Monday,  October 2, 2023  6:50 am

10 unique travel laws from around the world

10 unique travel laws from around the world
Christine Hogg

Christine Hogg is the Associate Digital Editor at PAX Global Media. Prior to joining PAX, she obtained her Honours BA in Journalism from the University of Toronto. Upon graduating, she went on to write for several travel publications while travelling the world. Her longest trip was a three-week stint in Europe, and the shortest was a 16-hour adventure in Iceland. Get in touch:

When you visit a new destination, it becomes apparent what’s socially acceptable, and what isn’t. Cultural norms are put in place all over the world, but unless you’re familiar with what is and isn’t respectful, you could find yourself the topic of finger-pointing or the recipient of some very accusing stares.

And, while some actions might be insensitive, others are downright illegal, and could land you in jail.

Here are 10 things that can get you in trouble abroad:

Camouflage in the Caribbean

Wearing camouflage in the Caribbean is illegal, and you likely won’t make it through customs if you show up in your camo shorts or baseball cap. For countries like Antigua, Barbados, Cuba, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia, wearing camouflage is strictly prohibited. The popular pattern has been misused in the past by people who wrongfully impersonate military or police personnel, so by restricting its use to authorities, government officials are able to identify one another and crack down on any illegal activity.


Driving in Flip-Flops

There’s a 200€ fine for anyone who drives in Spain while wearing flip-flops. Authorities claim the flimsy footwear affects your ability to control the vehicle.


No High Heels

In Greece, high-heeled shoes have been banned at all ancient sites since the year 2009. Authorities in Greece have declared that their country’s ancient ruins deserve the same consideration, as high-heels have been linked to expedited wear and tear.


Bubbles are a Big No

Chewing bubble gum in Singapore has been banned for more than 20 years. The city is known for its clean streets, and there was a bit of an issue with people spitting their gum out on the sidewalk, so now it’s simply not allowed.


Butt Out

The sale and purchase of cigarettes, or any tobacco products in Bhutan is illegal, so if you’re a smoker, you’ll have no choice but to go without for the duration of your stay. Any person caught buying cigarettes faces a steep fine, and the same goes for any visitor attempting to bring them into the country.


Don’t Feed the Birds

If you’ve ever dreamed of channelling you inner Home Alone lady who feeds the pigeons, those days are over — at least in Venice, that is. Officials have banned tourists from standing as still as a statue in St. Mark’s Square and waiting for hundreds of pigeons to land, citing health concerns, as well as architectural damage brought on by bird droppings.


Keep Your Shirt On

Fiji is every sun worshipper’s paradise, but bathing suit tops and bottoms must be kept on at all times, no matter how tempting it might be to avoid those tan lines. Public nudity is illegal in Fiji, and even if you’re in the comfort of your resort, you should refrain from breaking any laws.


No PDA in the UAE

While public displays of affection, like hugging, kissing, or simply holding hands, are common in many parts of the world, they can result in a jail sentence in the United Arab Emirates. If you want to show affection, wait until you're out of the public eye.


Turn That Frown Upside Down

It seems highly unlikely that in a city known for its world-class fashion, gourmet desserts, and rich architecture, somebody might be having a bad time. However, it’s illegal to frown in Milan, unless you’re at a funeral or on your way to the hospital, so in all other cases, try to think happy thoughts.


Driving Too Slow

Have you ever driven on Germany’s Autobahn? If you have, you know that safe driving sounds like 130 kilometres an hour, in the presence of BMW’s and Audi’s, or as fast as you’d like, in permitted stretches of the highway. If you’re a nervous driver, or aren’t used to being aggressive behind the wheel, you might be better off taking another route, because if you’re caught going too slow, or simply run out of fuel, your wallet will soon be out of luck.