Every traveler’s nightmare is to end up behind bars abroad. You’d be surprised how doing something that is considered completely innocuous here in the US, or in your home country can be considered a punishable offense elsewhere. We’ve pulled together a list of 20 of the weirdest laws around the world that just might keep you out of trouble when you travel.
1. No Camo in the Carribbean
Camo patterns are illegal in in much of the Caribbean. Camouflage is strictly reserved for the local military personnel, so wearing camo is akin to impersonating the military, and is considered a crime. Avoid the pattern in Barbados, Barbuda, Bermuda, Antigua, Domnica, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, and these countries around the world.
2. Speedos Mandatory on French Beaches
No, it’s not that French men just really like speedos, it’s actually against the law for them to wear loose fitting swim trunks to the beach in France.
It’s not necessarily a safety measure, or draconian sartorial law, it’s more of an etiquette and sanitation measure. Essentially, since speedos are not something that guys would not walk around in all day, they’ll almost certainly be cleaner than something they have been wearing out and about. Ditto to your shirt. No swimming in your t-shirts either for the same reason.
3. No Flushing After 10 PM in Switzerland
When it comes to the weirdest laws around the world, this one takes the (urinal) cake. Better get your business taken care of before 10 PM. Flushing your toilet after 10pm is not just annoying to your neighbor, it’s strictly prohibited by law in Switzerland. You’ll otherwise have to “let it mellow”.
4. No International Phone Calls in North Korea
If you are ever allowed to visit North Korea, don’t expect to make any calls home. Making international phone calls from inside the borders is a criminal offense, and has been known to be punishable by death. So yeah. Don’t try it.
5. No Swearing in the UAE and Kenya
Best keep your curse words to yourself in the UAE and Kenya. Remembering that these are, largely, very conservative areas, It’s against the law to use profanity or vulgar gestures. If you want to avoid arrest and possible prison time, keep it clean.
6. Men Can’t Wear Skirts in Italy
It’s illegal for men to wear skirts in public in Italy. With the way high fashion is turning to more androgynous styles, I’d not be surprised if this wasn’t strictly enforced in more cosmopolitan parts of the country. But, if you want to stay on the right side of the law, stick to pants or shorts.
7. Don’t Deface the Money in Turkey
Destroying currency in Turkey is considered equal to destroying the flag. Not that you’d ever want to destroy money, but know that this is an offense punishable by prison time, so, you know, save your money. Quite literally.
8.No Peeing in the Ocean in Portugal
As a measure of sanitation, it’s against the law to pee in the ocean in Portugal. We don’t have a clue how they could possibly monitor that, but best not to do it anyway out of respect for the people.
9.No Climbing Trees in Toronto
Sure, when you see the right kind of tree, it’s hard to resist the child-like urge to climb it, but you’ll want to refrain from doing so in the province of Ontario unless you have a permit. You could get slapped with a heavy fine. This goes for any tree in the province – whether it’s in a public space or the middle of the forest.
10. Don’t Interrupt a Wedding in Australia
When the officiant says “if anyone has any objections to this union…”, you’d best keep your mouth shut. Among one of the weirdest laws around the world is that interrupting the proceedings of a wedding can land you with a fine up to $10,000 or 2 years prison time in Australia.
11. No Going Commando in Thailand
I don’t care how much you like the breeze, you are required by law to wear underwear if you leave the house in Thailand. It doesn’t matter how hot it is outside, put on your skivvies, or else.
12. No Sandcastles in Spain
This goes for kids too! The building of sandcastles is illegal on all beaches in Spain, and getting caught carries a fine with it up to $1,500, depending on where you’re found making one. Stick to sunbathing!
13. Walk Your Dog 3 Times a Day in Turin, Or Else!
In the city of Turin, if you own a dog, you’re legally obligated to walk them no less than 3 times a day. It makes sense that a country where stray cats are protected by law would instate such a law promoting the health of a dog. Be warned that not doing so can carry with it a fine of up to 500 Euros.
14. No Selfies with Buddha in Sri Lanka
Respect for Buddha in Sri Lanka is serious business. Taking a selfie with Buddha requires turning your back on him which is considered major disrespect, and a serious offense. Always observe the highest level of respect when you’re in these sacred places, and keep your tattoos covered.
15. No Changing Lightbulbs in Victoria, Australia
How many people DOES it take to change a lightbulb in Victoria, Australia? Just one person – so long as they have a license. Only certified electricians are allowed to change lightbulbs in the state, so be sure to invest in long-running eco-friendly bulbs like LED or CFL to keep those visits to a minimum.
16. It’s Illegal to Wrestle a Bear in South Africa
You can scratch this one off of your bucket list, you maniacs. It’s illegal to wrestle a bear in South Africa. Not that you’d want to, nor that there’s actually a bear population IN South Africa, but if there was, you’d not be allowed to wrestle it.
17. Voting is Compulsory in Egypt
Voting in Egypt is not a “civic duty” that you can choose to do or not do. If you’re a citizen and you don’t participate in the election, you could face a fine or prison time.
18. One Glass Limit for Married Women in Bolivia
We all love a few glasses of a great wine with dinner, but if you’re married, be prepared to stop at one in Bolivia. Law prohibits married women from having more than one glass because it might promote immorality. Single? Drink up!
19. No Feeding the Pigeons in Venice
If you’ve ever been to Italy, you likely know why this law exists. The pigeon situation around major tourist sites can be intense. The city of Venice has banned feeding the pigeons in St. Mark’s Square to protect public health and the priceless historical structures all around. Get caught, and you’ll be facing a 700 Euro fine.
20. Don’t Run Out of Gas on the Autobahn
Driving on the Autobahn in Germany is one of THE bucket list items for any car enthusiast, but make sure you top up with petrol before you hit the road. While driving on the speed limit-less road is a blast, you must follow all traffic laws, one of which is not running out of fuel. You could face a hefty fine if don’t do so.