Strange International Laws Every Tourist Should Know

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Did you know that a lot of countries have strange international laws?

It’s easy to get in trouble in a foreign country if you don’t know its laws and cultural traditions. Some laws have not been changed for centuries and are rather funny (or dangerous!) for a modern tourist.

Not being aware of them can cause some serious problems during the holidays. If spending a lot of money on fines or going to prison is not on your list of vacation activities, then you’ll have to do some reading beforehand.

Here is a collection of the odd laws some of your travel destinations have.

UK

no-apple-eating-while-driving-uk

Household Inquiry Form

In the UK, responding to the Household Inquiry Form is by far more important than visiting old parents. In case you forget or choose not to do it, you’ll have to pay a $1,300 fine. Moreover, if you provide some false information, you can face a fine of $6,500 or even spend time in prison.

Beware apples

In case you like eating apples, you have to be very careful in the UK. Don’t even think about eating one while driving. You can lose $40 or more for doing so. The case of a woman forced to pay a double fine of $80 for enjoying a juicy fruit in her car is a cautionary tale.

Don’t shake the doormat

Now let’s say you’ve enjoyed your stay in the UK and decided to relocate there. Listen carefully as this is an extremely important piece of information. According to the local laws, one can shake a doormat up only until 8 a.m.

You may smile now but let’s see you smiling they ask you to pay a $1,300 fine. The consequences of not abiding to this law can lead you to a prison sentence. This law is a part of Town Police Clauses Act 1847 and still applies.

Germany

Autobahn no-no’s

Germans are famous for their admiration of order and discipline. They seem to plan everything ahead and want the tourists to do the same. Check twice if you have enough gasoline to reach your destination as it is not legal to run out of it on autobahn (German highway). You are also not allowed to walk along it. The fine is $90.

Due and Sie

We often don’t realize how lucky we are not to have two forms of “you” in the English language – formal and informal. In the German language, there is a huge difference between these forms (“Du” or “Sie”) and you have to be careful using them. If you address a policeman using the informal “you”, be ready to pay a fine of 600 euros. To avoid the misunderstanding, download a translation app before your journey.

See Also: 21 Top Travel Apps and Tools 

Denmark

Turn on those headlights

If you are in Denmark and decide to rent a car, there is one important rule you should know. According to one local law, a driver needs to drive a vehicle with headlights on all the time. It doesn’t matter either if the sun is shining or if it’s raining. If you don’t do it, you’ll have to pay $100.

Italy

Don’t eat and sightsee

Why do most of the tourists come to Italy? To explore the beauty of the architecture and to eat, of course. But here is a tip for you – don’t try to combine those two in one activity. You will probably be forced to pay a fine for eating or drinking while sitting on the church steps or near a public building. Eat your pizza somewhere else and enjoy the remarkable buildings on an empty stomach.

No kissing

What can be more romantic than driving a car in Italy with the love of your life and kissing? Getting in a car accident is certainly not. The police of the Italian city named Eboli thinks so too and will ask you to pay a fine of £415 for kissing in a car.

Dog days

No matter how much you love your dog, this feeling starts to fade on every gray and rainy morning when you have to walk it. If you live in Turin, Italy, there is no way of escaping this torture. The law states that an owner of a dog has to walk his or her pet three times a day. The fine of not being able to do it is quite impressive – $650. It is a bit unclear how the authorities will find out about it, though. Unless your neighbors turn you in?

France

Breathalyzer test

The next thing you have to do after renting a car in France is buying a Breathalyzer. A driver is allowed to drink no more than one glass of wine and should be ready to test the alcohol level. You can buy a Breathalyzer almost in any supermarket.

No to Napoleon

One more thing you should not do in France is naming a pig Napoleon. Or maybe you can avoid paying a fine so long as you don’t call it that in public.

Spain

Bikini ban

The hot sun and the refreshing sea might get you in a bikini mood. But if you wear just the bikini and nothing else on the streets of Barcelona, you will get into trouble. You can enjoy yourself on the beach but change the outfit afterward. Not following this fashion requirement will lead you to paying a fine.

Australia

No to dognappers

Now, let’s travel to a faraway place – the city of Adelaide in Australia. The common practice of posting flyers of a missing pet we have in the US is prohibited here. The reason for such a strange law is that the person who is responsible for stealing a pet from you will be able to avoid any kind of punishment and even receive a reward for it. Don’t help the criminals and you won’t have to pay a $380 fine.

Obscene ballads

One more thing you should avoid while staying in Australia is singing. You can get a fine of $190 for singing songs that contain swear words. There is no way you can avoid the fine even if it’s your favorite song you are singing.

Singapore

no-smoking-in-singapore

Wi-Fi etiquette

You are a brave person if you’ve decided to visit Singapore. There are so many fines you can get here! For instance, you should never use someone else’s Wi-Fi. You’ll be accused of hacking and forced to pay a fine of $10,000 or go to jail.

Flush or else

Are you familiar with the icky feeling of using a public toilet? The people of Singapore feel your pain and force everyone who does not flush to pay a $150 fine.

Bubblegum ban

If you’re thinking about starting a business of selling chewing gum, you are not welcome to Singapore. It’s been almost 15 years since it was banned and selling it now will cause you a lot of problems. The fine of $100,000 is one of them.

Pigeon feeding

Don’t feed pigeons no matter how much they ask you to with their eyes full of tears. If you do, be ready to pay $500.

Smokers beware

Smokers will have a hard time in Singapore. It is not allowed to smoke in public places or vehicles and to cross the border with cigarettes. The fine can go up to $760. You can enjoy a cigarette only in your own home.

Painting graffiti

Whatever you do, don’t paint graffiti. You may be forced to go to prison for this kind of “vandalism” in Singapore. There were several cases of tourists getting into trouble for this form of art.

China

Filial duty

Do you remember the last time you’ve visited your parents? We are all busy people but there should be no excuse for adult children to ignore their parents. The Chinese government thinks the same and introduced a law which makes it illegal not to visit your parents.

Maldives

Leave the Bible at home

The best tip you can get when traveling to the Maldives is leaving your Bible at home. Importing the Holy book into the country is offensive to its people as the only religion that can be publicly recognized is Islam.

Kazakhstan

Illegal selfies

All the selfie lovers, this one is for you. If you happen to be in Kazakhstan airport and want to capture this glorious moment on your camera, stop. It’s illegal to take photos in an airport and anywhere near it. Also, avoid taking pictures in front of official and military buildings.

The United Arab Emirates

no-holding-hands-in-uae

Dangerous PDA

Spending a honeymoon here is not the best idea. You can get arrested for kissing, hugging, and holding hands on the streets of UAE. There have been cases of tourists spending their vacations behind bars for being too affectionate in public.

See Also: Old Dubai to New Dubai: A View 

Barbados

Fashion police

Speaking of fashion, it is against the law to wear anything that has a camouflage coloring. Only Barbados drug and defense forces are allowed to do so.

Bolivia

One glass for women only

If you are a married woman in La Paz, Bolivia, you may drink only one glass of wine in a bar or restaurant. The reasoning behind this law is that women tend to behave inappropriately after drinking more than that. And it may be the ground for a husband to ask for a divorce.

Thailand

Don’t leave home without your underwear!

We saved the best for last.

You are finally on your vacation and want to hit it off, we understand. But there is one thing you have to avoid in Thailand. Don’t leave your home without wearing your underwear. We don’t know how the police will check if you have it on or not. But it’s better if you do just in case.

What did you think of these strange international laws? Remember, if you are traveling, make sure to do some reading on the country you are visiting to avoid hassles or worse.

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