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Know the Laws of the Land When Traveling Abroad
If you intend to take a leisurely trip to a country other than you own, you need to know that the laws, rules and regulations of that nation are not going to be identical to your own. You need to make sure that you know what expectations there are of you as a visitor before you enter their space. Keep reading further into this article to discover more about this.
Every country has laws that are unique to it. Jaywalking might be a ticket where you live, but done by everyone in the busy city you are going to on another continent. Local religions, cultural taboos and customs are all different. Public displays of affection are common in the West, but can get you in trouble in the Persian Gulf. Know what is kosher and what is not. Online resources and tourist websites are great sources of information. Most of these countries want your visitation (and your tourist dollars) and might have some resources online to guide you.
Keep in mind that as much as laws are going to be different, so are the punishments for crimes. What might just be a fine or a ticket back home could be a jail sentence in another country. Worse yet, what might be jail time at home could be caning or even execution overseas. These are extreme examples, but you want to know about them to avoid them.
If you break the local laws of a country you are visiting, do not expect your home government to come to your rescue. Your citizenship in another nation does not provide you diplomatic immunity. Even diplomats with actual diplomatic immunity do not always get away with the things that you might think. As much as you expect foreigners in your country to abide by local laws, you must do the same when in foreign countries.
Knowing where to learn the differences in various destination laws is the real secret to success here, so you can avoid getting into trouble in the first place. As stated earlier, check online for government websites, particularly those of foreign governments. Not all nations have those though, so also check with the State Department or foreign affairs ministry of your local government for travel advice and warnings. Find message boards, forums and blogs of travel experts and those that have been to those places to ask questions. Even find local forums for the communities you intend to go to, if the language is one you are fluent in.
If you do happen to get into trouble, do not panic. Take advantage of all the rights that you have, and contact your local embassy or consulate as soon as you can.
Knowing the laws of the land that you intend to visit is an essential part of planning your trip overseas. Take the time to educate yourself on the rules and customs of where you are going to be so that your routine behavior does not land you in a foreign jail.
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