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Top 10 tips for holiday travelers crossing the border

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Posted at 5:23 AM, Dec 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-23 05:23:31-05

Whether on the road or through the air, there's no doubt holiday travel can be stressful -- and even more so when it involves crossing an international border.

With that in mind, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are offering up ten tips for making the trip over the Peace Bridge, Rainbow Bridge or Lewiston-Queenston Bridge easier:

  • Travel Documents - Have your appropriate passports ready to give to the CBP officer at the border. You can find country specific information at getyouhome.gov.
  • Apply and pay for an I-94 online - A I-94 can speed up your re-entry process when you come back to the U.S. It can be filled out and paid for online up to seven days before entry.
  • Declare gifts - This includes gifts people gave you and gifts for others that you purchased while out of the country.
  • Declare goods - Tell the CBP officer everything you're bringing with you, including duty-free items.
  • Monitor border wait times - Consider alternate routes when planning your trip if your intended route has heavy traffic.
  • Travel during non-peak times - Peak times at the border are typically between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. CBP officers recommend leaving the night before.
  • Be ready before you pull up to the inspection booth - This means already having your travel documents in your hand, rolling down the windows on your vehicle and removing any clothing or accessories that conceal your face.
  • Check out the "Know Before You Go" section of the CBP website - You can avoid fines and penalties for certain items, like agricultural products, by doing research before you cross here.
  • Declare foods - Some agricultural products can spread pests and diseases across the border.
  • Get NEXUS - Trusted Travelers in the NEXUS program receive a five-year membership that allows for quicker crossing in the NEXUS lanes at border crossings.

You can get the latest 7 First Alert Traffic updates in the Traffic section of wkbw.com.