Approximately 5,500 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 is currently working with over 1,000 prisoners in 83 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.

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

This winter, Brits will be travelling around the world in search of hotter weather or to enjoy winter activities such as ski-ing. 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.

Have a look at our Country of the Month campaign - have you visited any of these countries?

Visit the FCO website for travel advice and select the country that you’re going to. 

When Prisoners Abroad decided to re-launch this campaign I looked back at my statement from two years ago, and my words are as true today as they were then.

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

 This year there are even more Brits travelling abroad than usual. As well as the usual summer holidays, there were two major sporting events on – the Euros in France and the Olympics in Brazil. Neither country was inclined to deal lightly with tourists who misbehaved. In the winter months to come, people will be planning holidays abroad for winter sun, or ski-ing trips with the family.

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.

 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.

- Pauline Crowe, CEO