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By New York Justice Thomas A. Dickerson,
 
July 17, 2013
 
WHAT TO EXPECT LEGALLY WHEN TRAVELING TO FOREIGN DESTINATIONS

EIGHT LEGAL TIPS WHEN TRAVELING ABROAD
 

Going on vacation this summer? Here are a eight suggestions that may help you avoid a nightmare to remember.

FIRST: Determine the incidence of criminal activity,terrorism and, yes, pirates at your selected destination and avoid all three.

SECOND: Read the fine print in the brochures and travel contracts that you enter into and act accordingly. Typically, this will mean determining the risks involved, responsibilities disclaimed and the need to obtain appropriate insurance.
Contractual clauses seeking to disclaim liability for the torts of independent contractors are nothing new and unless prohibited by statute are, typically, enforced. On occasion the courts may find liability shifting warranties of safety and assumptions of duties in brochure language. Recently, however, there has been an explosion of new travel contract clauses, e.g., requiring mandatory arbitration of disputes, allowing the filing of lawsuits in a selected and distant forum,
applying foreign law, and seeking to limit recoverable damages.

THIRD: Be very selective in the local sports activities (e.g., zip-lining, para-sailing, snorkeling and scuba diving) you participate in during cruise shore excursions or at foreign resorts. Typically, these services are provided by foreign companies not subject to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts,and which may be uninsured, unlicensed, insolvent,irresponsible and, worst of all, the cruise line or resort that recommends the local service provider and earns a commission doing so, may disclaim all liability for any injuries you sustain.

FOURTH: If you cruise, do so on a cruise ship that touches a U.S. port since you are protected by U.S. Maritime Law1 which, inter alia, requires that each cruiseship/cruiseline be subject to The Center For Disease Control (CDC) sanitation inspections11 and must report to the FBI any incident involving "homicide, suspicious death…kidnaping, assault with serious injury (rapes)" and shall also "furnish a written report of the incident to an Internet-based portal maintained by" the U.S. Coast Guard and accessible to consumers. For those who cruise elsewhere, such as those
unhappy folks who sailed on the Costa Concordia early last year, your rights and remedies may be governed by the Athens Convention or by foreign substantive and procedural law, not nearly as accommodating as that of the United States.

FIRTH: Avoid flying on foreign air carriers, intra-country, since you may not be protected by the Montreal Convention1and your recoverable damages, if any, may be very modest, indeed. In addition, many foreign air carriers are on the European Union's "Blacklist" which you should consult before you book.

SIX: If you sustain a serious injury, avoid using the medical facilities on cruise ships (which have consistently avoided liability for the malpractice of the ship's doctor). In addition, a cruise ship may involuntarily disembark you and transport you to a local medical facility with an uncertain outcome. Travelers may assume that when they travel abroad they are protected by the same safety standards and medical care available in the United States. The reality, however, is quite the opposite.
In many foreign countries the safety standards may be much lower; e.g., the plate glass in a Greek hotel lobby may be very thin; the windows in a Russian hotel may be less secure; a gas stove in a hotel may explode.

The quality of medical care may be much lower; e.g., a diabetic tourist may be misdiagnosed at the hotel and in a local hospital; a hotel guest may die from a heart attack because of a delay in calling for medical assistance. Best bet, use your evacuation insurance, get on a plane and fly home to the United States as fast as you can.

SEVENTH: Think very carefully about entrusting your children to the day care centers of foreign resorts or hotels. In Flanagan v. Wyndham International,27 guests entrusted their child to the "Kids Klub day-care program at the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort in St. Thomas" only to have her molested by an employee later convicted of sexual molestation. Taking your mother-in-law or another family member with you to watch after your children may be the best approach.

EIGHTH: Travelers need to behave in accordance with the laws and customs of the destination country. For example, "In Singapore, which places a high value on order, prostitution is legal but careless disposal of chewing gum can invoke fines up to $500. Jaywalking and spitting result in similar fines.
On the bright side, Singapore saves canings for more serious offenses, such as vandalism.
Sensitivity to another country's values is important, as Raffi Nernekian, a Lebanese tourist visiting the United Arab Emirates learned when he was arrested for wearing a skin cancer awareness T-shirt depicting Posh Spice in her birthday suit. Nernekian spent a month in jail. And Ireland, the land of creative invective, just passed a blasphemy law making it a 25,000-euro ($37,000) offense to say or print anything 'grossly abusive or insulting' about any subject held sacred by any religion."

