Stay Safe Abroad

While most Irish citizens enjoy trouble-free holidays, it is important to remember that outside Ireland, you are less likely to be familiar with local conditions and risks. To stay safe and secure abroad, and to be prepared in case things go wrong, it is important to take a few simple precautions while you are away.

Below is a checklist of things to do to ensure that your time abroad is enjoyable and hassle-free. Read the advice under each heading and take any follow-up action in good time before your departure.  


Please be aware of your personal security and take the same commonsense precautions as you would at home.  You are advised to follow these security tips while abroad:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and pay close attention to advice from security authorities.
  • Be aware of local political or other developments that might affect your security.
  • In areas of civil unrest we advise travellers to exercise caution and avoid all protests and demonstrations which can turn violent with little or no warning.                                                  
  • Keep a lookout for people acting suspiciously or unattended packages in public places.       
  • Limit the amount of cash you carry by using travelers’ cheques, Euro cheques or international credit cards.                                                                                                                                
  • Seek advice locally about areas of risk. At night, avoid dark or isolated places.                          
  • Plan the routes of car journeys in advance; keep car doors locked; do not give lifts to hitchhikers; and park in safe and well-lit areas.
  • Leave your jewellery and valuables at home if you can.                                                  
  • Have a copy of the information page of your passport.


You are advised to obey local laws and customs. Remember that what is legal in Ireland may not be permitted in the country you are visiting.

  • Do not overstay the period of your permitted visit.
  • Do not work illegally. If you are caught doing so, you may be imprisoned or deported and you may be barred from entering the country again in the future.
  • Be sensitive to local culture and customs. Do not behave in a manner that might cause offence to local people, especially in public places.
  • Respect local dress codes, particularly in Islamic countries.
  • Remember that any efforts you make to speak the local language will be greatly appreciated.
  • In some cultures, it may cause offence to take someone’s photograph without their permission or, in the case of children, that of their parents. If in doubt, ask first.
  • Photographing police or military personnel or installations (including aircraft – ‘plane-spotting’) can cause problems in some countries. Check carefully before you engage in these activities.


You are advised not to use, purchase or carry prohibited drugs for any reason whatsoever. In some countries, the penalties for drug offences are very severe and prison conditions are very harsh. Always pack your own bags and never leave your luggage unattended. Never carry items for others.

If you have an accident or injure yourself while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is unlikely that your insurance policy will cover you.


Respect local laws and attitudes relating to alcohol and know your limit. Remember that excessive consumption of alcohol may cause offence and will reflect badly on your country, as well as on you personally.  Please be aware that you are more likely to have an accident whilst drunk and your travel insurance policy is unlikely to cover you in such circumstances.

You are advised not to bring alcohol into countries where it is forbidden, or purchase or consume alcohol in such countries. The penalties for this may be severe. 


Certain Irish criminal laws, such as those relating to the bribery of foreign public officials, apply to Irish nationals overseas: Irish nationals who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Ireland. 


Keep your passport and travel tickets in a safe place. Bring a photocopy of the personal information pages of your passport and carry it with you at all times.


Make a note of the address, telephone number and opening hours of the Irish Embassy or Consulate  in the country you are visiting. If you wish, you may leave details of your travel plans with them in the event that you need to be contacted urgently.

In countries where there is no Irish Diplomatic or Consular representation, you may seek emergency assistance from Embassies or Consulates of other European Union countries.

If there is a natural disaster or terrorist attack in the country you are visiting, contact your family at home to let them know you are safe. Even if they know you are well away from the scene of the incident, they will be concerned for your safety and will appreciate confirmation that you are not in danger.


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