Languages and foreign currency are not the only things you need to think about when traveling abroad. You need to familiarize yourself with your host country’s laws and regulations, as well. If you don’t learn the local rules, you could find yourself facing a hefty fine or even jail time.
Here are some simple things you wouldn’t think you could get into trouble for that can see you on the wrong side of the law in these countries.
Saving A Spot On The Beach In Italy
If you plan to go to Italy for a beach holiday this summer, make sure you don’t save a spot in one of those beautiful beaches. Asking why? You could be hit with a €200 fine! Italy beaches are extremely popular and, therefore, tend to be overcrowded – particularly during the peak season. It’s not surprising that some beach goers try to save their prime seaside spot with an umbrella, towel, or beach chair, by leaving the gear there overnight. But authorities now don’t tolerate this behavior and they have been seizing beach paraphernalia left behind to reserve prime spots and fining those responsible, including tourists.
Wearing Swimwear Off The Beach In Majorca
The beautiful Spanish island of Majorca (or Mallorca) is home to some of Europe’s finest beaches, making it a perfect destination for a beach holiday. But don’t get too comfortable while there for a holiday such that you walk away from the pool or beach without first covering up. New laws introduced in 2014 mean that if you’re caught walking around while topless or wearing swimwear, you could be fined up to a whopping $671! So when suitcase packing for the beach don’t forget to bring some smart casual clothes to wear about town.
Walking Around In A Bikini Or Swim Trunk In Dubrovnik
Like in Majorca, you’re not allowed to bare too much skin while outside the beach in Dubrovnik, a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea. So don’t go checking out the medieval architecture on this UNESCO World Heritage Site while still in your bikini or swim suit. If you do, then you’ll have to pay a $100 fine.
Not all countries practice freedom of speech. So be careful what you say while you travel abroad. Thomas Fischer, a Swiss tourist, learnt the hard way in 2012 when visiting Zimbabwe. He innocently uttered these words when arguing with border officials: “he (Mugabe) knows how to screw people, especially foreigners.” Immediately after that, he was whisked away and arraigned in court where he was convicted and ordered to pay a $200 for insulting the country’s president.
Driving In Italy
Did you know that there are streets in Italy you can’t drive on as a foreigner? That’s right! You have to get a special permit to drive your car within the so called “Restricted Traffic Zones” (Zona Traffico Limitato – ZTL). These restricted zones are typically found in areas of historical significance in cities such as Rome and Florence. They are usually marked with a sign featuring a red circle. But residents and some categories of people, such as persons with disabilities, are entitled to enter these areas – which makes it confusing. If you drive in these areas like the Romans do, you may be forced to part with around $55-$111 as a fine. Check out this article on driving in Italy. When international cities like New York, London and Paris have such excellent public transport systems why not use them and save yourself the stress of trying to navigate and drive in a big city. Check out our post on the price of Paris metro tickets.
Kissing In Public In The UAE
The United Arab Emirates usually promotes itself as a glamorous tourist destination. But the country is predominantly Muslim and has a number of rules that could easily get a typical tourist in trouble. Firstly, you’re not supposed to display public signs of affection like kissing, hugging or holding hands. Doing so could land you in jail. Drinking in public is also prohibited, but you can enjoy a drink in your hotel. Other simple things that could see you on the wrong side of the law include: publicly eating or drinking during Ramadan, taking photos of women or people without their permission, and taking photos of military installations and government buildings.
So next time you plan your vacation be sure to take note of the visiting country’s law system and be careful as to what you do in public because what you’re accustomed to back home, might be a sign of disrespect somewhere else in the world and it might end up being costly.
And if you are travelling to a place that uses a different currency, be sure to maximize your money by exchanging it at the best possible rates with a foreign exchange broker company like Moneycorp Travel Money Rates.
Image: Unsplash CC0
This post was written in association with CompareTravelMoney.