Anytime you’re traveling on holiday, you need to be aware of the local customs and rules to ensure that you don’t run afoul of the law.
Depending on where you’re traveling, the rules could differ significantly from the ones you live by daily. And if you break any local laws, you could face legal trouble on your trip.
Here are a few of the strangest laws that still exist today:
Malaga, Spain – No Inflatables, Please
If you’re heading to Malaga, Spain, for a wild weekend, bachelor party, or other event, don’t bring costumes or inflatable dolls. An actual law says you could be fined up to 750 Euros ($824) for bringing rude costumes or inflatable dolls. Malaga is happy to host your weekend but respect their laws to avoid a legal hassle.
Greece, Athens – Leave The Heels at Home
Wearing high heels to go on tourist hikes isn’t comfortable, but in Athens, Greece, it’s also illegal. Women must wear flat shoes when touring sites like the Acropolis or the Epidarus Theater because wearing heels was banned in 2009.
The city banned the shoes to protect the ancient sites from the damage done by women walking. High heels have jagged points that can scrape ancient artifacts and damage the old roads. You can bring heels for going out to dinner or enjoying the nightlife in modern Greek cities, but pack some flats for touring ancient sites of interest.
Thailand – Respect The King
In Thailand, stepping on money, even accidentally, is a crime. If you stand on Thai money, you could end up in a local prison. To the Thai people, the feet are the dirtiest part of the body, so stepping on money, which has an image of the king on it, is seen as disrespecting the king. Violators face up to 15 years in prison.
Positano, Italy – No Selfies, Please
Positano is one of the most beautiful cities on the Amalfi Coast. It’s famous for its stunning views of the gorgeous blue water and the city’s magnificent architecture. That’s one of the reasons why so many people stop to take selfies with the famous coast and iconic white buildings right behind them. However, all tourists stopping to take selfies can cause major traffic jams. If you stop to take a selfie and you take too long, you can get fined up to 275 Euros ($275).
New York, United States – Walking Only In Crosswalks
There are many rules and laws you need to know about if you’re visiting New York City, including that you should only cross the street using designated crosswalks. Jaywalking is illegal and dangerous in New York City. It’s also frowned on by NYC residents, who will quickly tell you that you should stop if you don’t want to get hit by a speeding cab.
Australia – Watch Your Language
You could pay a hefty fine if you swear in public places around Australia. In New South Wales and Western Australia, tourists can get fines of up to $660 for letting vulgar language loose in public places.
In parts of South Australia, you could pay as much as $1,250 if you swear repeatedly. Tourists may also face three months in prison for serious swearing offenses. If you’re prone to letting some curse words slip in everyday conversation, you must replace the phrases with inoffensive words or stay out of Australia.
United Kingdom– No Getting Drunk In The Pub
Shockingly, it’s actually against the law to be drunk in a pub in the UK. The Metropolitan Act of 1839 says it’s illegal for a “keeper of a public house to permit drunkenness on-premises.” Anyone who has a few too many at the pub could be hit with a 200-pound ($253) fine if they are visibly intoxicated in public. However, the good news is that most establishments usually won’t enforce the statute.
Dubai, UAE – Keep Your Hands To Yourself
Dubai is a world-class city known for being on the leading edge of style and technology, but it’s also a very conservative city. Public displays of affection like hugging, holding hands, or kissing in public are strictly against the law. If you indulge in some PDA with your partner or even a friend, you could end up in prison or be kicked out of the country.
Tenerife, Spain – Don’t Feed The Animals
It’s widespread for tourists, especially American tourists, to offer small nibbles to cats, dogs, birds, and other wild animals living on the streets in Tenerife. But feeding wild animals is illegal, and you must keep away from the animals roaming around the city. First offenses could cost visitors as much as 750 Euros ($824) in fines. Repeated or serious offenders may have to pay as much as 3,000 Euros ($3,300) if found guilty.
France – Kissing At Train Stations
Although France is often associated with romance, legislators were forced to take action when farewell kisses at train stations resulted in major transit delays. In 1910, the law came into effect as a way to reduce crowds and keep passengers moving. The law still exists but isn’t enforced with a formal penalty today.
A Few Final Tips
Some laws may seem strange or even absurd, but it’s essential to respect them to avoid legal trouble. Follow the above rules and don’t let anything spoil your holiday.
Also, another safety tip is to always set up a VPN when using public Wi-Fi. That will keep your information secure and ensure you don’t become the victim of internet scams that target tourists with unsecured data. Regularly perform a VPN check to ensure it’s working properly.
Don’t forget about your physical safety, too. Be aware of your surroundings, especially in unfamiliar places, and keep your valuables close.