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10 Lesser Known Laws Around the World Every Tourist Should Know

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Traveling the world is exhilarating. Visiting somewhere new is a great way to see interesting sights, try unique foods and have novel experiences. However, before you pack your bags, it’s essential to learn about lesser known travel laws. Landing in a foreign country in the wrong outfit or carrying the wrong handbag can quickly ruin a trip. Even looking at a love interest with too much affection may have you deported, if you aren’t careful. 

Here are 10 lesser known travel laws around the world that you need to know before you get on a plane and land in a new locale. 

1. Leave knock-off Louis Vuitton luggage at home when visiting France

Many fashionistas can’t resist the classic look of a Louis Vuitton or Yves Saint Laurent purse, but can’t stomach the high price tag. Wander around the streets of New York City, and you are bound to run into a street vendor selling “genuine fakes” that look just like the original. There is nothing wrong with enjoying your bargain bag in the United States, but don’t tote the bag to Paris. Although it’s a crime to sell counterfeit luxury goods in many countries, France goes a step further and makes it a crime to possess replica purses

If you try to enter France with a fake Louis Vuitton, it can be confiscated at the border. French officials can also charge you with a crime punishable by up to three years in prison, slap you with a fine of up to 300,000 euros, and report you to the brand, who can initiate additional legal proceedings against you. 

2. Keep the camo out of the Caribbean

Camouflage shirts and bags are trendy in the United States, but you should leave your favorite camo clothing behind when heading abroad. Many countries in the Caribbean, Middle East and Africa prohibit civilians from wearing anything sporting a camouflage print

In Barbados, wearing camouflage clothing or accessories can land you in jail for up to a year or result in a fine of up to $2,000. The ban isn’t limited just to green camouflage patterns that may be confused with military uniforms. Even pink, blue or black camouflage patterns can lead to being reprimanded. 

3. Wearing a swimsuit is only allowed on the beach in Grenada

Many people flock to Grenada to enjoy the island’s beautiful beaches. Swimsuits are allowed by the ocean, but step off the beach in your bikini and you risk being charged with the crime of indecent exposure

Some tourists are simply ordered to cover up, but the crime carries a maximum sentence of up to six months in jail or a fine of $270. Many Spanish towns are following suit. In Barcelona and the Balearic Islands, anyone caught sporting swimwear off the beach could be fined hundreds of euros. 

Tourists traveling to Spain should leave their soccer jerseys at home. To cut down on drunken brawls, many businesses in the popular Playa del Palma district in Mallorca have banned fans from showing their love for their favorite team by wearing jerseys. Just taking the jersey off won’t solve the problem, since it’s also prohibited to go shirtless. 

While wearing a soccer jersey isn’t technically illegal, so many businesses in Playa del Palma have signed onto the ban that it’s nearly impossible to eat, drink or shop in the area while wearing a soccer jersey. 

5. Swear off stilettos near Greece’s historic sites

It’s natural to want to look your best on a European vacation, but you may want to leave your heels behind if you are visiting Greece. High heels are banned at several historic sites including the Acropolis, Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens and the Epidaurus Theatre in the Peloponnese region. 

According to Greek officials, high heels can damage these ancient monuments, so tourists must wear more sensible footwear while visiting these locales. 

6. Gum is a no-go in Singapore

Chewing gum is a small, inexpensive treat. Many travelers throw a pack or two into their carry-on bags without a second thought. However, even being in possession of chewing gum is a crime in Singapore. If you are caught chewing gum, you may face a fine of $500 to $1,000 for a first offense and up to $2,000 for subsequent offenses. 

Today, authorities tend to look the other way if a tourist has a small amount of gum for personal use, and gum for medicinal use, such as nicotine gum, is permitted. However, the sale of gum in Singapore remains illegal and punishable by a fine of up to $100,000. It’s all part of the effort to keep the country clean and make sure that gum doesn’t damage the doors on Singapore’s subway. 

7. Keep moving when eating in Rome

No visit to Rome is complete without gelato and pizza. However, tourists need to be mindful of where they enjoy their snacks. To help keep the city clean, eating in or near monuments is banned. Tourists can still indulge to their heart’s content while visiting the Eternal City. 

However, to steer clear of trouble they should choose a spot away from the Spanish Steps, Colosseum and other monuments that make Rome so special. If you are famished, however, there is a loophole. Eating throughout the city is permitted as long as you are walking. Stop for a break and you can be fined up to 500 euros. 

8. Avoid public displays of affection in Dubai

Most public displays of affection are banned in Dubai, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Kissing, holding hands or staring lovingly into your paramour’s eyes can land you in hot water. Similar bans on PDA are in place throughout the country. Violate these bans and you can be hit with a fine, deported or jailed. 

9. Keep your language clean in Jamaica 

Swearing in public has been illegal in Jamaica since 1843 and the “bad word law” is still on the books. If you drop an f-bomb after stubbing your toe on the beach or you sing a song with profanity in Jamaica, you could incur a $1,500 fine or up to 30 days in jail. Jamaica isn’t the only Caribbean country that likes to keep language clean. Rapper 50 Cent was once arrested in St. Kitts for using profanity onstage during a concert. 

10. Treat the Thai royal family with the utmost respect in Thailand 

The royal family is revered in Thailand. Unlike in countries like the United States and Great Britain, where criticizing the powers-that-be is practically a national pastime, Thai law prohibits insulting the royal family in any way. The law is so strict that some tourists avoid mentioning the royal family at all—just to be sure they don’t run afoul of the law. Insulting the Thai royal family can land you in jail for up to 15 years for each offense. 

Because Thai money, the bhat, bears the likeness of the King, it’s important to treat both bills and coins with respect. Take care not to step on a coin or banknote, since it can be seen as a sign of disrespect with serious consequences. 

Photo by 4otograph/Shutterstock.com

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