Thanks to an understanding boss (LSL, LWOP), holidays, public holidays and especially Ozbargain deals I no longer plan a trip based on a destination and basically see something cheap posted on ozbargain and make it work.
I love all the travelling and am finding myself overseas at least four times a year for relatively short stays, usually a week or under and 3/4 in SE Asia due to the price/short travel time.
Some trips are with my young family (wife and two kids). Others just wife and I. Others are with friends or solo.
With good comes the bad, right. So it looks like I’m on customs/quarantine‘s radar. The last three times I’ve come back from OS I’ve passed through the smart gates and there has been a customs/quarantine officer who has coincidently asked me how I’m going when I check the monitor for my checkin luggage pickup gate number thingy. He asks to see my ticket, makes a mark on it and then says bye. After collecting my luggage I head to the ‘nothing to declare’ exit and he is waiting for me. Asks me to come into the inspection area and grills me with questions, asks me if I read and signed my arrival card, packed my luggage and goes through my luggage, scans it, looks for hidden compartments, asks me to unlock my phone and goes through it, etc.
The whole process usually takes the best part of 45 minutes. Involves one or two officers and is not the most pleasant experience.
I understand they’re doing their job, but clearly this isn’t random. I asked why they chose me and he said this time it’s because I have new luggage (Ozbargain deal on American Tourist bags represent), one way ticket (wasn’t, was a Skyscanner fare with Jetstar over and virgin back), returning from SE Asia (Bali), that I had been checked before and that ‘the system’ also tells them.
The guy also suggested that they were looking for drugs.
For context I’m in my late 30s, have a good full time public sector job, don’t have a criminal record or ever been charged and have never been caught or even tried bringing anything unlawful into Australia or anywhere else. I’m Caucasian and don’t think I look particularly ‘dodgy’. I’ve probably been overseas 30 times and this has happened only on the last three.
Is anyone else having these experiences? Does anyone have any insight into what is going on or why I’m being targeted? Is this just part of my life now moving forward as an international holidayer/traveller who is a sucker for an ozbargain travel deal?
Btw yes I know I’m fortunate and I should ‘suck it up’ etc etc but just curious as to why and what’s going on?
I’m off to NZ tomorrow for a week, so will be interesting if it’s 4/4 on the return.
FWIW I’m not doing anything dodgy. If I was I wouldn’t bring attention to myself on a public forum!
Btw for some reason I’m now a Jim and the poll question is also a response 😭