Crazy International Laws you have to read to believe!
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 my foreign travels….you might thank me later!
1. Not Flushing a Public Toilet in Singapore
Singapore likes to keep its street and facilities clean. Neglecting to flush could cost you up to $500! Littering could cost up to $1000 and being caught chewing gum can hit you for up to $600! 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 was 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. I’ve been “Christened” by pigeons in Venice myself so I personally think this is a good law!
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? So 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 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. Since 1913, Jamaican law has stated that growing, using or having 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 inhale!
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. So, 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 that prohibits you from leaving your house without underwear on. Make sure you take that into account when packing. Or maybe you will want to plan on washing your unmentionables frequently so you don’t run out! It’s unclear to me how this could be enforced, but I don’t think I’d want to find out what the inside of a Thai prison looks like, would you?
So, be sure to familiarize yourself with some of these strange and baffling laws before you travel. Google is a good place to start as well as using a good travel professional. I appreciate my customers greatly, but really don’t want to add “arranging bail” to my list of services! Happy travels!