There’s no doubt that you want to have a good time on break, and traveling abroad can offer just that opportunity. Though it can be the best time of your life, traveling overseas is not without its concerns. If you don’t research the laws of your destination, you can find yourself in trouble with the authorities. While you should make the absolute best of your holiday, there are some considerations to take while you’re living it up; here are five:
1. Don’t Accept any Packages
It may seem like common sense, but a Charlotte criminal lawyer has told us that drugs, guns and alcohol trip student travelers up at airports and border crossings more than any other items. While it’s perfectly reasonable to want to socialize with people that you meet during your travels, never accept a package from anyone that you don’t know, especially if they ask you to carry it onto the airplane or across the border.
2. Know When to Say When
World destinations like Tijuana and Amsterdam report that most of their arrests involving U.S. citizens stem from alcohol abuse. Make sure that you are aware of the legal drinking age of the city that you are in, and don’t drink if you are considered underage. If you are of age, know when you’ve had enough and stop drinking immediately.
3. Local Laws
My Charlotte criminal defense attorney will tell you that no other country has a legal system like the United States. In fact, in many countries, you are considered guilty until proven innocent. It’s important that you know and understand the laws in the city and country that you are visiting if you want to stay out of trouble. For instance, it is illegal to chew gum in Singapore and, in other countries; it is illegal to step on currency, even if it’s by accident.
4. Groups are Safer
If you can arrange it, tour your destination as part of a group. If you want to go out at night, find a few like-minded friends to go with you. Not only is it more fun to go clubbing with a group of friends, but it’s always safer to be part of a group. Being part of a group can keep you safe, and sticking with others can help to ensure that you aren’t falsely accused of a crime.
5. Don’t Attract Undo Attention
When you are dressing to go out, make sure that you dress respectfully rather than provocatively, especially if you don’t know the customs of the region. This is especially important for women who can be arrested in some countries simply for being immodest.
You shouldn’t be so worried about local laws that you don’t have a good time when you travel, but you should research the laws enough to be aware of what can get you in trouble with the law. Don’t take for granted that you are a U.S. citizen when traveling abroad; the truth is that the U.S. Embassy can only help you so much if you get yourself into a jam.
Shelby Warden is a mother of two children in college and pays particular attention to travel laws that may affect them. She is a legal researcher and regular contributing author for Criminal Defense Firm of Powers McCartan. Located in North Carolina, Powers McCartan places a high priority on our individual right to a fair trial.