Knowing your alcohol limits when abroad


When you go abroad – for business or pleasure – you’ll probably at some point want to let your hair down and have a drink or two. Do you know what the local acceptable limits are, though?

Not everywhere you go will have the same (or similar) drink-drive limits, even if they’re part of the same group of countries. And not everywhere accepts the image of a woman drinking publicly. This can even vary between states in the same country. If you intend on drinking when you’re away from home, make sure you know what you can and can’t do.

Observe local laws

Not all countries in the world permit the sale or consumption of alcohol. If you’re not sure about what is or isn’t allowed in the country you’re planning to visit, then be sure to thoroughly check what the laws entail before you go.

It may be that there are variations between different areas of the same country. In India, for instance, some states have banned the sale and consumption of alcohol while others have no restrictions at all. However, there are certain days and events where the nation has a dry day.

Check age drinking limits

If you’re a younger traveler, you may be subject to the age restrictions on buying and consuming alcohol in some countries. So, it is best to check before you travel.

The age limit to buy alcohol in many countries is usually 18, but does vary between nations. Some of those include:

  • The US and Egypt, where the age limit is 21
  • Some European countries, where 16 year olds can drink alcohol (although this age limit may be higher for spirits)
  • South Korea, in which you need to be 19 to buy alcohol
  • Eritrea, where you have to be aged 25 and over

Drink-drive limits

Whether you’re away for work, or for some time to enjoy yourself,  there’s a chance you may need to drive at some point. If that’s the case, then make sure you know what the drink-drive limits are for the country or the state you’re in. It may be that there’s a zero-tolerance policy, or that the limits differ between novice drivers and the more experienced behind the wheel.

In Europe, for example, there are countries such as Austria, Cyprus and Germany where there are different blood alcohol content (BAC) limits for drivers with different experience. Others – including Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia – don’t allow for drivers to have any alcohol in their bodies when driving.

If you do get in trouble, you should know the difference between driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while impared (DWI). In the US, either charge can be issued whether you have alcohol in your system or you’re affected by something else – but is typically applied when the driver is not in a fit state to drive safely.

Be careful when drinking

The best course of action when you’re out, and you want to have a drink? Don’t get too drunk, and if you’re driving then you shouldn’t drink at all. You’re more of a target as a tourist, so not being drunk will help you to stay safe. Don’t ever leave your drink unattended, either.


About Author

Kelly Lewis is the founder of Go! Girl Guides, the Women's Travel Fest and Damesly. She's an optimist, an adventurer, an author and works to help women travel the world.

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