You may be a perfectly law-abiding citizen at home. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of criminal acts when traveling abroad. Laws differ from country to country. What may be completely legal or a minor indiscretion at home, could see you arrested abroad.
For instance, did you know that public displays of affection are illegal in the UAE? Or that showing your bare bottom can get you arrested in some parts of Australia. Or that saying bad things about the king can land you jail time in Thailand?
Getting arrested in a foreign country is not the holiday experience you’ll be looking for. Having to contact your embassy, explain things to family and instruct a lawyer are daunting tasks when you have to do them in your own country. Doing all of this in a foreign language and/or dealing with a legal system you have little knowledge of can be seriously overwhelming.
With that in mind, here are our five tips for staying on the right side of the law when you travel abroad:
Write Down Important Numbers Before You Travel
If you’ve been arrested or you’re being questioned by the police, you won’t have the same access to the internet to look up essential numbers. Look up useful contacts before you travel and keep them to hand. These include your embassy in the country you’re travelling to and any family phone numbers too.
Research Your Rights
Most police officers around the world are under obligation to read your rights to you if they place you under arrest. But if you don’t understand the language in your holiday destination or even speak just a little of the local lingo, you may struggle to grasp the legal terminology used. Knowing your rights before you travel means you’ll know if you have a right to remain silent until a lawyer is present. Or if you have a right to call your embassy.
Research Laws in your Destination
A little research before you travel could mean you never have a run in with the law whilst you’re away. Holidaymaker arrests often occur because the person in question wasn’t aware that they were breaking the law. Research unusual laws in your destination. Find out about alcohol laws if you’re planning on partying. And then be sure to abide by local laws whilst you’re away. What is considered a minor offence at home could be viewed much more seriously somewhere else.
Brush up on Traffic Regulations
If you’re driving abroad, it’s really important that you look up local traffic regulations. Besides whether you drive on the left or the right, there are many idiosyncrasies to consider when you’re on the road in another country. When should you indicate? When do you have right of way? Where can you park? Knowing how to behave on the roads will prevent you from getting fines or, as a worst case scenario, getting arrested.
Always Err on the Side of Caution
When travelling abroad it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Have respect for local laws and customs. Don’t be too brash or get too drunk. And try to fit in with the locals as much as possible. You want to have a good time but you don’t want to fall foul of the law.
Staying on the right side of the law when you travel abroad can be more difficult than you might think. Do your research before you leave home and learn about your rights to make your trip as enjoyable (and as legal) as possible.
About the Author
Lucy Taylor is an avid blogger who enjoys sharing her tips and suggestions with her online readers. Working as a legal expert at LY Lawyers, Lucy often helps people dealing with legal problems, addictions and crime.