A Guide to Travelling and Local Law

Every year there are millions moving through Australia’s airports, incoming tourists and outbound travellers. For many of them, some simple knowledge could prevent misunderstandings or even accidents. Regardless of your purpose for going overseas, it is important to understand the local laws and remember a few tips. It could save you later headaches!

Before you go:

The most important step actually happens long before you set out on holiday. The better prepared you are for the trip, the less chance of something going wrong. Research the country or region you are going to using reliable and informative sources, like government websites or travel booklets. One of the most important aspects is to discover what culture and law changes will have the most impact on your trip.

While you are away:

When it comes to any type of law, pleading ignorance is not an acceptable excuse. Most travellers are also bound by both the country they come from as well as the one they are travelling to. While it seems confusing at first, the best strategy is to the always follow the stricter law.

• Local Law
Regardless of what country you are travelling to and your own country’s stance on certain laws, be aware that all the local laws and penalties do apply to you.

• Drugs
While travelling internationally, never get involved in using or carrying drugs. Local laws can differ greatly from each other and may seem harsh compared to your own country. Some countries can even impose the death penalty or life imprisonment.

• Criminal Laws
When travelling overseas, certain Australian criminal laws still apply to Australian citizens and residents. These include those like terrorism, money laundering, and bribery of foreign public officials. The consular assistance offered to overseas Australians, does not protect you from the consequence of these actions and the officials must report any criminal misconduct to the Australian Federal Police.

• Respect local culture
Whether you are travelling internationally, interstate or even to a neighbouring town, it is important to respect the local cultures and customers when travelling. For Australians travelling interstate, this is relevant when visiting historical and sacred indigenous sites.

• Family Law
Even when travelling within Australia’s different states, keep in mind the different varying rules that can change when crossing the border. Some states have different regulations on marriage, pregnancy and can even affect custody agreements.

Keep in Touch

Regardless if your holiday is staying in luxury accommodation in Tasmania, or backpacking across the Northern Territory, ensure someone knows where you are going and how to get hold of you. Not only does this help prevent a lot of stress and worry for family or friends, but it can also make it easier to reach you in an emergency.

As always, be aware of your rights and the laws that apply to your actions when travelling, regardless if your journey is a quick interstate holiday or a long overseas journey. Sometimes simple research can be what stands between you and breaching a local law.

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