With winter fast approaching and wet weather set to drench Wales after an unseasonably warm September you might well be tempted to book yourself some winter sun.
In order to find those winter rays it can be necessary to head further afield than you normally would. While searching for that precious vitamin D it is important to read the travel advice so you can stay safe and enjoy your well-deserved break.
We have gone through all the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice to put together the most up-to-date travel information ahead of your trip.
Rich in culture, sand and sun Mexico is a great place for a break. More than 576,000 British nationals visit every year and vast majority of these trips are trouble-free.
Drug-related violence in Mexico has increased over recent years. This is concentrated in specific areas and some regions are almost completely spared. The FCO advise you to make sure you research your destination thoroughly.
The Mexican government makes efforts to protect major tourist destinations like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, and Nuevo Vallarta.
These areas have mostly not seen the levels of drug-related violence and crime experienced elsewhere in Mexico. However since 2017 there have been a number of reported shooting incidents and other incidents of violence in these areas including in locations popular with tourists.
There is currently an increased police presence in the Cancun area including in the hotel zone. While tourists have not been the target of such incidents anyone in the vicinity of an incident could be affected.
In February last year an explosive device detonated on a tourist ferry operating between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel, Quintana Roo. The explosion injured 20 people, including tourists. On March 1 local authorities found an undetonated device on another ferry operating on the same route.
If you’re visiting any of these areas you should monitor local advice, remain vigilant, and follow the advice of the local authorities and your tour operator.
There have been several instances of armed crime both within and outside tourist areas in Acapulco. If possible travel by air if you’re visiting a major tourist destination in Guerrero. Due to an increase in violent crime in recent months you should be extra vigilant in Acapulco and surrounding areas.
Oman is hot. Temperatures can reach as high as 27C in December and you are pretty much guaranteed to have sun every day.
The FCO warn that though the roads are good quality it can be dangerous driving outside Muscat. There is a risk of hitting wandering camels and goats on the road. Rainfall can cause sudden and severe flooding in dry riverbeds and on roads that cross them.
Several issues you could face in Oman relate to the fact it is an Islamic country. Homosexuality is illegal in Oman and you should see the information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
It’s also against the law to live together or share the same hotel room with someone of the opposite sex to whom you aren’t married or closely related.
The use of bad language and rude gestures is considered an obscene act, including while driving or on social media. Public displays of affection may get you into trouble with the police.
Anyone who has ever been to any of the 10 islands which make up Cape Verde will understand why it is becoming so popular.
Great beaches, scorching weather, and friendly people make it a great place for winter sun.
Crime against tourists is very low in Cape Verde but there has been an increase in reports of theft or loss of items from checked luggage on departure from Boa Vista airport.
Intercity bus services can be dangerous due to poor driving and you should use taxis called from hotels if possible.
Cape Verde is known as a water sports hotspot but sea conditions are sometimes dangerous. Take local advice before travelling by sea. Travel by sea to the southern islands of Fogo and Brava in particular can often be disrupted.
Take care if you participate in water sports, swimming, boating and fishing. Tides and currents around the islands are very strong.
Destination of the rich and famous, oil-rich UAE is popular with people wanting guaranteed heat.
However there are a lot of safety issues to consider, according to the FCO guidance.
According to the FCO personal attacks like sexual assault and rape are relatively rare but do happen.
In the UAE the law places a high burden of proof on the victim to demonstrate that the sexual relations were not consensual, especially when the victim had consumed alcohol or where the alleged attacker was known to the victim. If the sexual relations are determined to have been consensual both parties may face prosecution for the offence of sex outside marriage.
In 2013 a Norwegian woman who reported her rape to Dubai police was convicted of sex outside marriage and illegal consumption of alcohol.
Importing pork products and pornography into the UAE is illegal and videos, books, and magazines may be subject to scrutiny and may be censored.
Non-Muslim residents can get a liquor licence to drink alcohol at home and in licensed venues. These licences are valid only in the emirate that issued the licence. Residents must also get a permit to be able to drink in licensed venues.
Women should dress modestly when in public areas like shopping malls. Clothes should cover the tops of the arms and legs and underwear should not be visible. Swimming attire should be worn only on beaches or at swimming pools.
Public displays of affection are frowned upon and there have been several arrests for kissing in public. All homosexual sex is illegal and same-sex marriages are not recognised.
For many the Caribbean is paradise. Delicious food, friendly people and a passion for sport – what’s not to like?
However the FCO say there ware things you need to consider before jetting off.
Despite what popular culture may tell you it’s illegal to smoke marijuana (‘ganja’) in Jamaica.
There are penalties for all drug offences, including those involving ganja, and every year many British nationals are arrested for attempting to traffic ganja and other drugs.
