” says Abdo. “When it reaches the Supreme Court, they will decide these searches of U.S. persons’ devices are unconstitutional.”

The agency contends that it acts within the bounds of the law. “CBP’s searches of electronic devices is based on policy that ensures a disciplined, deliberate, and lawful approach, which affects less than one hundredth of one percent of travelers upon arrival in the U.S.,” says CBP headquarters branch chief Jennifer Gabris.

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The Consequences of America’s Border Policy

The U.S. border policy is in flux right now, and technology searches may soon become more common at ports of entry, particularly for visa applicants. “Now we are hearing of proposals being floated by DHS [Department of Homeland Security] that they might ask for passwords for social media accounts for travelers to the U.S.,” says Bhandari. The proposed measures could see foreigners from all over the world being asked to turn over their devices, provide their social media passwords and financial records, and answer questions about their beliefs as a condition of arrival.

Of course, it’s not just foreign travelers to the United States who are affected by the uptick in technology searches at the border. The  valuable U.S. tourism industry, which supports 15.1 million jobs and benefits the U.S. economy to the tune of $2.1 trillion has already reported a sharp drop in foreign arrivals in 2017—which some industry groups attribute to the Trump administration’s immigration policy.

Requiring foreign travelers to disclose sensitive information such as their social media passwords could have far-reaching consequences for American travelers and legal residents. “This could lead to reciprocal requests from other countries,” warns Bhandari. “It would be chilling if this became the norm for international travel—for Americans to hand over their social media passwords when visiting other countries.”

In addition to privacy concerns, measures like this are also worrisome from a freedom of speech perspective. “Requiring foreign travelers to provide this information amounts to a test of ideology at the border,” Abdo says. “That should give anyone pause”—American citizens and foreigners alike.

“Whenever you engage in dragnet searches, you will inevitably pick up information that is useful,” he says. “If you drain the ocean, you’ll catch fish. But what is the proper balance between legitimate needs and the cost of the authority?”

The Best Airport In The World Is….

I believe that a country’s international airports should be beautiful. They should be a reflection of a country’s pride. They are the first impression a traveler gets of a nation. In this day and age, when millions and millions of people are traveling internationally each year, international airports should be welcoming, modern, functional, well appointed.

America needs to improve it’s international airports.

I can’t believe how totally craptastick JFK and O’Hare are. They are an embarrassment. When flying to and from Italy I always try to use Charlotte airport,  (which is small, efficient and friendly) and flat out refuse to use Chicago. More frequently than not I end up having to use JFK or Philadelphia. After 10 hours in the air you really want to arrive somewhere friendly, modern and clean, with some good dining options. These two airports are none of these things.

The Tom Bradley international terminal at Los Angeles LAX airport is magnificent. It is modern and beautiful and leaves you thinking you are in Dubai. And everyone smiles and is friendly. The JFK folks need to do a field trip to LAX to check it out.

The following is an article from The Wayfarer, all about the very best international airports in the world.


And, Once Again, the World’s Best Airport Is…

Singapore’s Changi Airport named best in the world—for the fifth time

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Perhaps it’s time to consider Singapore’sChangi Airport  the “New York Yankees of air travel.” How else could one spin the news that Lion City’s largest airport has been named best in the world for the fifth consecutive year?

The designation came down earlier this month from Skytrax World Airport Awards, an independent annual evaluation that bases the final rankings on the results of millions of international passenger surveys. This year was the sixth annual Skytrax awards; Changi has five first-place victories and one second-place win (back in 2012).

It’s not hard to see why fliers could consider the three-terminal airport to be the air travel equivalent of the winningest sports franchise of all time. In addition to being one of the busiest hubs in Asia, Changi boasts two 24-hour movie theaters that show current releases for free, a rooftop swimming pool (complete with locker rooms for changing), and a butterfly garden teeming with butterflies.

The airport is also putting the finishing touches on a fourth terminal, which, according to the Straits Times, a Singaporean newspaper, is slated to open later this year.

There were other highly lauded airports in the running, too: Tokyo Haneda International Airport, Incheon International Airport in Seoul, Munich International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport rounded out the Top Five. (Haneda also won an award for the world’s cleanest airport, and Hong Kong was hailed has having the best and most varied dining options.)

Sadly—embarrassingly, really—not a single North American airport cracked the Top 10. In fact, the highest-ranked airport on our continent is Vancouver International Airport in Canada, at No. 13.

The United States isn’t represented on the Skytrax list until No. 26, an honor that goes to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. (The dark horse win seems like a great piece of trivia to whip out at your next soirée.) Denver International Airport was tabbed as No. 28.

It’s hard not to read the Skytrax list of winners and dream about what U.S. airports could be. The takeaways: We need more free movie theaters. Or at least a few butterfly gardens.

Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. In nearly 20 years as a full-time freelancer, he has covered travel for publications including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sunset, Backpacker, Entrepreneur, and more. He contributes to the Expedia Viewfinder blog and writes a monthly food column for Islands magazine. Villano also serves on the board of the Family Travel Association and blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod. Learn more about him at


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How To Beat Jet Lag


So you already know my main gig is being a makeup artist. That’s been my career for years and years.
My second gig is blogging. I write around my insane makeup schedule. 
What you may not know is that I have a third business, which is taking small groups of women aged 35+ on private tours of Italy. They are called the Glam Italia Tours. Because frankly, they really are quite glam!

