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How to Use Dirty Underwear When Going Through Immigration and Customs

Dirty underwear and socks can cause a plethora of slight annoyances for a traveler: they have a tendency of disappearing, they are gross to touch, and they have the potential of fouling up an entire rucksack of otherwise nice smelling clothing.

In point, dirty underwear and socks are dirty, so what could possible be the use of them?

According to Ubertramp’s “duel-purpose” philosophy towards travel gear – the idea that everything in a pack should have at least two uses – I searched for a way to USE my dirty under-garments and came up with a doozy:

Before traveling over a border and through immigration and customs, put all of your dirty underwear and socks in the top of the large section of your rucksack overtop of everything else. This tip works on the premise that NO HUMAN WANTS TO TOUCH ANOTHER HUMAN’S DIRTY UNDERWEAR and customs should pass you right through without looking deep into your bag to save themselves the horror of touching and smelling your dirty undies.

That is right, put your underwear in the top of your bag, and watching yourself be floated right through the customs procedure and into a new country . . . dirty underwear and all. It has been stated that immigration officials are, in fact, human, and even though I have never seen evidence of this fact myself, I must concur that it is probably true.

So find all of the grittiest, stinky, poop stained underwear you can find and dig out all of the dirtiest, putrid socks that you have hidden in the deep crevices of your rucksack and put this smelly barrier wall right at the opening of your backpack. There is a good chance that the customs inspector will pass you right through rather than play around into your filth.

Perhaps customs guards really are human, too.

I accidently discovered this tip while traveling in South America some years ago, and have used it ever since. It works.

So, if you know that you may soon cross a border, do not Wash Your Laundry While You Shower in order to save up a stinky mass of underwear to scare off even the most stern faced of customs officials.

There you have it, how to use dirty underwear – Vagabond Journey travel tip #17.

As always, take this tip and use it, adapt it, and share it, or scoff aloud and deem it foolish.

Thank you for reading.

Walk Slow,


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Filed under: Clothing, Travel Tips, Visas

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3170 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Puketi Forest, New ZealandMap