Sharing on social media while traveling and having the time of your life — apart from international spooks and those that have an aversion to letting the world know what they may or may not be up to — appears to be mandatory these days.

According to statistics, this constantly sharing (in some cases oversharing) while traveling is very much a millennial trait—you and your new-found besties having a drink in a quirky bar, you posing on a stunning picture-perfect beach wearing barely there swimmers, drool-worthy pics of luxurious accommodation, or getting up to antics that you would never dream of doing if you were on home soil. Most times, it's not just one mode of social media but uploaded repeatedly on different platforms such as blogs, photo or video-sharing sites, and networking sites.

Sharing while traveling can cause all sorts of grief: a potential thief knowing that you are not at home, having your nose in your mobile rather than being in the moment, or experiencing stress because not enough of your friends, according to your green-with-envy baromoter, are not taking enough notice of what you are up to. This sharing can also bring you unstuck with the law of the land in which you are. Tourists have been arrested for posting content online that a country deems restricted or banned. Whatever country you visit makes you subject to their laws.

Social Media while Traveling and International Laws - The Wise Traveller - Taking a video

The countries with the most restricted laws or the outright banning of social media include Eritrea, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Iran, China, Cuba, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Azerbaijan—not on the top of many bucket-list countries. But, some other countries also take a grim view on what can be shared, even if your setting is private. The temptation to use a personal VPN if in a country that has banned specific social media sites is not a way around the system, as it's likely that using a private VPN is illegal.

Tips to evade ending up on the wrong side of the law:

Nude or partial nude pics are a big 'no-no' in many countries. Obviously, the ignorant German female prancing around naked at a Hindu ceremony in Bali recently did not consider the ramifications of such antics when she put it up for the world to see on Instagram. All country laws differ on what is considered offensive or pornographic and carry fines, even jail sentences.

Posting about local social or political issues is outlawed in many countries. When you are a guest in another country, it's not your place to comment on topics of local concern, disparaging or not. Don't criticize the government, leaders, royalty, the military, or the police. And do not associate yourself by commenting on any political movement's social media posts. Keep your own personal political ideology for when you are in your home country. That is if your home country allows it—which wasn't the case for a Saudi female attending Leeds University in England. Upon her return home for a holiday, she was arrested for having a Twitter account and retweeting dissident comments—she was sentenced to a 34-year prison term.

Posting pics of restricted places or people can land you in hot water. Not many countries want anything to do with their military in the bright lights; some government buildings, political rallies, protests, and even religious ceremonies can be prohibited. And, you should be careful taking selfies if locals or a particular building is in the background. Many restricted places have signage stating that no photographs are to be taken, but some don't, so do your research or be guided by those around you. Flying a drone can be dangerous, as an Australian couple discovered when they decided to photograph near a Jajrood military zone. They got stuck into Evin Prison in Tehran for their Twitter misadventure. They had to wait for a prisoner swap deal to be released.

Unsecure networks are prevalent when traveling. Virtually anything you send electronically can be intercepted unless a network is secure. Don't expect privacy on any public Wi-Fi or even in your hotel. Only turn Bluetooth or Wi-Fi on when you use them, and keep them turned off at all other times. Ensure you always log out of websites with passwords and clear your browser history.

Extra tips to keep you safe while traveling and over-sharing:

  • Don't share your exact location—wait until you have left the area before posting.
  • Never post pics of your personal documents, such as a boarding pass, passport, or anything else with personal information.
  • Always sign out of your social media accounts to avoid anyone gaining access to look for information on you.
  • Research your destination's laws regarding social media platforms before leaving home.
  • Don't post anything in public mode; keep it to friends and family.

Gail Palethorpe, a self proclaimed Australian gypsy, is a freelance writer, photographer and eternal traveller. Check out her website Gail Palethorpe Photography and her Shutterstock profile.