The Most Expensive Souvenir You’ll Never Want

With Spring Break and St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner and summer travel on the horizon, there’s a good chance you will be celebrating with an alcoholic drink or two. While traveling usually means relaxing, abandoning all responsibilities, and collecting a few souvenirs to remember your R&R, there’s one souvenir you never want: a DUI violation.

You don’t need to be a wild partier to put yourself at risk of getting a drinking and driving offense. It can happen anywhere. In the U.S. or overseas when you rent a car. Here are the costs of a getting DUI in some popular vacation destinations:

United States

If you live in the U.S., you already know that you are driving illegally if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or higher. It’s always important to remember that you could get a DUI even if your BAC is lower than 0.08. A lot depends on the circumstances behind your traffic stop and if you have previous violations on your record.

Either way, a DUI conviction is expensive. While the fine itself may cost a couple hundred dollars, you may end up spending thousands after paying a lawyer, adjusting insurance costs, and other expenses.

Australia

While Australia is a friendly country where you might be invited to have a beer with perfect strangers, they don’t take drunk driving lightly. You can be convicted of a drunk driving offense if your BAC is 0.05 or higher. Depending on the circumstances and your BAC, you could expect to owe Australia up to $500.

Although you can rent a car in Australia, places like Melbourne have such a great transit system and rideshare options that you shouldn’t be putting yourself at risk for a drunk driving accident or a pricey ticket.

For the cost of a DUI offense, you could buy about 40 jars of Vegemite, a couple of authentic Australian wool sweaters, or 16 towels with a koala graphic.

Ireland

Kissing the Blarney Stone and having authentic Irish Whiskey in a pub in Ireland sounds like a dream vacation for many. Although the Irish are welcoming and happy to raise a glass with you, they get serious about drunk driving. Like Australia, if your BAC is 0.05 or higher, you can receive a fine that may cost you over 400 U.S. dollars.

A better way to spend 400 dollars would be to buy 10 Claddagh rings, 80 books by James Joyce, or 85 bars of Irish Chocolate.

Mexico

A popular vacationing spot for millions of U.S. tourists each year, Mexico is warm, sunny, and has delicious exports like tequila and avocado. If you decide to indulge in some alcoholic beverages while in Mexico, be aware that the BAC is 0.04 in many cities. The fine for drunk driving is a couple hundred dollars, but the costs when you return home may be much more.

For the cost of a DUI, you could buy 10 sombreros, 67 religious candles, or 14 hot sauce gift packs.

Always Know the BAC

When visiting a foreign country, it’s important to always know the BAC; you may be surprised that most countries have a lower tolerance than the U.S.

Not only are the fines like throwing away hundreds of dollars, but if you are convicted of a DUI while in a foreign country, you may be barred from entering again or visiting other countries. With the availability of various modes of transportation, there’s no excuse not to spend your money on a bus pass or a taxi fare.

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