August’s #TravelAware country is Britain’s favourite holiday destination. With 12 million of us flocking to the country every year, Spain’s stunning landscape and sun-kissed beaches attract adventure-seekers, urban explorers and party animals alike.

However, Spain is also the country with the second-largest British prison population, surpassed only by the USA—not counting the UK itself. Spanish prisons vary greatly between facilities; whilst some prisoners have access to education and vocational rehabilitation programmes, others endure overcrowding, unhygienic conditions and inedible food. Britons incarcerated in Spain often face additional issues, especially if they do not speak Spanish or are far away from loved ones.

Whilst those of us travelling to Spain this summer are unlikely to encounter problems, it is important to be aware of the risks which your visit might involve. Some actions which are tolerated in the UK are illegal in Spain, and a careless mistake could lead to a heavy fine or even imprisonment. This guide will help you #TravelAware and avoid trouble this summer.

Don’t lose out with a fine for indecent behaviour

If you like to let loose on holiday, make sure you follow local laws and customs to avoid a fine for inappropriate conduct. The following can all lead to a heavy fine:

  • Wearing bathing suits off the beach (up to €500)
  • Public intoxication (up to €600)
  • Defacing public property, i.e. graffiti (up to €750)
  • Misuse of public spaces, i.e. urinating or defecating in public, skateboarding in the streets, begging, juggling, or selling goods without permission (up to €3,000)

Don’t get caught out by strict drug laws

Although Catalonia recently reformed its laws  to legalise cannabis use within designated clubs, public consumption is still prohibited nationwide, and illegal distribution of all banned substances can lead to arrest and incarceration. The following are strictly against the law:

  • Consumption or minor possession of drugs in a public place (fines range from €600-€30,000)
  • Cultivation or distribution of marijuana, by an unlicensed individual (1-3 years imprisonment)
  • Production or distribution of more harmful substances (up to 6 years imprisonment, or up to 21 in case of aggravating circumstances)

Read the FCO’s travel advice for Spain.

Prisoners Abroad currently supports 112 British citizens incarcerated in Spain. Around half of these were convicted of drug offenses. We help them get through their sentences by providing grants for medical care, and travel grants to enable loved ones to make prison visits. We maintain prisoners’ mental health by sending magazines , books and language-learning materials, and fight social isolation with phone cards and freepost envelopes for those wishing to contact home, as well as Christmas and birthday cards for those with nobody else to turn to. In the UK, we help prisoners’ loved ones with family support groups, and help ex-prisoners resettle into the community.

“I do appreciate all that you do for me.  It isn't just the things you do, it's the fact that you're there—a link with home and people who care.” –A prisoner in Spain

Find out what to do if you or a loved one is arrested in Spain.

Read up on Prisoners Abroad’s other #TravelAware countries this summer: Greece, Croatia, or Morocco.