When traveling, keep in mind the local laws to avoid unnecessary troubles
When preparing for travel adventures, we make a list of the things we're eager to experience - must-see sites and attractions, regional delicacies and adventures.
But how about preparing for things that we mustn't do? Sounds tricky?
Well, you're right, but you won't believe what is banned or considered illegal around the world. Some call those things interesting, some call it bizarre or even crazy. Anyhow, a smart globetrotter would want to remember local laws and customs to avoid getting trapped in unpleasant situations.
If you're a chewing gum lover, you might forget it when you're in Singapore. The cleanest city in the world has a strict ban on chewing gum imports since 1992. This means you aren't allowed to import and use chewing gum inside Singapore. Wondering what is the penalty? Not a symbolic one to say at least. Fines are up to $100,000 or even a prison sentence! So better check your backpack before that long-awaited flight to this island country in Southeast Asia.
When traveling, it's very important to pick the right shoes - and it seems that this rule is especially true when you're in Greece. In 2009, authorities in Greece introduced a ban on wearing shoes with high heels at important archeological sites. This is because high heels are more likely to damage monuments. Does this sound a little bit odd for you? Luckily, there are plenty of stylish and comfy travel shoe options. Your feet and historical monuments will thank you!
"Don't worry, there are many gas stations on the way" doesn't apply on the Autobahn in Germany. This highway is famous for having no speed limit. A dream come true for speed lovers! Unfortunately, it's illegal to stop unnecessarily on the Autobahn - even if you run out of gas. This might land you a fine of $100. Is Germany your next stop in Europe? Fasten your seat belt and make sure your gas tank is full!
Oh yes, it's quirky as it sounds. The story starts in 2010, when Iran's authorities introduced a very specific "hairstyle policy." According to the law, it's illegal for men to walk on the streets of Iran wearing ponytails, mullets, and other long hairstyles. Iran can boast of rich history and stunning architecture, but today it's not the best place to travel with Johnny Depp-inspired hairstyles.
Are you planning a trip to idyllic island of Capri? Don't forget to take your sunscreen and sunglasses, but it's better to leave those comfy flip flops at home. The local government in Capri decided to ban noisy and squeeky footwear in order to protect the peace and quiet, so valued by the local residents. If somebody tried to rate the funniest ways to get fined, this one would surely be in the top 5.
If yellow is your favorite color, it won’t make a fashion statement in Malaysia, unfortunately. In 2016, the Malaysian government banned yellow clothing after thousands of protesters wearing yellow T-shirts flooded the streets of Kuala Lumpur and demanded the resignation of the Prime Minister. Since then, anyone wearing yellow can be arrested under the assumption that they are protesting the government.
Feeding pigeons might be a fun thing to do on a lazy afternoon in St. Mark’s square, but being hit with a hefty fine probably isn't most people's idea of a great time - unless you think that a fine of around $100 is just a slap on the wrist, compared to the joy of throwing crumbs to a group of fluttering pigeons. Since 2008, this very common practice is banned to protect city's marble statues and buildings.
It might seem like a joke, but jogging in tiny Burundi might be considered a criminal offence. Since 2014, Burundi's president Pierre Nkurunziza might consider your daily exercise to be a subversive protest against his government. No matter how sad, but fabulous inland beaches of Burundi will not see joggers for an indefinite amount of time. Also, every traveling nomad should know that visiting the country is currently not advised due to the unstable political situation.
If you're planning a trip to the beautiful mountain town of Aspen - a popular destination for winter sport enthusiasts from around the world - please try to refrain from snowball fights. It's illegal to throw a snowball in Aspen, because they are considered a form of missile. So it's a strict no-no for an otherwise playful activity.
If you accidently dropped some of your cash, at least try not to step on it. Such act is illegal because the Thai baht - the official currency of Thailand - has images of the King of Thailand, who is deeply respected by the nation. So, when going around the Land of Smiles, keep in mind the risks involved.
If you have a piggybank of Canadian coins and have secret plans to spend it all during your trip in the globe’s second biggest country, probably it’s not such a good idea. Canadian residents are not allowed to pay for goods and services with too much change - Canada’s Currency Act of 1985 bans it. There are certain limits of coins you can use in a transaction. Do you have a handful of nickels? Vendors might give you a frowning face if your purchase is over $5.
Australia is famous not only for its stunning wildlife - kangaroos, platypus and crocodiles - but also for having some of the weirdest laws in the world. No matter how strange it sounds, but you aren’t allowed to change a light bulb by yourself in Victoria. Only a licensed electrician can do this job for you. If you don’t have the time to wait for an electrician to save you from the darkness, you can risk doing it on your own. But beware! If you get caught, you will need to pay a $10 fine.
If you just bought a new beach toy set for your children and are planning family holidays in Eraclea, this might come as a shock – but since 2008, it’s illegal to build sandcastles on the beach in this town near Venice. The law was passed because sandcastles are obstructive to walking on the beach - at least Eraclea officials believe it. As if it weren’t enough, all ball and racquet games are also banned in this popular holiday spot on the Adriatic coast. Also, don’t try to collect shells or sand from the beach to bring back home as a souvenir - it’s illegal as well.
Are you planning a big New Year’s celebration in the magical Cambodia? Don’t even think of bringing your water guns for playful fights with your buddies in this Southeast Asian country. In 2001, Phnom Penh governor banned the sale, import, and use of all water guns in order to avoid social unrest during Khmer New Year celebrations. If you feel disappointed, don’t be - at least your clothes will not be soaking wet.
If camouflage clothing is your second skin, we will understand your disappointment. Since 1980, it’s illegal to wear camouflage in the Caribbean island of Barbados. The ban was imposed in order to prevent gang members from using camouflage to impersonate soldiers and commit crimes. Though such incidents are no longer a problem, the law is still in effect and those who get caught might be fined. So it’s better to leave those camo patterns at home.
You should be very careful when riding a bike in a country of geographical extremes with high mountains, vast deserts, and lush jungles. Since 1892, cyclists are not allowed to remove their feet from their bike pedals because they could potentially lose control and crash. At first glance, it might sound a little bit crazy to be arrested because of such a thing, but it makes sense. After all, reckless driving is never a smart decision.
This is just a glimpse into the bizarre laws of various travel destinations in our diverse and colorful world. If you have found some unique or funny laws during your travel adventures, feel free to comment and share them with us.