Being aware of the local laws in a country where you are a guest can make life a whole lot easier for you. You don’t need to study each and every law in the country’s constitution but just have an idea of what’s cool and what’s not. The last thing you want is to end up being slapped with a big fine or worse end up behind bars for something that you could have easily avoided. Unfortunately “I didn’t know”, will not usually be an acceptable reason for breaking the law.

There are loads of bizarre laws around the world, (it’s illegal in England to die in the House Of Parliament), but here are a few laws to be aware of if you are travelling to any of the countries below.

(Oh, and if you buy a pig in France, don’t name it Napoleon, you’d be breaking the law!)

1. Public drunkenness in the UAE

Being drunk on the streets of Ireland might get you an “ah now” but do the same in Dubai and it will get you deported or land you in jail.

2. Eating or drinking in historic areas in Rome

In Rome it is now illegal to eat or drink in areas of “particular historic, artistic, architectonic and cultural value.” Included in the list are the Colosseum and Spanish Steps. Wait until you’re done sightseeing before chomping down that pizza slice or it will be a $650 fine!

3. Chewing gum in Singapore

In Singapore the sale of chewing gum is prohibited. Don’t think about trying to bring some with you from home either as this is considered smuggling and is taken very seriously. Hefty fines are in store for those caught.

4. Toilet flushing in Singapore

Flush the toilet after use in Singapore too or you could receive a public caning for breaking this ridiculous law! (In Switzerland it’s illegal to flush after 10p.m.)

5. PDA’s in the UAE

Travelling with your lover in United Arab Emirates is no problem, however kissing them in public is. Public displays of affection  have landed tourists in jail, so save your smooching for the hotel room.

6. Don’t bring your bible to the Maldives

If you ever get the chance to visit the Maldives, be sure to leave your bible at home. It’s an offence to import bibles. It’s also an offence to publicly observe any religion other than Islam.

7. Don’t put your money where your feet are in Thailand

In Thailand be careful not to step on money or you could face punishment. The King’s face is printed on Thai Baht and stepping on it is akin to stepping on his actual face; not cool.

8. Don’t feed the birds in the Golden Gate City

Feeding pigeons in San Francisco is against the law. Authorities claim the birds damage buildings and encourage locals to inform on any would-be-feeders.

9. Wear flats in Greece

Girls, if you’re visiting the historic sites of Greece be sure to leave your high heels at home. Wearing your stilettos will result in a fine as, in the government’s eyes, you are damaging the monuments!

10. Remember to re-fuel in Germany

If driving on the Autobahn in Germany, be sure to keep an eye on your fuel gauge. If you run out of petrol at any time you are breaking German law and will be fined accordingly.

Have you ever encountered any laws on your travels that you were unaware of? Or heard of any bizarre laws? Leave a comment below.

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Brian Barry
Brian is a travel writer, photographer, blogger, travel addict and adventure junkie. Being outdoors, getting off the beaten track and outside his comfort zone is what makes him tick. Brian's the dreamer in the relationship; when he's not travelling, he's dreaming about it! Keeping fit, cooking, music and red wine take up the rest of his time.
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