Respecting other cultures
Before you end up in a crumpled, drunken mess on the side of the pavement (or a police cell), wise up and learn about local laws and customs.
Get away from it all
A week or two away with your mates - sun, clubs and lots of booze, right? After all, if you can't let rip a little on holiday when you don't have to worry about a banging hangover for work the next day, where can you do it? The problem is, us Brits have earned ourselves a bit of a dodgy reputation when it comes to our behaviour abroad, and more often than not we end up drowning ourselves in drink, swearing at strangers and puking on pavements. Mmm lovely.
Enjoy the ride
With the kind of 'buy one shot, get the rest of the bottle free' deals you find on holiday, it's hard not to turn every night into a bit of a session but many overseas authorities are now catching on to the kind of problems young tourists can bring to their countries, and like it or not, they're starting to crack down. This means having to do a bit of swotting up before you go. In most countries this just means using your common sense, but some more popular resorts, like Faliraki in Greece, have experienced so many problems with holiday-makers getting drunk and aggressive that they have started imposing some severe bans. Bar crawls, stripping, drinking and sex games are all out of the question - even pulling a moonie could result in a whopping £3,000 fine.
Do your homework
It may all sound a bit harsh, but when you think about how many of us descend on popular holiday destinations each year, all set to party till we drop, it doesn't take long for a stunning paradise to turn into little more than a sunny equivalent of Blackpool. Have fun, but have respect, too. Do your bit and:
- Stop to think about the local people in the area where you are staying and how your presence there affects them. Although you know that the abuse you are shouting at your mate is tongue-in-cheek, locals may not.
- Think about the impact so many people arriving in your town would have there and act accordingly.
- Remember that the laws in the country you are visiting will often be entirely different to the ones you are used to in the UK - acting like you are still at home could get you into all kinds of trouble.
- Get hold of a good guide book and do some research on the internet before you go try to learn about local laws and customs so you can blend in rather than stand out while you're there.
- Don't just assume that people will clear up your mess be responsible for your own litter (yes, that includes empty Vodka bottles - bin 'em).
- Rolling around half naked on the beach may be your idea of fun, but the local policeman may disagree. Check out the local customs and dress codes even if no laws are in place; not respecting customs can cause offence.
- Planning on taking drugs? Make sure you swot up first.
- If you can't be good, at least know where to turn when it all goes tits up. The British Consul is a good first point of contact.
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