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Country travel advice  

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If you are planning to travel abroad there is a variety of information and advice available, including advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about travel around the world.

Cultural awareness

Appreciating cultural and legal differences can help you avoid potentially embarrassing or difficult situations.

Here are a few tips:

* get a good guidebook and find out about local laws, customs and culture
* take a phrase book
* respect local customs and dress codes, think about what you wear and how you fit in
* be discreet about your views on cultural differences and behave and dress appropriately, particularly when visiting religious sites, markets and rural communities
* you should take particular care not to offend Islamic codes of dress and behaviour with regards to sexual relations, alcohol and drugs - in some countries, for example, it is illegal to drink, and importing alcohol into the country can lead to severe penalties
* always ask an individual's permission before you take a photograph and respect their wishes - in some cultures, taking a woman's photograph can cause great offence
* don't haggle too aggressively, in most countries where haggling is the norm, it is done with humour and not for too long - it is important to remember that the discount you are haggling over could be a few pence for you, but a significant means of income for a seller
* it is best to err on the side of caution - behaviour that would be regarded as harmless elsewhere can lead to serious trouble

Notice of potential threats

You can check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) website for its travel notices. These help you avoid trouble by providing information on potential threats to your personal safety from political unrest, terrorist activities, lawlessness, violence, natural disasters, epidemics, as well as giving information on local laws and entry requirements.

The information is reviewed every month and at the time of any significant incident. When an area has a developing crisis, the advice is updated more often, sometimes several times a day.


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