When most of us hit the road, we want to escape life back home, relax and explore a new place. However, if you don’t do your homework, you could find yourself facing jail time or hefty fines for things like eating on church steps in Italy or PDA in the United Arab Emirates (definitely not a problem in Italy). Every country seems to have their own quirky set of laws that most foreigners end up breaking… Without even knowing it! While these laws may seem a bit silly, we think you’ll thank us for saving you a couple bucks (or a night in jail).

Don’t Feed The Pigeons in Venice

Kosala Bandara / Shutterstock

Kosala Bandara / Shutterstock

Venice, the city of canals, has long been a favorite spot for tourists to gather, especially in Saint Mark’s Square. Accompanying you in said square are hundreds of pigeons. The pigeon problem in Venice has led to local laws being imposed in which travelers can be fined for feeding the pigeons. Many historic sites have faced problems due to pigeons eating away at the city’s statues and buildings. Officially made illegal in 2008, don’t even think about throwing down a piece of your panino for the birds. Fines range from $80 to upwards of several hundred dollars.

Keep An Eye On Your Passport’s Expiration Date

Jon Rawlinson / Wikipedia Commons

Jon Rawlinson / Wikipedia Commons

You might think that your passport that’s expiring in 2 months is perfectly fine to travel with for your trip to France this weekend. However, in many countries a passport must carry an expiration date 3 to 6 months beyond the traveler’s departure date. Many countries are sticklers for this law, especially the 26 European countries in the Schengen area. Passports in this zone must be valid at least 90 days beyond a traveler’s departure date. It is also a requirement for the passport to be valid over three months even if you are just transiting in a Schengen airport. If your passport is approaching its last few months of being valid, check with your destination country to find out if you need to renew before you leave.

Don’t Chew Gum in Singapore

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Singapore’s government likes to keep its sidewalks and park benches neat and tidy. Pull out a piece of bubble gum and start chopping away and you could face quite the fine. Since 1992, Singapore has banned chewing gum in order to keep things spic and span. In recent years, chewing gum for medical reasons has been allowed. You’ll face an even greater fine in the country if you bring in gum and try to sell it.

Public Displays of Affection Aren’t Welcome in the United Arab Emirates

Mariia Savoskula / Shutterstock

Mariia Savoskula / Shutterstock

Get a room! Many travelers have started to make Dubai one of their go-to destinations thanks to its many attractions opening up in recent years. However, couples vacationing together in the United Arab Emirates will want to keep their public displays of affection at home. It is illegal to kiss or hug in public in the United Arab Emirates. Not only will you pay a fine for that smooch but you could face jail time as well. Holding hands is allowed but you must be married to do so.

All Vehicles in France Must Have Breathalyzers

IM_photo / Shutterstock

IM_photo / Shutterstock

Drinking and driving isn’t welcome anywhere in the world, but in France they have taken one step further to combat the problem. Since 2012, all vehicles must carry a breathalyzer in the car. If you are pulled over and don’t have one, you will be given a small fine. The law doesn’t just apply to French citizens but also travelers. All rental vehicles are required to have a breathalyzer as well. Before you leave the car rental counter, be sure you are driving off with a breathalyzer in your vehicle!

If you don’t want to pay steep fines or even go to jail, make sure you study up on any foreign laws that may exist in the country that you’re traveling to this summer!

What is the weirdest travel law you have encountered? Share your experience with us in the comments below!

 

About The Author

Suzy Guese

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at http://suzyguese.com.

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3 Responses

  1. Jean Hopkins

    Overseas while in military service (US Navy) for Desert Storm: no eating or other use of left hand (don't pay a vendor with your left hand for instance), no sitting in the front seat of a cab, no females out alone, long sleeves and ankles must be covered, no PDA (public displays of affection) – might not have all been 'laws' but some probably 'customs'. We were told not to stare directly at men also.

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