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13 Strange Things You Could Get Fined for Around the World

Going on vacation is expensive enough without getting fined for breaking these surprising laws in cities around the world

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Beautiful sunny Venice-girl sitting on the pier, near the gondola.Sergiy Artsaba/Shutterstock

Sitting down in Venice, Italy. Fine: $588

You know how, when you are traveling and your legs ache, you just want to sit down already? That simple act, if you do it in an undesignated spot in Venice, could cost you $588—per a current proposal—if local polizia spot you. The reason? The city is overcrowded, and officials are desperately trying to figure out ways to curb tourism. Solution: Find a café and order a coffee, tea, or gelato. Not surprisingly, Venice and its gondolas make our list of most overrated tourist destinations.

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Eating in Florence ItalyYulia Grigoryeva/Shutterstock

Eating in the street in Florence, Italy. Fine: Up to $570

While it’s a jab at Americans that we like to eat our food on the go (hello, fast-food drive-throughs!), don’t even think of doing that in Florence, where city streets are a red zone for eating. In other words, you can’t eat while seated on the sidewalk or on the curb. You’re only OK if you’re seated, whether inside or outside, at a café or restaurant. There goes the fun of eating slices of pizza on the run, right? Find out 12 foods that are banned in the United States.

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Streets of Amsterdamlornet/Shutterstock

Walking down a crowded street in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Fine: Unspecified

Because crowds are a problem in Amsterdam’s Wallen area (red-light district), its streets are now regulated. When a street is coded red, then it’s super crowded and nobody else can enter; green means you have elbow room (and it’s OK to enter), while orange is “proceed at your own risk.” (You’ll know a street is coded red by the presence of law enforcement.) While the fines accompanying this new law are unknown, you could be slapped with other fines, including public consumption of alcohol, which carries a fine of about $109, or littering, which will cost you about $160. Don’t try to talk your way out of it, either; Amsterdam is one of the world’s most honest cities.

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inflatable boat in Cala Mariolu, SardiniaGabriele Maltinti/Shutterstock

Collecting sand in Sardinia, Italy. Fine: Up to $3,482

We get it. You collect shells, pebbles, and a little bit of sand from every beach you’ve been to as a souvenir. Don’t even think about it in Sardinia. If you get caught removing sand (or anything else) from its beaches, the $580-to-$3,482 fine could quickly become your biggest travel expense. Check out 25 funny international laws you’d never think were real.

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coast path between bude and cracking ton haven Cornwall england ukPaul Nash/Shutterstock

Removing pebbles from beaches in Cornwall, England. Fine: Up to $1,283

One of the reasons people come to Cornwall is to see Crackington Haven, a beach in St. Gennys Parish. Don’t change what they see; taking the stones leaves the beach open to erosion. In July, signs were posted near this beach, warning people not to take pebbles. In fact, one tourist who was tracked down and caught was forced to drive hundreds of miles from his home back to the beach to return the pebbles he stole, the Daily Mail reports. Read about 13 of the world’s weirdest tourist destinations.

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Hong KongTungCheung/Shutterstock

Littering in Hong Kong. Fine: $1,500

Most people have a moral compass that dictates recycling (when available) or disposing of rubbish in the trash. If you decide to dump trash—even if it’s a burger wrapper—in a Hong Kong street, you could be fined $1,500. Don’t claim you didn’t know the law because it was in a foreign language; the government created handy illustrations that are universally understood.

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Business man driving car while eating fried chicken and cold soft drink dangerouslyPair Srinrat/Shutterstock

Eating or drinking while driving in England. Fine: $128

This is probably the hardest rule for Americans to abide by, since we are always eating and drinking in our cars. But in England, this is a definite no-no and, if you’re caught, will result in a $128 fine—plus three penalty points on your driving record. Shake your head over these 50 dumbest laws in the United States.

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Motorway service along triple lane autobahn in Germany at early morningEddieCloud/Shutterstock

Running out of gas on the Autobahn in Germany. Fine: $34

If you’ve heard of this famed expressway, it’s probably because you know about the speed limit of 81 mph (and in some rural areas, there is no speed limit). But did you know that, should you run out of gas, you could get handed a $34 fine for illegal stopping? You may want to avoid the world’s most dangerous roads.

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Sydney Australiaksy9/Shutterstock

Swearing in public in Sydney, Australia. Fine: Up to $500

Say you are walking in Sydney and realize you turned down the wrong street a half mile ago. Or you lost your wallet. “#$&*%!” Say that swear word out loud and it will cost you … if the police hear. Uttering swear words in public carries a fine of up to $500.

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Bar in AlaskaRUBEN M RAMOS/Shutterstock

Being drunk at a bar in Alaska. Fine: Unspecified

It’s always best to “drink responsibly,” as they say in liquor ads, and it’s illegal not to in Alaska, where you could be arrested for being drunk at a bar, ABC News reports. While the amount of the fine is unknown, we suggest you don’t find out. Learn more about the strangest liquor laws in the United States.

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Big fresh trout fish or coalfish lying on cutting board. Fresh atlantic fish rdonar/Shutterstock

Handling fish under “suspicious circumstances” in Great Britain. Fine: Unspecified

Heard of the United Kingdom’s Salmon Act of 1986? Part III, Section 32 reads that if a person is handling (further defined as “taking, killing or landing”) eel, trout, lampreys, smelt, or freshwater fish in Wales, England, or Scotland (Northern Ireland isn’t mentioned), that is grounds for being slapped with a fine. Next time you’re in the United Kingdom, skip fishing for your dinner and head to the nearest fishmonger instead. Find out 17 more bizarre things that have been banned around the world.

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Chewing Gum, Eating, Women.Billion Photos/Shutterstock

Selling chewing gum in Singapore. Fine: $100,000

Not only is it illegal to chew gum, but it’s also illegal just to bring it into the country, and if you’re caught selling it, you could face a $100,000 fine, so be sure to check your carry-on upon arrival to make sure a stray piece of Juicy Fruit isn’t lingering in your bag. This law has actually been in place since 1992. If you’re wondering why Singapore banned chewing gum, it’s because the gum—when spat out by people done chewing it—was mucking up the roads and sidewalks. Learn about the strangest food laws in every one of the United States.

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Asian woman hiking at Switzerlandcoloursinmylife/Shutterstock

Hiking in the nude in the Alps of Switzerland. Fine: $100

The hills are alive with the … wait, is that a naked person hiking? If it is, then it’s a crime, according to the Swiss government, and it’ll cost you $100. In 2011, a man tried to fight paying the fine after he was slapped with one in Appenzell, and lost. So don’t even think about it. Put those shirts and shorts back on pronto, no matter how hot it is outside. Next, check out 50 things you won’t believe are banned in the U.S.

Kristine Hansen
Based in Milwaukee, and a former Californian, Kristine Hansen is the author of Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook: Creamy, Cheesy, Sweet, and Savory Recipes from the State's Best Creameries (Globe Pequot Press) and writes about food/drink, travel and art/design for outlets that include--in addition to RD.com--ArchitecturalDigest.com, Fodors.com, TravelandLeisure.com and MarthaStewart.com. She earned a bachelor's degree in English, with a focus on writing, from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and enjoys yoga, reading, knitting and hiking.