I always carry a backpack, it's my carry on bag. I have anything in it I want, with exclusion of sharp objects. NOT one person has asked any questions about that, and I am NOT a backpacker person.
We had bags packed once for Christmas items, we declared them, paid the high cost of the gifts, twice ( ugh ) and learned a lesson.
I now take things, unwrapped from original packaging, do not take extra things that would be anything more than what a normal traveler would and leave behind most of what I take along. It's all replacable and not anything I had to pay duty on to begin with.
My travels have become more pleasant since I started this.
I used to take things to everyone, toys, books, clothes, cosmetics, etc.
If ya gamble, pay the price. I don't wish to sound harsh, but if I don't want it or need it, I leave it behind, whether it's home or there.
We have traveled to Belize many times. There is access to most of what I was taking along, in their stores. Qualilty not necessarily the same, nor quantitiy.
BUT....giving money to those that needed something was much easier than carrying the product and paying for it twice, plus lugging it all over the country. ( books excluded, I take read and leave )
I love to tip with money. It's most honored everywhere.
I too am questioning the dreds. People that live there travel too, yep even those with dreds.
Jackie, I think you just had a tough time, travel light. Leave your underware home, take your snorkel. LOL