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Addis Abeba International Airport is one of the biggest in the world meeting international standard. The airport is properly staffed, equiped with upto date information and security system. With several flight to and fro Addis Ababa, the aiport is among the busiests in the continent.

While you can find any of the services that are available in any international airport, there are some particular details that travelers passing through the Addis Ababa airport need to be aware of. These particular details, most of which are very important to know, are mostly related to the country's different laws rather than airport procedures. We hereby present you with some of the things you need to be aware of before flying to Ethiopia.

BEFORE TRAVELING: basic points to put into consideration before flying to Ethiopia.

1. CREDIT CARDS: Please realize that in Ethiopia credit cards are not in use widely. In the Addis Ababa Airport there are two ATM machines that you can use to extract cash: one at the arrival gate and another at departure. If you fly in with little or no cash hoping to use your credit card, please know that you might face difficulty in the case where the ATM machine at the arrival terminal is out of order. This will create unnecessary loss of time particularly if you are planning to pay for your visa upon arrival. ( Please go to Ethiopian Visa for more details). There are several banks, malls, supermarkets, hotels... where you can still use your credit card. Upon arrival however, it is always recommended that you keep some cash in internationally accepted currencies.

2. CASH: On the other hand having too much cash on you ( more than 3,000 USD) when you enter Ethiopia needs care and precaution. While there is no problem invloved if you plan to spend it all in Ethiopia, there are some procedures you need to follow if you plan on going back out with such amounts. The Ethiopian government has imposed strict control with regards to usage and illigal smuggling of the limited amount of foreign currency available in the country. If you plan to take back you foreign currency out of the country, make sure that you have informed the pertinent authorities at the airport that you came in with that amount. Upon informing you will be provided with a slip confirming that you came in with 3,000 or more USD and when you leave the country, you can show that the money is yours. Normally this is announced during your flight prior to landing. In some cases these information is skipped and/or might be annnounced while you are napping. In order to avoid complications, make sure you follow these simple procedures. If assummed that you a person is carrying significant amounts of cash at the security checks for which he/she cannot provide eveidence that they brought it in, it can easily be confused with smuggling and the cash risks being confiscated.

3/ DECALARATION: While there isn't much to be concerned about with regards to customs for tourists, carrying too much of the same item ( particularly electronics) might lead you to declare. Special care needs to be taken when it comes to medical drugs. If you have too many of these, make sure you have your prescription with you. Don't carry more medicine than you need as Ethiopia has a strict control over medicinal stuff.

4/ EXPENSES: unless you have a prearranged shuttle from the airport, you will incurr transportation cost when you step out. Keep small changes in your currency or change some of your currency to Ethiopian birr in the banks within the terminal to pay for your cab fare. Paying your cab fare with 100 notes( USD or EUR) will result in time loss as cabs may not have change to give you. ( please visit transportation in Addis for information regarding cabs from the airport and within the city)

5/YOUR SOUVENIRS: Lack of adequate control in the past has resulted in the illegal smuggling of priceless historical items. It has been a few years now since control has been imposed on specific kinds of paintings, books ( particularly those written on sheep skin), crosses... In particular big crosses made of silver, copper or different kind of metals which are exclusively used by priests in Ethiopia, attract tourists for their unique crafting. Some of these are made in such a way that they resemble ancient relics. Travelers to Ethiopia often buy these handicrafts to decorate their houses when they take them back home. Some well designed replicas of ancient crosses, with striking resemblance to the historical ones, can be stopped during scanning at the airport. We are not providing tourists this information to discourage them from buying such items: once they did and prior to their flight, they should go to the right authority where they will get written certification that their products are not relics. The process doesn't take more than 15 minutes.

6/ LUGGAGES: Every passenger boarding Ethiopian airlines is allowed to free carriage of 40 kilos. While many passengers used their allotted carriage weight to the maximum many tourist tend not to. When a tourists checks in, some passengers might notice that a tourists' luguage is below the alloted limited while theirs is over. In order to prevent being charged for their extra kilos of lugage, passengers might approach tourists and ask them to use their kilos. Out of kindness and with very little too lose some tourist agree to help and register a strangers bag or lugage as theirs. While helping others is a good thing some smugglers tend to exploit generosity and tend to put the kind traveler at risk. Particularly this is known to have serious risks in the case where a person not traveling with you asks you to deliver something for him/her. Though rare some have been accused of smugglingof drugs and other ristrcited items or complicity just for agreeing to lend a hand.


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