Approximately 6,000 British nationals are arrested abroad every year.

Some may escape with a fine or a night in a police station, but many end up with a prison sentence that has to be served in the country they were detained in.

Prisoners Abroad works with over 1,500 prisoners in 98 countries across the world. Many are held in appalling conditions, sleeping in dirty overcrowded cells with barely enough to eat or drink.

Some are arrested for actions they didn’t even know would be considered crimes, simply because they aren’t aware of the laws and customs of the country they are in. These arrests can be easily avoided if you make sure you are #TravelAware.

Your organisation is one that I never thought I would be using, but it has turned out to be invaluable.

Travel Aware is a campaign that we have run in partnership with the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) to make people aware of information that might prove useful whilst travelling abroad.

Brits often travel around the world; in search of hotter weather, to enjoy winter activities such as skiing or to simply explore different countries and cultures. To ensure you have a great time and don’t get into trouble while you’re away, it is worth taking some time to look up your destination. As international travel slowly begins to resume in 2021, it is especially important to be aware of local laws and customs on top of new entry requirements.

An updated word from Pauline Crowe, our CEO:

We know that many people are very eager to travel abroad again now that COVID-related restrictions are easing. They want to get out and enjoy themselves but I hope they will do so with due respect to changed laws and regulations in addition to the consideration we recommend that visitors give to a country’s customs.

All around the world laws and customs can differ greatly from the UK’s, and visitors should be respectful of them at all times to ensure they do not cause offence or get arrested.

It takes a matter of minutes to look at the advice the FCDO has to offer; minutes that could save you months of grief by preventing you being detained for something you were unaware was a crime.

People should enjoy themselves when travelling and come home with happy memories that last a lifetime, not having served a sentence that will take a lifetime to forget.

Our message is the same as always – do your research before you travel and if you find yourself in a situation that makes you feel uneasy or anxious, walk away immediately.

Revisiting Country of the Month - do you know about the local laws and customs in these top-ten countries? 

Planning a holiday? Visit the FCDO website for travel advice to check if travel is permitted.