The Power Of A Canadian Passport

Over the years, I’ve had more than a few run-ins at border crossings and airport security.  I get it — my “look” hasn’t always been the most clean-cut, especially when traveling.  But a surprising advantage I have, is being a Canadian citizen with a Canadian passport. The best example that I can share is when I was in Tunisia in Northern Africa, boarding my plane back to Malta in Southern Europe.

Traveling with a Canadian passport

On this particular trip, I was very bearded  – two weeks growth for a guy that can grow a beard in two days.  And my only luggage was a raggedy-old backpack.  Within just a couple of minutes of lining up at security, I saw soldiers starting to position themselves around the line-up.  Oddly enough, they seemed to be staring at me.

After getting into position, the soldiers closed in around me and told me to step away from the line-up.  While surrounding me with their military fatigues and machine guns, they didn’t look particularly happy and began asking questions.  Feeling a tad uncomfortable amidst the aggression and language barrier, I pulled out my Canadian passport, and the mood changed.  Angry faces immediately turned to smiles and laughter, and apologies followed.  The soldiers dispersed, and I was even placed at the front of the line for boarding! It’s certainly something that I have always remembered.

Even though I’ve experienced hiccups similar to this a few other times, I still always come to airport security lines prepared (though not always presentable). Below are a few essential pointers to smoothly get through international security lines, even with an unkempt beard.

Tips to breeze through international security lines:

  1. Have your ID and travel documents easily accessible.
  2. Ensure that you’re not carrying any items that can be deemed unacceptable in either your country of origin, or the countries that you are traveling through.
  3. Be conscious of the culture of the country that you are in and those around you, and be respectful.
  4. Be positive and responsive if questioned, as negativity and defensiveness can work against you.
  5. Dress is a presentable and non-threatening fashion, so that you don’t become a visual target for inspection.
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