By Anouk Ziljma

 
 
Finding out what vaccinations and immunizations you need before you travel to Africa is an important part of planning your trip. This article will help you find out what shots you need to get, where to get them, and which ones come highly recommended so you can stay healthy when you visit Africa.
Planning Your Vaccination Schedule
Some vaccinations, like that for Rabies, come in a series and you need to plan at least a few months ahead of your departure to fit them all in. Your regular doctor probably won't be able to give you all the vaccinations you need, so you should contact the nearest travel clinic for an appointment. Click for Travel Clinics in the UKTravel Clinics in the USTravel Clinics in Canada.

Finding Out Which Vaccinations You Need

The health situation in most African countries requires visitors to be up to date with all common childhood vaccines. This includes Hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and polio. If you are traveling with children, make sure they have had all their shots. You may also need to get boosters for tetanus, diphtheria and measles if you haven't had those in a while.

The following vaccinations are also highly recommended for travel to every African country:

  • Hepatitis A
     
  • Meningococcal meningitis
     
  • Rabies
     
  • Typhoid

Recommended Vaccinations/Immunizations per Country

Some African countries have actual entry requirements and won't let you in unless you have proof you've been vaccinated against a specific disease. The most common is yellow fever. Often, you need this only if you have traveled from a country where yellow fever is prevalent, so for those of you overlanding, it's wise to get the shot before you go. 

Here's a list of countries where yellow fever immunization is an entry requirement. Double check with the embassy of the country you are traveling to for the latest information.

Proof of immunization against cholera used to be a entry requirement for a lot countries but is no longer so. Many doctors agree the vaccine is actually quite useless.

Countries in Africa also differ as to which diseases are prevalent and you have to adjust your vaccinations according to your specific destination. While everyone should get the recommended shots listed above, to find out what you need to get per country see this health and travel web sitefor recommendations. Just click on the country you are visiting for a list of the vaccinations you should get.

Diseases to Be Aware of When Traveling in Africa
More Diseases to Be Aware of When Traveling in Africa

Doctors Without Borders

In 1971, a small group of French doctors was winding up its work in Biafra, the devastated and famine-stricken scene of the bloody Nigerian civil war. Providing medical relief there had sometimes been a tragically frustrating job. The experience left the doctors determined to find a better way to respond to health emergencies. What they wanted was a way for physicians to minister to suffering victims, unhampered by political, economic and religious factors. Out of that resolve came Medecins sans frontiers (MSF) known in English as Doctors Without Borders. Today, this is the world's largest independent, international medical relief organization. MSF maintains 5 operational centers in Europe and 14 national sections throughout the world, including one in Canada. Fax 604-681-6595 or send E-Mail . A Canadian, Dr. James Orbiski, is currently president of the MSF International Council, which has its headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The organization has a threefold mission. First, it supplies emergency relief in place where medical infrastructure does not exist or is unable to cope with the crisis. Second, it conducts medical research, mass vaccination and other public health programs in developing countries.

Third, it serves as the voice of the afflicted, speaking out about the plight of the people it helps. MSF's operating principle is to provide help to all who need it regardless of race religion, politics or gender. Fulfilling that pledge require a measure of sturdy independence. This is why MSF seeks donations from international agencies, private foundations and the general public. Since 1991, MSF volunteers have served in Rwanda, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Liberia, Angola, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Colombia and elsewhere. They have responded to human-caused and natural disasters-everything from shooting wars and the collapse of civil order to epidemics, famines and floods. The Kosovo crisis brought the organization into action again. To volunteer for service, make a donation or learn more about the work of MSF, E-mail:msfcan@passport.ca.


 Important Causes
Our publisher's history with worthy causes goes back a long way to his media days in Calgary and Edmonton when he handled the advertising and pr for major programs such as the Alberta Government Human Rights, Workers compensation, the Shrine Lions (Charity Sweepstakes and much more. Today through our own publications and web sites we can work on a much broader stage - the world. For more great causes, check our
Africa Web Site: www.africa-ata.org/great_causes.htm

Apples for Africa
At Aviation and Travel Media, we've enjoyed the privilege of working on some of the finest desktop publishing and general computing equipment in the world. Now we're focused on bringing the Internet and computer skills to thousands of eager students across Africa, whom we visit every year during our news gathering and educational trips.

Africa Travel Magazine, supported by Africa Travel Association's Canadian and Northwest USA Chapter. are launching a campaign to provide computers, software and on-site training to village schools, churches and local groups in Africa. Fax to 604.681.6595, e-mail africa@dowco.com

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