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Don't be like a celebrity


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This is a Student Travel Writer 2018 competition entry


We all love to semi-stalk our favourite celebrity or TV idol, whether it’s the way they dress, talk and walk, or where they holiday.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have stated that 33% of 18-24 year olds are influenced by celebrities when preparing for holidays, and 30% state that celebrities inspire their travel destination.

Being a fan of something may not be dangerous, but acting like them can lead you to places you didn’t expect. Especially when you act like they do on holiday: you may end up spending the last night away in prison – or worse.

A perfect example of a celebrity getting a little unwanted heat is Jennifer Lawrence, when she admitted to scratching her itchy bum on some sacred rocks in Hawaii! Of course, she was unaware of the importance of those rocks and what degree how disrespectful this would be to the locals.

Royals don’t get ignored either. Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, has broken French privacy laws by being topless in the country. Although the pictures were taken without her consent, and the real damage came to the magazine publishers, she had still broken the strict French law.

Celebrities aren’t immune to breaking local laws and customs when travelling, but this is one aspect where you definitely should not imitate them. To avoid the trouble they have been in, you can educate yourself on what you can and cannot do abroad.

The following points may give you a heads up, but please check the FCO Website thoroughly before you book your holidays, as the local laws and customs of that country may even play a part in changing your destination altogether.

1. UAE: Swearing and making rude gestures (including online) are considered obscene acts and offenders can be jailed or deported.

2. Thailand: You can’t bring vaporisers, such as e-cigarettes, e-baraku or refills into Thailand. These items are likely to be confiscated and you could be fined or sent to prison for up to ten years if convicted.

3. Greece: Indecent behaviour, including mooning, isn’t tolerated and could result in arrest and a fine or a prison sentence.

4. Sri Lanka: The mistreatment of Buddhist images and artefacts is a serious offence, and tourists have been convicted for this. British nationals have been refused entry to Sri Lanka or faced deportation for having visible tattoos of Buddha. Don’t pose for photographs standing in front of a statue of Buddha either.

5. Japan: The use or possession of some medicines like Vicks Inhalers or painkillers containing codeine is banned in Japan and can result in detention and deportation.

6. Turkey: It is an offence to insult the Turkish nation or the national flag, or to deface or tear up currency. If you are convicted of any of these offences, you could face a prison sentence of between six months and three years.

7. Spain: Causing a forest fire is treated as a criminal offence in Spain even if unintentional.

8. Australia: Australia has strict quarantine rules to keep out pests and diseases that could affect plant, animal and human health. Breaches of quarantine regulations can result in large fines.

9. Ukraine: Smoking and drinking alcoholic drinks in public places (including transport, bus stops, underground crossings, sports and government establishments, playgrounds and parks) is officially banned.

Happy (safe) travelling!

In order to provide no entrant with an unfair advantage, Student Travel Writer 2018 competition entries are edited for grammar only - stylistic choices and headlines are solely the work of the writer in question and not of The National Student's editorial staff. 

Image credit: CC BY-SA 2.0  


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