Slightly Meta: Travel tips for people traveling internationally with vintage equipment

Michael Thompson michael.99.thompson at
Sun Dec 3 08:35:24 CST 2017

> From: Michael Brutman <mbbrutman at>
> To: "General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts"
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> Subject: Slightly Meta: Travel tips for people traveling
>         internationally with vintage equipment?
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> I'm actively working on show planning for VCF PNW and I'm noticing that we
> have a few international travelers planning to attend and exhibit their
> machines/projects.  I'd like to put together a FAQ for the logistics of
> traveling with vintage equipment across the US border.  If you have ideas
> please let me know.
> For example: Should I plan on providing letters in advance stating that a
> person is a registered exhibitor at our show, including details like the
> show location, dates, times, and contact information in case there is a
> question about why somebody is carrying strange looking equipment into the
> US?  Is there any sort of paperwork or customs form needed even if nothing
> is being sold or left in the US?  Any other gotchas to look for?
> Thanks,
> Mike

I often travel internationally with strange looking electronics. If I am
questioned, I say that it is for my personal use during travel.

If you are bringing things that are very valuable, you can get a Carnet to
temporarily import items to the US and then export them without paying
duty. It is sometimes a painful process to find the right person at the
airport to stamp the Carnet on the way in and out, and often the customs
people have no idea what a Carnet is. The Carnet also costs more than $200
and requires a security deposit based on the value of the item.

Michael Thompson

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