13 Funny International Laws You’d Never Know Were Real

You might want to remember these 13 surprising and strange laws next time you're traveling to avoid embarrassment, fines, or worse!

1/14 View as List

 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. (Plus, don't miss these other 9 travel mistakes you need to stop making.)

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. Here in America, don't miss the 50 dumbest laws in every state.

Don't eat on church steps in Italy

iStock/Horst Gerlach

Be careful where you consume a relaxing lunch or 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. Check out these other 8 everyday things you didn't know were illegal.

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. Avoid these 11 common swimsuit mistakes so you aren't tempted to take yours off.

Feed the pigeons and you'll break the law in San Fransisco

iStock/Martin Ivanov

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 hearty fine. Citizens are even encouraged to report pigeon feeders to the city’s police

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 foul of the law, don’t bring a Bible along on your trip. (You'll also rarely need to pack one in the United States. Learn the real reason hotel rooms have Bibles—it has nothing to do with trying to convert you.)

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.

7. 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. Here are 7 things you should know about avoiding drugged driving.

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. Check out these other 10 unusual American liquor laws.

Pucker up at your peril in the United Arab Emirates


Public displays of affection—kissing, hugging, holding hands—should be avoided while traveling in the United Arab Emirates. (But in the United States, these are 11 times it's totally OK to show PDA.) Tourists have been arrested and thrown in jail for kissing in public. Reserve all amorous moments for private occasions behind closed doors. Find out why Prince William and Kate Middleton never show PDA, even in the U.K.

1/14 View as List

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.