In June I have two Glam Italia tours, back to back. I’m so happy because Italy is my favorite place in the world to be.

With the combined total of both these tours I have no one who has ever flown internationally before. 
I’m thinking there are no doubt many of you reading this blogpost who have either never flown internationally, (or maybe never flown on a really long international flight before) or who are embarking on a big trip such as a trip to Europe, this summer.

The devil in long-haul travel is the dreaded jet lag.
Jet lag can steal the first few days of your trip if you’re not lucky.
It can leave you in a brain fog, swollen, tired and irritated, and have you waking at 2 am and leave you barely able to put one foot in front of the other by 8pm.

Flying from Australia or New Zealand back to the USA gets me every time. The adjustment is always hard, partly because I get a heavy duty dose of homesick to pair with it, and partly because I break most of my rules to beat jet lag.

For my Glam Tour ladies and for anyone else doing some major travel this year, here is How To Beat Jet Lag

Before You Leave Home

So much of the key to beating jet lag happens prior to leaving home.

1. Get Extra Sleep

For as many nights as you possibly can, go to bed earlier than usual. An extra hour or more of sleep per night for a few nights can make a major difference. One of the worst things you can do is board an international flight sleep deprived.

Even if you do sleep on planes it’s not deeply relaxing, restorative sleep. Unless you’re up in first class.

For those of you who take a sleeping pill, know that that isn’t proper sleep either. (and, oh lord! be careful taking Ambien – hello naked person running amok on the plane!)

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2. Get Extra Exercise


I love to do extra yoga in the days leading up to a long flight, and especially that morning if I can. I have friends who like to run (I hate to run) who add in an extra mile or two in the days leading up to their trip. Something you will never, ever catch me doing.

Whatever your exercise of choice is, go for it. Cardio and stretching/yoga/pilates types of workouts are generally the best. Bulky, heavy lifting not so much.

3. Super-Hydrate

For every hour you are up there you are going to lose an additional
8oz of water. You need to drink tons of water during your flight, but also drink extra in the days leading up to it.

4. Avoid Alcohol

Don’t party-hearty before you leave. The effects of alcohol stay with you for a few days, so having a bunch of drinks in the days immediately prior to flying can add to the dehydration – feeling like hell syndrome that goes with jet lag.

5. Watch What You Eat.

Whether it’s in the terminal before your flight or whether its at home, avoid high sodium, salty foods, processed foods and cruciferous vegetables  ( like broccoli). They will bloat you and make you gassy. 

image via Fresh Tart

During The Flight

1. Set Your Watch

Set your watch to your new time zone when your plane takes off.
You have to do your best to trick your brain into believing it’s 2am not 4pm. If it’s sleep time in the place you will be landing, try to sleep. If it’s waking up time there, stay awake. Do whatever it takes to make your mind believe it’s already on the new time.

2. Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol will super-dehydrate you and make you feel like hell when you land.
In saying that, I always have a glass of wine with my meal and a glass of champagne prior to take off when I’m flying first class. 
If you are going to have a drink with dinner, keep it to one drink and have an extra glass of water after, to try and offset it.

3. Wear Compression Socks

Absolutely the un-sexiest things ever, compression socks keep the blood flow moving and stop your feet and ankles from swelling. They also help reduce the chances of you getting DVT. I wouldn’t fly without them.
Compression Socks At Nordstrom

If your seat doesn’t have an ottoman or a foot rest put a bag under the seat in front of you and elevate your feet even just a few inches.

Read more about preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis on long flights

4. Sleep


If you can, sleep during the flight. 
Ear plugs, an eye mask, neck pillows can all help.
If you can’t sleep on planes try using noise cancelling headphones to eliminate the buzz, and listen to yoga nidra. They say an hour of yoga nidra is equal to 4 hours of high quality sleep. I download yoga nidra programs onto my iPad, and if the airline doesn’t have it on offer on their entertainment system I just plug into my own.
The one I use has some Aussie bloke chatting away on it. It’s brilliant.

Bose noise cancelling headphones

Read About Why You Have Trouble Sleeping On A Plane

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When You Land

1. Get On Local Time
No matter how tired you are, get onto local time.
If it’s lunch time, go eat lunch. If it’s evening, go for a stroll and then go to bed. If it’s early morning, have breakfast – even if you’re not hungry.

2. Walk. And Walk, And Walk.

One of the best things you can do after you’ve checked in to your hotel or wherever you are staying, is go for a long walk. 
It gets your circulation moving again, helps your body after its been cooped up in a small chair for hours on end, and it clears your mind.
I swear by it.

3. Don’t Nap.

No matter how tired you are, keep moving and don’t nap. You have to get on to local time, and that nap is going to mess you up and put you back to your previous time zone.

4. Hydrate

Drink as much water as you can to help offset what you just lost in-flight. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel!

5. Stretch

A few sun salutations go a long way after a long flight. If you’re not a yogi, still take the time to do some stretches. Your body needs it and you will feel so much better for it!