Crime and violence
Crime levels are high, particularly in and around certain areas of Kingston and Montego Bay.
Gang violence and shootings are common although usually confined to inner-city neighbourhoods. Be especially cautious if you’re travelling to West Kingston, Grant’s Pen, August Town, Harbour View, Spanish Town and certain parts of Montego Bay including Flankers, Barrett Town, Norwood, Glendevon, Rose Heights and Mount Salem. The motive for most attacks on tourists is robbery.
Don’t walk alone in isolated areas or on deserted beaches, even during the day. Take particular care when withdrawing money from ATMs. Don’t carry large amounts of cash or wear eye-catching jewellery and try to vary which restaurants you use. Using the same place too often might make you a target for thieves. Also avoid using buses at night.
Morocco is great. So great that 700,000 people visit from the UK every year. Most of them have a perfectly safe time but there are things worth considering.
Petty crime is common, especially in tourist areas like the medina quarter of towns/cities and on beaches. Crimes include pick-pocketing, bag-snatching, and drive-by motorcycle theft of visible jewellery and handbags.
Be vigilant when asking for directions and using ATMs as crime and aggressive begging can occur.
According to the FCO terrorists are likely to attempt attacks in the country.
Two foreign nationals were murdered while hiking near Mount Toubkal in December 2018. Moroccan authorities arrested four individuals in connection with the murders, including one person they say had links to “an extremist group”.
Morocco is a Muslim country which follows Islamic laws and customs. Avoid public displays of affection, particularly outside the main tourist areas and near religious places.
Sexual relations outside marriage are punishable by law. It’s not uncommon for hotels to ask couples to show evidence of marriage at the time of check-in and, if such evidence is not available, to insist on separate rooms.
These volcanic islands to the west of Africa are part of Spain. The FCO doesn’t offer separate advice for them.
They do advise that some beaches, especially around Spanish islands, may have strong undercurrents.
Most of them have a flag system. Before swimming make sure you understand the system and follow any warnings (a red flag means you mustn’t enter the water). You should take extra care if there are no lifeguards, flags, or signs. Follow local advice if jellyfish are present.
You must provide photographic ID (your passport) if requested by a police officer. This includes the Guardia Civil and national, regional and local police forces. The police have the right to hold you at a police station until your identity is confirmed.
Ignoring direct requests or challenging a police officer may be viewed as “disobedience”, which is a criminal offence.
For security reasons some public authorities in Spain don’t allow the burka or niqab to be worn in their buildings. If you visit town councils wearing a burka or niqab you may be asked to remove it while in the building.
All countries have areas safer than others but in Turkey the differences are very stark.
British nationals made more than 2.3m visits to Turkey in 2018 and the situation has calmed following an attempted coup in July 2016.
The FCO advise you stay away from the counties south eastern boarder.
Most attacks have taken place in the south and east of the country and in Ankara and Istanbul.
The FCO say while it is possible citizens from western countries may be targets or caught up in attacks, particularly in the major cities, attacks are most likely to target the Turkish state, civilians, and demonstrations.
It’s illegal not to carry some form of photographic ID in Turkey. You should carry your passport and a printed copy of your e-visa (if applicable) or residence permit at all times.
It’s an offence to insult the Turkish nation or the national flag or to deface or tear up currency. If you’re convicted of any of these offences you could face a prison sentence of between six months and three years.
Pyramids, scuba diving and culture – Egypt has it all.
Large parts of the country are perfectly safe but there are some areas you should steer clear from.
There is a risk that tourists at high-profile sites like the Giza Pyramids may be confronted aggressively for money or business, even while travelling by car or taxi. Visitors using a pre-booked guide or taking an organised tour to visit the Giza Pyramids are likely to face fewer difficulties.
Local laws reflect the fact that Egypt is predominantly an Islamic country. Respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs.
This is especially important if you intend to visit religious areas. Dress modestly, especially in rural areas, mosques and markets. Public displays of affection are frowned upon.
It’s also important to be careful with what you say. Publicising strongly negative opinions about Egypt or making political comments, including about the President or security forces, can cause trouble with the authorities. In some cases derogatory comments on social media have led to custodial sentences.
Historically part of both the Carthaginian and Roman Empires, Tunisa is a history nerd’s dream.
However there are significant areas of the country that you should avoid.
The areas of the country you should not go to include the archaeological site of Chemtou. The political situation could be more volatile over the next few months due to elections.
In the coastal holiday resorts the dress code is very much like any European city or tourist area although topless sunbathing on beaches may cause offence. If you’re visiting religious sites or more remote areas of Tunisia you should dress more modestly.
You can’t remove antiquities from Tunisia without first getting permission from customs authorities. Failure to get permission could result in lengthy delays on departure as well as a fine and/or imprisonment.
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