We highlight how breaking often lesser-known laws around the world can get you into trouble abroad. We focus on a country each month. Don't get caught out - have fun and be Travel Aware.

December '19 Jamaica

Travel Advice

All prison sentences are served in Jamaica. Prison conditions are harsh. There are penalties for all drug offences, including those involving Marajuana ('ganja'). Every year many British nationals are arrested for attempting to traffic ganja and other drugs. Read more detailed travel advice

Article

You've been told - 'Don't be a Jerk in Jamaica' written by Isobel T

November '19 Cambodia

Travel Advice 

If you’re arrested and convicted of a crime in Cambodia you can expect a long prison sentence. Pre-trial detention can also last many months. The conditions in Cambodian prisons are extremely poor and overcrowded. This is not somewhere you want to get caught out. Ensure you are up to date with local laws and customs before you go. 

Article

How to keep calm and calamity free in Cambodia - written by Kiana Salamian.

Every wondered what life in a Cambodia prison is like? Read Guyannes article on captivity there. 


October '19 Peru

Travel Advice

Key advice from the Foreign office states: More than 10 British nationals are currently in prison in Peru, most of them for drugs offences. Drug smugglers face long terms of imprisonment and conditions in Peruvian prisons are unpleasant. Pack your luggage yourself and keep it with you at all times. Read what else you need to know. 

Article

Why are hundreds of foreigners incarcerated in Peruvian Prisons? Read the article. 


September '19 Indonesia 

Travel Advice 

Don’t get involved with illegal drugs. Possession, trafficking and manufacture of any illegal drugs are serious offences in Indonesia. The Indonesian authorities have a zero-tolerance policy and those caught face lengthy prison sentences or the death penalty, usually after a protracted and expensive legal process. British nationals have been caught and jailed for drug offences in Indonesia. Police often raid venues (particularly in Bali) known to be frequented by foreigners. Be sensible when travelling, read extensive advice

Article

The land of paradise - tips for travelling in Indonesia by Naina Mangtani.


August '19 Hungary

Travel Advice

Carry your passport at all times when in Hungary; you must be able to show some form of ID if requested. A photocopy is not acceptable. Hungarian laws on the possession and use of drugs are strict. Read more travel advice

Article

Are you hungry for Hungary? Read about how to stay safe when you get there. 


July '19 - Cyprus

Travel Advice

Cyprus has a strictly enforced zero tolerance policy towards drugs. If you are caught with any type of narcotic you will receive either a prison sentence or a hefty fine. Interestingly, 41.5% of the prison population is comprised of foreign nationals. Read more about how to stay safe whilst travelling

Article

The Prison Scene: how not to be behind bars in Cyprus. Read the blog by Kirsty Fitzpatrick. 


June '19 - Mauritius

Travel Advice

Punishments for drug smuggling can be severe. Trafficking and possession of any illegal drugs carry heavy sentences. Prosecutions take a year or more to come to court, with detention until the trial. Bail is not usually granted for drug-related crimes, regardless of the type of drug. Read more 

Article

Scott Angell writes about Trouble in Mauritius, and what you should look out for to stay safe. 


May '19 - Vietnam

Travel Advice

British nationals make over 280,000 visits to Vietnam every year. If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. The Vietnamese legal system is not well developed and the standard of prisons is very poor. You could be prevented from leaving the country for an unlimited period without being charged.

Article

Bethany McAtee on Holiday Ideas that are Illegal in Vietnam


April '19 - Japan

Travel Advice

Penalties for most offences tend to be more severe than in the UK. Detention, including for minor offences, is generally longer than in the UK and prison regimes in Japan are very strict. Check the Foreign Office website for more information.

Article

Read Bethany's tips for avoiding jail in Japan

Article

Matthew Fallon explores: Avoiding trouble with the law and what to expect if you are detained in The Land of the Rising Sun 


March '19 - The Netherlands

Travel Advice

British nationals make more than 2 million visits to the Netherlands every year, half of whom are visiting Amsterdam. Most visits are trouble-free. But not all are. Read advice from the Foreign Office on what to be aware of when travelling overseas. 

NB: Additional information on all European countries due to Brexit - important reading to keep you in the loop before and after 29 March. 

Article

Read Rhian's tips for how to stay within the laws in Amsterdam. 


February '19 - Italy

Travel Advice

Approximately 3 million British nationals visit Italy every year. Most visits are trouble-free but it is always sensible to be aware of any changes in the law or local customs when you leave the UK. 

