Keep Legal Issues In Mind When Travelling Abroad

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Always good to be aware of things when travelling. Great notes from Michael on keeping safe while travelling, aware and informed. 

Travelling abroad can be an exhilarating, even life-changing experience, allowing you to sample different cultures and try new things. If travelling with children, it represents a great way for them to learn more about the world, perhaps even planting a seed of wanderlust that will continue growing throughout their lives.

However, no journey is without its dangers, and this can be amplified in a foreign country where you may not speak the language, be unaware of local customs and ignorant to certain laws of which you could fall foul. It is therefore important you consider the legal aspects of your holiday as well as the fun and adventurous bits. This could range from anything such as meeting requirements to enter a country and respecting cultures, to understanding your rights should you find yourself in trouble, such as suffering an injury abroad. That's why I believe it's important to be prepared before any trip away and I've put together a few thoughts on what you can do, so that you can make the most of your time abroad, whilst also staying safe and in step with the country you're visiting.  

Research Your Destination

While most people will make a point of researching their destination to decide where to go and what to do, some may not delve deep enough, and fail to research a country's cultures, traditions and laws. Firstly, all travellers should check whether or not it is safe to travel to the destination they have chosen. Certain countries may be experiencing political or economic troubles, and this can result in warnings against travelling to these locations.

You should also take the time to educate yourself on cultural expectations. While forgetting some customs - although not advisable - may be forgiven, failing to remember others can have serious consequences. For instance, restrictions on alcohol consumption or dress codes in certain settings are taken very seriously, and you could find yourself in hot water should you not abide by the rules.    

A lot of this, however, comes down to common sense and good manners. Being considerate to others and taking the time to research a particular location can reduce the risk of angering or offending those who live there. What's more, any good travel guide should make it clear if there are any behaviours you should definitely avoid in certain locations. 

Get Yourself Organised

Getting organised before your trip will allow you to make the most of your time away. Putting together an itinerary is always a great way to figure out what you are going to do and when, but getting organised also means ensuring you have everything you require - including the right documents - before setting off.

In particular, you will need to ensure you meet all the correct legal requirements for entering a country. This will likely include your passport and could require you to obtain a travel visa or to have certain vaccinations. It is also advisable to make sure you have appropriate travel insurance should anything go wrong, such as a missed flight, lost possessions or an injury or illness.

Know Your Rights

It is also advisable you have an understanding of your legal rights while abroad. Taking injury as an example, it may be that you are able to claim compensation if you are hurt or ill on holiday through no fault of your own. If you are injured either doing something organised by or in a place booked through a tour operator, such as at an all inclusive resort, you may be able to secure recompense for any pain, suffering or financial costs you've experienced thanks to your mishap. 

The law in this area can be complex, and it is important you seek expert help to iron out all of the details. For more information, see this report that my colleagues and I at JMW Solicitors have compiled.  

Research and common sense, coupled with respect for different cultures and different ways of doing things, should therefore stand you in good stead while abroad, making sure your holiday is remembered for all of the right reasons. 

JMW Solicitors are one of the leading law firms in North West England and beyond, who specialise in helping those who have suffered accidents and illness abroad. It has compiled this report to help travellers better understand their legal rights on holiday. Michael Walker is the head of the holiday claims team and has a great deal of experience in dealing with incidents arising from food poisoning, slips and trips in hotels, accidents on planes and boats, and overseas car accidents.  

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