Revellers enjoying Australia Day overseas this year have been warned to keep their celebrations in check, or they risk paying a hefty price.
From fines to hospital visits, or even jail time, Aussies partying a little too hard could end up compromising their travel insurance says Claudio Saita, Deputy CEO and Executive Director in Australia for Tokio Marine, underwriters for World2Cover travel insurance.
“Breaking the law of the country you’re in can invalidate your insurance, leaving a potentially serious financial shortfall should anything go wrong,” says Claudio.
“For example, a night in intensive care in Canada can cost upwards of $5000 and the popular destination of Bali costing over $800 a night.
“When travelling overseas, our national day can feel far more important to nomadic Aussies than it would at home, where they may simply mark the day with a barbeque while listening to Triple J’s Hottest 100.
“This can see celebrations escalate but it’s important to remember that ‘shoey’ shots and other antics that may be tolerable at home can land you in major trouble and out of pocket.”
Whether you’re overseas or interstate this year, here are some handy tips on the best ways to stay out of trouble.
Know your barbecue etiquette
If you’re in India, you might want to stick to throwing shrimp on the barbie rather than a burger. In northern India, cow slaughter is illegal in all the states, and can even carry a prison sentence of 10 years in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, and Jharkhand, 3 or five years in prison and a fine of RS10,000 ($197) in Mumbai – even if in your own home or a five-star hotel.
Beware of a big bang
In Finland and Norway, fireworks are only allowed to be set off on New Year’s Eve, and in the US the laws governing consumer fireworks vary widely from state to state. Ireland and Chile have the toughest laws of all, with all type 2 fireworks, aka ‘garden fireworks’, only to be seen in professional shows. In Ireland alone, you can be fined up to €10,000 ($14,200) if you are convicted of having illegal fireworks in your possession.
Pack more than the flag
If travelling interstate, it’s worth noting that wearing the Australian flag is not “against the law” in our country, however event organisers are within their rights to ban you from a venue if you refuse to follow their house rules. In 2015, both NSW and QLD provided crowd control during public celebrations, asking anyone wearing an Australian flag as a cape to remove it citing “Tasers, pepper spray, handcuffs, whatever it takes,” to remove the offending accessory. It could also cost you up to $220 in Queensland if you’re arrested for being drunk and disorderly.
Maybe leave the budgie smugglers at home
It’s no secret that lawyers can be expensive, with costs of up to Rm2,000 ($600) per court appearance in Kuala Lumpur. The infamous budgie smuggler nine in Malaysia are a prime example of how being a general nuisance can land you in seriously hot water, with section 294(a) of the Malaysian Penal Code stating: “Whoever, to the annoyance of others: (a) does any obscene act in any public place; or (b) sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words in or near any public place, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or with fine or with both.”
Don’t get burned on the beach
Visiting the beach is a true blue Aussie tradition, but be warned breaking beach-time rules can be bad for your wallet. For example, in Italy it is now illegal to save your spot on the sand, with the coastguards confiscating any beach chairs and loungers left overnight, and issuing fines of €200 ($284) in some parts of the country.