Article

Read Caitlin Bodfish's blog advising (with a humerous twist) 'how not to get arrested in Rome'.


January '19 - Philippines

Travel Advice

Prison sentences in the Philippines are severe. The judicial system can result in long-term detention until a court hearing takes place. Detention facilities are far below UK standards. Don’t become involved with drugs of any kind. Penalties for importing and using illegal drugs are particularly severe. Read full travel advice on the foreign office website before you travel. 

Article

Detainees sleep at Manila City Jail in Manila, Philippines, Oct 31, 2018. Misery and overcrowding are worse than ever in the Philippines’ pre-trial jails, with guards so outnumbered that gangs increasingly keep the peace. 

Blog

Holidaying in the Philippines: what to know before you go. 

Ellie Collet writes about when a dream holiday could turn into trouble in paradise


December '18 - Thailand

Travel Advice

Check the local laws and customs prior to travelling to Thailand to make sure you stay safe. 

Article

A local's guide to Bangkok: travel like a local with these top tips. Stay safe and aware no matter how you experience different places. 

Blog

I'm on holiday, so anything goes - right?! - Matt Gray writes frankly about how to be aware of local laws and customs. 


November '18 - Poland

Travel Advice

Updates and information about the things you should be wary of before heading to Poland. 

Offences, punishments and conditions

The drink driving limit is lower than it is in the UK, at 20 milligrams of alcohol to 100 millilitres of blood. You can be imprisoned for up to two years for this offence in Poland. Being drunk in public as well as jaywalking are also offences and these carry a fine. Prison conditions in Poland can vary, there have been reports of brutality used in prisons, with guards using excessive force when dealing with prisoners. 

Blog

Thinking about A Winter Break in Warsaw? Megan Hart has some tips


October '18 - Portugal 

Travel Advice

Taking an Autumn break? Last summer sun? Portugal might be the place for you, but make sure you check out the Foreign Office website for travel advice before you go! 

Blog

Read Lily Ross' blog about what to watch out for in Portugal.

Lisbon is slowly becoming one of the most popular European cities for tourists, and there is no mystery as to why. Gaby Heaton outlines the little-known laws there so you don't get caught out!


September '18 - Sri Lanka

Travel Advice

Read the travel advice on the Foreign Office website before travelling to Sri Lanka. 


August '18 - Denmark

Travel Advice

Denmark's local laws and customs section. 

Blog

Read what Imogen Hill has to say about Denmark's cultural quirks and obscure laws


July '18 - Russia

A popular country to visit this month due to the World Cup 2018. 

Travel Advice

Russia travel advice

Article

An article explaining that thousands of prisoners in Russia are to expect an early release under a new law that would count time spent awaiting trial towards a jail sentence. 


June '18 - France

France is currently one of the most popular destinations for British travellers, with around 17 million Brits visiting the country each year.

Travel Advice

Local laws and customs in France. 

Blog

France: five of the country's laws

Stories

Kenisha tells us how one bad decision changed her life. 


May '18 - Egypt

Travel Advice

Read up on the local laws and customs before taking a trip.

Blog

Look after yourself in Egypt by Emily Abbott


April '18 - India

Travel Advice

Find out what you should look out for before heading off to India. 

Blog

Five important laws and customs to know if visiting India as a woman - read the blog by one of our student ambassadors. 

Stories

'I try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud...as many people have been the rainbow smiling on my cloudy days'

Jane writes from India

Stats

We are currently supporting 18 people in India. Conditions in Indian prisons are often poor, which means there is a greater need for our survival grants which allow people to buy fresh food and clean water - essentials to stay alive and well.

Have a look back at our month focusing on prisoners for our 40th anniversary, which outlines the grants we offer to British people detained in developing countries. 


March '18 - USA

Blog

US: The Complex and Varying Marijuana Laws in the United States - by Michaela Hernychova

Statistics

We are supporting 243 people in USA at the moment, this is 24.3% of our client group. 

Stories

Desmond's story: he was deported from America in 2016, having been out of the country for three decades. 

Travel Advice

USA foreign travel advice - read before you travel


February '18 - Austria

Blog

Five tips from an Austrian - written by Zahra Rahman

Visiting Austria - here's a head's up from Laura Williamson

Travel Advice

Travel Advice from the Foreign Office


January '18 - New Zealand

Blog

By Emma Watkins on How to Travel in New Zealand, whilst staying #travelaware!


