Traveling can be a lot of fun. There are so many different countries and cultures to explore. However, traveling to these places without understanding the local customs and laws can get you into a lot of trouble.
There have been cases of travelers getting jailed for any number of reasons, ranging from things as simple as dressing inappropriately, taking banned medications into a country, making inappropriate gestures, or more severe crimes such as drug smuggling, assault, or even murder.
So, what are the best ways to stay out of trouble when you travel to another country?
1. Understand the Local Laws
If you are traveling to another country, then you need to do your due diligence before you leave. Understand the local laws and customs so that you steer clear of any legal problems when you are there.
You would be surprised to find out some of the laws in different countries. For example, it is illegal to stop on the highway in Germany. It is also illegal to jump into fountains in Italy. You can face severe fines if you are caught chewing gum in Singapore, and you could face serious jail time if you insult the royal family in Thailand. The list goes on and on.
2. Do Not Carry Banned Substances
Each country has a list of substances – and drugs – that are banned, and if you are found in possession of them, you could end up facing some serious jail time.
For example, a woman was jailed in Mexico for carrying Sudafed, a nasal decongestant that is available over the counter in the US. Unfortunately, in Mexico, it was a banned substance.
3. Register with Your Country’s Embassy
One thing you should do before you leave for your travel. Register yourself with your country’s embassy or consulate. This is because if you get in legal trouble in another country, your government cannot help you if there is no record of you being there.
By enrolling your trip with your country’s embassy, you will be connected to your government as well as your friends and family.
This is particularly helpful if you are facing serious criminal charges and may, for example, need the help of an assault and battery lawyer for an incident that you thought was a simple scuffle. A lot of younger travelers get into trouble this way. You would be surprised at how many young people end up facing harsh sentences and even incarceration because of these charges.
Helping citizens who have been arrested, jailed, or detained is one of the primary duties of an embassy, so they will have access to the right kinds of attorneys or lawyers to help you out.
4. Registering with International SOS
If you are traveling abroad on business, then it makes sense to register yourself with International SOS. This organization helps international business travelers in case they get in trouble while they are abroad. They will help you connect with a local attorney who also has knowledge of your country’s law, international law as well as local law.
Having a good lawyer is critical to your release
Local law enforcement authorities are not particularly sympathetic towards foreign travelers and if the language is a barrier, then explaining that you didn’t break the law, purposely becomes very difficult. A highly-charged situation can be smoothed over quickly if you have someone defending you in a language that the local law enforcers understand.
Ensure that you make your trip an enjoyable one simply by being informed and by registering with the relevant authorities who would be able to help you out in case of legal trouble.