Business Or Pleasure?

Last modified on August 31st, 2009

That’s probably the hardest question to answer nowadays for me when crossing the border. My life and my job are pretty intricately mixed nowadays, that it’s often hard to differentiate between the two. For example, when I went to WordCamp San Francisco, I was asked that question by the border agent. The conference I was attending definitely interested me on a personal level, especially since I have a personal blog, but clearly I can extract some business value out of it as well. So is it a business trip, or one for pleasure?

The problem with going down the business line is sometimes the border guys get a bit pissy when you eventually tell them you have US clients. Technically that’s fine, but sometimes they guys/gals can be a bit anal, and start asking to see contracts or what-not (if the client is near your destination city). My friend Dragos nearly got the anal probe one trip because he was going down to visit Cisco systems but didn’t bring a copy of the contract with him.

I typically just say it’s a personal trip nowadays, but once they start asking questions about what I do, things always get a bit dicey. I actually find the whole process a bit stressful, and it’s ultimately one of the reasons I got my Nexus pass.

6 responses to “Business Or Pleasure?”

  1. Keira-Anne says:

    What if your business is pleasure?

  2. Rebecca says:

    I just ask Dan Lilly.

    I went to that product showcase in NYC and as long as I was writing about the product on my *own* site or a Canadian site I was fine, I could put “Business” and not have an issue.

    However, if I was going to the USA to do business where a US company would pay me (say if I were to write about the trip for a US site) … then they would have issues.

    It all comes down t: are you taking money from American businesses or workers?

  3. Kimm says:

    Just say your going down for a mini vacation or meeting up with some friends.

    I head down yearly for thanksgiving and always get asked why I head down for thanksgiving when I’m Canadian.

  4. Tyler says:

    When I went down to the states for business, I was told to say I was going to a conference.

    The boarder guy at the airport said: Business Conference huh? Have fun! That’s the magic word!

    So off I went both times by saying I was attending a conference

  5. VancityAllie says:

    NEXUS is definitely the best way to go. I only go a few times a year but even then… totally worth it.

    Tyler is bang on though. “Conference” is the magic word!

  6. Milan says:

    yeah quite stupid question in some cases. Couple of years ago my cousin died in a traffic accident in Texas and my uncle was going to US to do paper work and arrange coffin transport and he was shocked in all grief he was in when he had to answer famous “business or pleasure questions”.

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