Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Strange and important details to know before yout travel to foreign countries!
OK...so you think you already know the basics for staying out of trouble when
traveling abroad, right? Observing the customs of the country or countries you are
visiting is courteous and appreciated, but did you know that there are some
“unexpected” laws in several countries that could impact your wallet...or worse? Here
are several of the craziest and most unexpected laws that I have come across in during our foreign travels....you might thank us later!
1. Not Flushing a Public Toilet in Singapore
Singapore likes to keep its street and facilities clean. Neglecting to flush could
cost you $500! Littering could cost up to $1000 and being caught chewing
bubble gum can hit you for $600! While the only penalty is a stiff fine, it’s
probably a good idea to respect the city’s wishes and keep that gum at
home...and remember to flush!
2. Feeding those pigeons in Venice
For many years, it has been a tradition for tourists to turn themselves into
human statues in St. Mark’s Square by holding out a handful of birdseed or
breadcrumbs...but, sadly, that practice is now illegal. Those who violate the
rule can be fined up to $700. The “residual” from the overfed pigeons is
actually, damaging the statues and building facades in the historical city. We
wouldn’t be too upset about this one, folks...we may have been “Christened” by
pigeons all too often in Venice ourselves, so we won’t miss it at all!
3. Wearing Camouflage on St. Lucia
St. Lucia is a gorgeous Caribbean island, often called the “Hawaii of the
Caribbean” because of its lush tropical greenery and dramatic mountain
landscapes. But, did you know it is illegal to wear any form of clothing with
Camouflage on it? Leave the camo at home...the good news is that you won’t
be sharing your beach umbrella with any of the Duck Dynasty gang!
4. Wearing stiletto heels in Greece or Rome
Okay, it’s not illegal everywhere (although I don’t know why anyone would
want to navigate cobblestone streets in spike heels), but if you show up to an
ancient Greek or Roman site in high heels, you may have to remove your shoes
and tour barefoot. In order to preserve the sites, the governments have
banned shoes that could do damage to the ancient monuments. That includes
the Acropolis (Parthenon) in Athens and the Colosseum and Forum in Rome.
5. Don’t smoke in Jamaica, mon!
You may be surprised to discover that marijuana is actually outlawed on the
island of Jamaica, mon. Since 1913, Jamaican law has stated that growing, use
or possession of marijuana is illegal. People caught with even a small amount
can face a lengthy prison sentence. So don’t worry...be happy...and don’t
6. No PDA in the United Arab Emirates!
Public displays of affection (kissing, hugging, or even holding hands) should be
avoided while traveling in the UAE...even it’s main city of Dubai. Tourists have
been arrested and thrown in jail for kissing in public. And, did you know that it
is “technically” illegal for non-married couples to share a hotel room? A little
harder to enforce, but a law, nonetheless!
7. Keep your top on in Fiji!
Fiji is a beautiful tropical paradise where sunbathing and swimming are part
of daily life, but don’t get caught with your top (or pants) down...Fiji is an
extremely conservative and Christian nation and public nudity and topless
swimming or sunbathing are illegal. Stay covered up and out of jail.
8. Going “commando” in Thailand
Thailand has a bunch of strange laws, but perhaps the most difficult to enforce
is the law prohibiting leaving your house without underwear on. Make sure
you take that into account when packing or plan on washing your
unmentionables frequently so you don’t run out! It’s unclear to us how this
could be enforced, but we don’t think we’d want to find out what the inside of a
Thai prison looks like.....would you?
Here’s one more; in France it’s illegal for men to wear a loose-fitting swim trunks. That’s why so many Europeans wear Speedos….this law dates back to 1903 and currently the French Parliament hasn’t updated it!
Be sure to familiarize yourself with some of these strange and baffling laws
before you travel...We can help you navigate this process. We appreciate our customers greatly, but we really don’t want to add “arranging bail” to our list of services!