December '17 - Germany

Article

An ever-increasing challenge of communicating with loved ones

Blog 

Five ways to act like a native in Germany by Rosie Wright 

Statistics - people we are supporting in Germany

  • We currently have 32 British prisoners that we are supporting in Germany (making it 7th in terms of client numbers)
  • In most countries, prisoners with drug offences are typically the largest group. In Germany, however, 38% of current prisoners are detained on fraud-related offences (half of these being detained for tax-related fraud).
  • The longest sentence length of the people we are currently supporting is 15 years.
  • The average sentence length for current British prisoners in Germany is 9 years
  • This year, 9 detainees in Germany have received language learning materials to help them communicate in prison.
  • Provision for healthcare for prisoners in Germany is generally good – although people who have no form of insurance are asked to cover part of the cost. Prisoners Abroad has only made one Medical Fund payment to a prisoner in Germany in the past 4 years.

Link to the foreign office website 

Local laws and customs information 


November '17 - Australia

Blog

An Aussie's guide to the Ashes - read Beth's blog about travel to Australia this year

Stories

Mark's story 'the beautiful present'

Foreign office advice

Read the travel advice for Australia - updates on legality of e-cigarettes and updates on local laws and customs


October '17 - United Arab Emirates

Article

#makememoriesnotmistakes - read one of our student ambassadors blogs about Dubai travel

Foreign office advice

This month UAE is the focus - read their travel advice.

Stories

A quote from David Haigh, who we supported when he was imprisoned in the UAE. 

“Without Prisoners Abroad I wouldn’t be here. They have saved my life. Prisoners Abroad was there for me when no-one else was.”

Read more about David's story here


September '17 - Turkey

Article

In conjunction with World Tourism Day read our article about Turkey

Foreign office advice

This month we're looking at Turkey - download the prisoner pack. 

Stories

"The fact of knowing that there are people out there who have never met me but still care; people who do not sit in judgement or castigate; people who remind one that there is goodness in the world." MV - Turkey


August '17 - Spain

Article

Spain! Read about the laws and what to watch out for when travelling there. 

Foreign office advice

Our Travel Aware country of the month is Spain. Download the Foreign Office prisoner pack.


July '17 - Greece

Article

July's country of the month is Greece - read about the things you may not have known about in relation to being travel aware! 

Foreign office advice

Check out FCO travel - travel advice from the Foreign Office.

You can download the Foreign Office's prisoner pack for our Travel Aware country. 

Stories

“I would like to give appreciation for all your support … and especially for helping my family to visit. It was amazing to see them even if only for 20 minutes. In that time we could discuss your support and how it helped us to understand what we will be going through after my release. We believe that we couldn’t make it without your help and support. Thank you.” –A prisoner in Greece


June '17 - Croatia

Article

Our Travel Aware country of the month is Croatia! Read our article about what to look out for if you're out there. 

Should you be arrested in Croatia, you can learn more about which steps to take next here.

Foreign office advice

Going to a festival in Croatia? Read FCO travel before you go. 

Prisoner Pack - The Foreign Office has published updated guidance for British prisoners in our Travel Aware country of the month Croatia.

Blog

Or check out student ambassador Olivia's blog about drugs at festivals.


May '17 - Morocco

Article

Morocco Needs More Prisons to Accommodate Soaring Number of Inmates, Official Says.

During an intervention at the Justice, Legislation and Human Rights Commission in the House of Councilors, Morocco’s upper house of the Parliament, Mohamed Saleh Tamek, the Delegate General of the Penitentiary and Reintegration Administration, revealed that the number of inmates in the country has exceeded 80,000 prisoners. Find out more. 

Article

Travelling to Morocco can be an incredibly diverse and rewarding experience – although care should be taken to #TravelAware.

Morocco – Diverse Natural Beauty, Cultural Attractions, and Unique Laws. Find out what to look out for in Morocco.

Foreign office advice

Read the foreign travel advice for Morocco 

This prisoner pack is given to a British citizen in prison in Morocco

Stories

In the words of a family member of a man detained in Morocco:

‘He left when his son was 3 months old, now his son has met him and is able to identify him as his dad… Our daughter is very close with her dad; this keeps me going knowing that once a year she will be able to see her father’.

To read the story of Ray Cole, a Briton imprisoned in Morocco for homosexuality, click here.


For more information and advice, read about Prisoners Abroad’s Travel Aware campaign.