Legal Issues You Should Never Ignore When Traveling

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Traveling abroad offers a whole new world of experiences. While others travel overseas to pursue a career or further their studies, most people go abroad for leisure. If given the opportunity to go to a foreign country, many would not think twice to say yes. But before you plan your next getaway abroad, know that the best way to prepare for the trip is to learn about the legal issues you might face when traveling.

Not many people would think about needing an immigration attorney they can turn to in case they get in trouble while traveling abroad. But in reality, many tourists find themselves facing legal travel mishaps while in a foreign country. Since cultures and laws can vary in every country, the best way to protect your rights is to do your own research and know a legal professional you can trust.

Let’s say you are traveling to the U.S. for the first time. The safest way to prepare for your travel is to check the Country Specific Information and know the contact details of your U.S. embassy. This way, you can better prepare yourself before traveling.

The following are legal issues worth knowing about before traveling.

Photography and Videography Laws

Many tourists can’t help but snap and take videos of everything they will see while on a trip. Who wouldn’t want to record the beautiful views and exciting experiences they might have while traveling? But then, it is important that you know what you are allowed to photograph or take videos off when visiting a new place.

Legal issues concerning photos and videos extend beyond copyright issues. Since you are most likely to post your recordings on social media, it is best to practice due diligence first. This way, you won’t get in trouble for simply wanting to bring home pieces of evidence of your trip.

Know that there are also rules and restrictions when taking pictures and videos on board. For one, you should only be recording personal events. Recording other people on the plane and airline employees without their consent can get you in trouble.  

Driving Laws

If you have plans on renting a vehicle, it pays to know your options first. Just because you own a driver’s license, you can already legally drive in other countries. It is best that you do due diligence to ensure your destination will allow you to drive legally.

Some states in the U.S. allow travelers to rent and drive a car with a foreign driver’s license. This is if your country and travel destination have a reciprocal agreement. There are also those states and car rental companies that will require you to have your foreign driver’s license and an international driving permit (IDP).

Aside from these things, you are required to have proof of financial responsibility or valid insurance. This ensures that you are capable of paying for any damages in case you cause an accident. Note that there is also a limit as to how long you can drive with an IDP.

Prescription Medication Laws

Your doctor may have prescribed you certain medications to help you manage your health conditions. But before you bring them with you on a trip, check your destination’s prescription medication laws first. Not all countries and states treat medications equally.

What is allowed in your country may be the total opposite to another country. You don’t want to get in trouble just because you can’t afford to leave your medications behind when traveling. For best results, consult with your travel agency and ask your destination country’s embassy for all your prescription medication questions.

There are times when they will require you to obtain approval so that you can legally bring them on your trip. This can take weeks, so make sure to do this ahead of time. Carry the signed letter from your attending physician, a copy of all prescriptions, and carry your medications in their original containers.

Credit and Financial Laws

Unknown to many, how you use your credit and debit cards matters, especially in foreign countries. You already know the financial consequences of maxing out your credit card when traveling. But did you know that in some countries, exceeding your credit limit can be a punishable offense?

You should not wait for someone to steal your credit card before reaching out to your credit card institution. It helps that you notify them before traveling to make sure your card will work in another country. This will help ensure your provider won’t suspend your card for suspicious activities.

Know that not all credit cards are accepted in the U.S. It also helps to know that having a few local currencies can be a lifesaver. While credit cards are widely accepted, some merchants located in tourist destinations require cash transactions.

Traveling abroad can be an exciting time for anyone. But before you do so, be sure to do your research and know the rules you ought to know as a traveler. This will give you better peace of mind knowing you won’t be violating any rules during your trip.

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