No matter how strange they may be to you though, it is really important that you always observe and obey the laws in other countries, to ensure you don’t find yourself in legal trouble!! We’ve collated some of the ones you really should know before you travel.

Weird and Wonderful Laws

Chewing gum in Singapore is a no go, here’s why…

Who would have ever thought there’d be a rule against chewing-gum? Well, the law came into place in 1992 after a group of vandals left a mess big enough to shut it all down. Anyone caught manufacturing or selling gum could be fined up to $100,000, and in more serious cases, could face up to two years in prison. Bringing chewing gum into the country is illegal unless you can prove it’s used for medicinal or therapeutic purposes; this will usually have to be approved by your doctor with details of the condition in a doctor’s note.

Bizarre Baby names in Denmark.

Whilst we might be immune to celebrities naming their children bizarre names in modern society, Denmark has refused to let its nation be associated with such things. The sanctimonious rite of naming your new-born is humbled by the Denarian government who does not permit parents to give their children unconventional names. So, if you’re travelling whilst pregnant and give birth to your baby in Denmark, the likes of names such as ‘Stormy’ and ‘Sunday’ will not be making it onto the baby’s birth certificate…

Don’t wear this specific colour of clothing in Caribbean countries  

When packing your outfits for your trip to the Caribbean make sure you don’t pack anything camouflage. Countries including Barbados, St Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago have strict rules against camouflage clothing, as it is largely associated with military uniforms. The ban was put in place in 1980 after gang members began impersonating soldiers and, because laws are so strict, not even children are exempt. If anyone is found wearing camouflage colours they could be fined or arrested by local enforcements.

Be careful where you eat in Italy 

If you plan on eating Al Fresco, make sure you don’t sit on monuments or in direct proximity to churches or on church steps. Historic buildings and public buildings may also be off-limits, so make sure you’re respecting local laws and customs when visiting Italy. In a separate food-related matter, you should also be aware that you could also be in hot water if you’re caught with food purchased from illegal vendors, which are particularly rife in tourist hotspots such as Florence, Rome and Milan. Make sure to bear this in mind when travelling.

Driving in Vietnam

There are some very severe penalties in place for tourists who are caught in possession of drugs. It’s important to remember that if you get yourself into any drug-related incident, your travel insurance will be invalidated.

Driving with your hands correctly positioned is a big must in Vietnam too. If you are caught driving without hands, you’ll likely be fined up to £231.80 (6519134.72 Vietnamese dong), yes, it’s quite a lot and it could have gone towards a fun excursion, so make sure you are following local rules. You should also bear in mind that your travel insurance is not likely to cover any costs you incur as a result of reckless behaviour.

Tattoos in Thailand

If this strange law is disobeyed, travellers could end up with fifteen years in prison. The monarchy is very well respected in Thailand, and locals uphold an admiral level of patriotism for King and country, which is why you could face a heavy fine or even time in prison if you step on Thai money – even accidentally. It’s worth noting prisons conditions in Thailand are severe, and there is limited access to healthcare. Although the British Consulate will do what they can for your welfare, they are not able to get you out of prison or pay your fines. The law was passed in 1908 but the penalty was made more severe in 1976. “lèse majesté”

No public displays of affection in the United Arab Emirates

Before travelling to Dubai, you should make sure you familiarise yourself with the following laws or you could find yourself with a hefty fine, or some time in prison. This country has some very specific rules and you must follow them.

Gestures such as holding hands and an affectionate kiss now and then are heavily frowned upon in Dubai and may even lead to arrests. It’s also important that you get the dress code right, as again you could find yourself in a bit of a situation. Tourists should also be aware of the country’s attitudes toward same-sex relationships. There have been reports in which individuals have been punished for expressing themselves in public places.

Cutting down Cactus’ in Arizona

If you’re looking for a cost-effective souvenir and think it might be a good idea to take home a cactus, you should re-think your decision. Cutting down cactus’ in Arizona could land you with up to 25 years in prison as well as a hefty fine. Saguaro Cactus’ in particular are protected by the state which means cutting one down is a crime. If you want to take something back with you to remember your travels, just make sure that it’s not something that could land you in trouble.

The law also bans businesses from selling alcohol before 9:30 am, this is because the authorities have simply become fed up with tourists’ bad behaviours.

Buddha Tattoos Banned in Sri Lanka 

If you have visible tattoos of Buddha on show, you may be denied access into Sri Lanka. The country as a whole is particularly sensitive to any use of images that directly reference Buddha. In 2014, a British tourist was deported from the country because of a Buddha tattoo on her arm, after being  arrested ‘for hurting others’ religious feelings’ – she was removed within days.

Before you go

Here are some more articles you might like:

Making a Claim    Backpacker Holidays    Medical Travel Insurance