25 Funny International Laws You’d Never Know Were Real
You might want to remember these surprising and strange laws next time you’re traveling to avoid embarrassment, fines, or worse!
New place, new laws
Culture clashes can occur anytime you travel, but every once in a while they happen in some truly unexpected ways. From a harmless hug to lighting up a cigarette outdoors, these are the strange travel faux pas any globetrotter would do best to avoid. Check out these other everyday things you didn’t know were illegal.
Vicks inhalers are forbidden in Japan
In Japan, over-the-counter allergy/sinus medications that contain the ingredient pseudoephedrine such as Vicks inhalers and Sudafed are banned under Japan’s strict anti-stimulant drug laws. Medications that feature codeine are also prohibited and shouldn’t be brought into Japan.
Don’t eat on church steps in Italy
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Be careful where you consume a relaxing lunch or a refreshing beverage in Italy. It’s an offense in Florence to eat or drink while sitting on church steps or within a church courtyard. The same law applies to eating near public buildings. Snack elsewhere and avoid the fine. Read up on these bizarre things that have been banned around the world.
Keep your top on in Fiji
Fiji is a beautiful tropical paradise where sunbathing and swimming are part of daily life but don’t get caught with your pants (or top) down. Public nudity and topless bathing are illegal here. Stay covered up and out of jail.
Feed the pigeons and you’ll break the law in San Fransisco
It’s illegal to feed pigeons on the streets of San Francisco. The city famous for the Golden Gate Bridge blames the ubiquitous birds for spreading disease and damaging property. If you’re caught providing food to San Francisco’s pigeons, you could face a hefty fine. Citizens are even encouraged to report pigeon feeders to the city’s police department.
Leave your Bible at home in the Maldives
In the Maldives (where you can find this glow-in-the-dark beach), public observance of any religion other than Islam is prohibited, and it’s an offense to import Bibles into the country. To ensure that you don’t upset the locals or run afoul of the law, don’t bring a Bible along on your trip. You probably never knew that these books were banned.
Watch your camera in Kazakhstan
Want to capture one last snapshot of your family in the airport before you board the plane? In Kazakhstan, it’s against the law. Photography in and around airports is illegal, and taking pictures of military and official buildings is frowned upon as well. Find out why it’s illegal to take pictures of the Eiffel Tower at night, too.
Don’t smoke in Jamaica, mon
Tourists may be surprised to discover that marijuana is outlawed in Jamaica. Since 1913, Jamaican law has stated that the cultivation, use, or possession of marijuana is illegal. People caught with even a small amount of the plant can face a lengthy prison sentence. And, if you hear tourists in Jamaica referring to 420, know what that means.
Pack a breathalyzer in France
In France, drivers are legally required to carry a portable Breathalyzer in their vehicle. If you’re caught without this gadget in your car, you’ll be expected to cough up 11 Euros tout suite. Tourists behind the wheel, this law applies to you too.
Pucker up at your peril in the United Arab Emirates
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Public displays of affection—kissing, hugging, holding hands—should be avoided while traveling in the United Arab Emirates. Tourists have been arrested and thrown in jail for kissing in public. Reserve all amorous moments for private occasions behind closed doors. If you’re married, here are more surprising laws you’re probably breaking right now.