Alcohol and travel

Before you travel, make sure you check the alcohol laws of the area you’re visiting. Drinking alcohol is banned in some areas of Australia and in some countries. You should also know that it can be riskier to drink alcohol in some countries and when you travel by plane.

Travel in Australia

Drinking alcohol is banned in some public areas. The rules and fines that apply are different in each state and territory.

Before you travel, it’s a good idea to find out about alcohol restrictions. For links to the rules for each state and territory, see where you can drink.

Air travel

The effects of alcohol are greater when you’re at a higher altitude. Keep this in mind if you plan to drink before or during your flight. You should also know that it’s an offence to be drunk on a plane.

To find out more, read passenger clothing, health and behaviour.

Overseas travel

Alcohol laws in other countries

The legal drinking age can be different in other countries.

For example, in the United States and Indonesia, you cannot buy or drink alcohol until the age of 21. In some countries such as Germany, you can buy and drink low-alcohol drinks from 16 years of age.

Other alcohol laws can also be different. For example, in some countries drinking alcohol is illegal. Before you travel, check the Smartraveller website or with the foreign embassy or consulate in Australia.

Risks when drinking alcohol

Be careful when drinking alcoholic drinks overseas. It’s easy to become disoriented in an unfamiliar place when you’re affected by alcohol. If you’re on your own and get into trouble, you won’t be able to call friends or family.

Also be aware that in some countries:

  • tourists are common targets for drink spiking
  • alcoholic drinks can be mixed with harmful substances such as methanol, which can make you seriously ill and give you methanol poisoning

Before you travel overseas, check the Smartraveller website for advice and current warnings.

Bringing alcohol back to Australia

You can bring alcohol to Australia, but you must be at least 18 years old. There are also limits to how much alcohol you can bring back duty free. Find out more about bringing alcohol into Australia.

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