Avoiding legal troubles while traveling
October 25, 2017
Traveling to a new country is always a mind-opening experience. New cultures, new geography, new foods and new people all add to the richness of life. But, did you know you can be arrested for attempting to leave Russia with an antique you bought at a street market? Or that your tattoo of the Buddha could get you into legal trouble in Burma? And few countries tolerate illegal drug use or driving while intoxicated. Understanding the laws of your destination is critical to successful travel.
Always check local laws before you go
When you travel, you are subject to the laws of the country you are visiting. Guidebooks are useful sources of pre-travel information about local laws and regulations. The U.S. Department of State also publishes specifics on its Country Specific Information pages. Take the time to do some pre-trip learning. The time you spend will be well worth the effort.
Stay on the right side of the law
Follow a few basic guidelines to avoid breaking local laws:
- Learn about the laws of your destination ahead of time and observe them once you arrive.
- Once on the ground, carry your ID with you at all times. This is required in many countries.
- Do not carry marijuana with you, even if you have a medical prescription.
- If you’ve indulged too much, call a cab.
- Observe the locals, and act as they act.
If you do have trouble
Just call the 24-hour Emergency Response Center at the number on your SafeTrip travel ID card. Your personal emergency assistance coordinator will refer you to a licensed attorney nearby, can help with language translation, or can transmit an emergency message to someone at home.