International Travel Advice

Last week, the US Department of State posted a well-meaning warning about overseas travel, but they are not alone, as this article from last weeks i paper explains:

“The US Department of State was forced to issue an apology on Wednesday after posting a tweet saying that unattractive people are more  likely to be robbed when abroad. The tweet – which read: “Not a ’10’ in the US? Then not a 10 overseas. Beware of being lured into buying expensive drinks or worse – being robbed” has since been deleted after it was accused f being sexist and offensive, which many critics taking to Twitter to condemn or lampoon the bizarre advice.

Naturally, it wasn’t long before parody accounts popped up tweeting similarly ridiculous guidance “IF you are a ‘3’ in the US you must carry a ‘handwritten’ letter of apology with you in order to travel,” read one tweet, while another joked: “Before travelling, if you aren’t certain whether you’r e a10  good test is to ask yourself if you’ve ever felt bad looking at a magazine.”

The ill-phrased advice was, however, well-intentioned. The Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs has been running a campaign advising youngsters heading overseas for Spring Break.. on how to stay out of trouble when they go abroad. The department has since reiterated that the tweet was originally meant as a warning against foreign scams initiated by either flattery or alcohol – or perhaps both.

Interestingly, though, it transpires a number of other countries authorities have,in the past, issued equally unusual advice for citizens travelling to America. … Germany… proffers this useful tip for its wanderlusting citizens: “In the US, repeatedly following or repeatedly harassing another person, called ‘stalking’, is punishable by law.” German authorities also remind German citizens that in some US states nudity is considered “indecent exposure” and classed as a criminal offence.

In China, travellers to the States are rather sweetly advised to “Take good care of flowers and trees” .. as well as being warned not to push into queue. “Failing to observe this convention could lead to unnecessary disputes,” the Chinese authorities rightly caution.

Curiously, Russian citizens are reminded by their government that in some parts of America “the majority of people prefer to keep their doors closed,”…Russian travel advisories also get quite sassy about the classic “American Dream” ideal, telling Russians that in the US “inequalities in socioeconomic status between rich and poor are no lesser than in any other country in the world.”

.. Austrian citizens – accustomed to the clean, fresh taste of Alpine water – are warned about the unusual flavour of American tap water. “Tap water is usually considered – albeit not very tasty (chlorinated) – as safe to drink”.

…Unsurprisingly, a number of countries notify their citizens about america’s infamous gun policy. Canada reminds travellers that “The possession of firearms and the frequency of violent crime are generally  more prevalent than in Canada”, while Germany explains just how easy it s to obtain a gun and wisely advises tourists: “Should you be the victim of an armed robber, do not try to fight back.”

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