15 Weird Rules International Travelers Should Follow to Avoid Fines

15 Weird Rules International Travelers Should Follow to Avoid Fines

It’s pretty fun running around the world and exploring all it offers. But if you’re not careful enough, you might find yourself behind bars or slapped with a hefty fine without knowing what you did wrong. Numerous nations have silly rules and even laws that most foreigners don’t know until they cross the line. Check some of these here:

Don’t Run Out of Fuel

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The German Autobahn is like the American interstate, so naturally, stopping isn’t an admirable course. The law isn’t specifically against running out of fuel, but more so stopping on the Autobahn unnecessarily, which means you might be held negligent if you didn’t think your fuel through. Of course, medical emergencies might be exempt from this rule, but this only means you should be very thorough while driving.

Don’t Drunk Operate a Cow

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Most tourists are looking to let loose and get drunk in Scotland, but it’s best to keep your hands to yourself if you see a cow. An act dating back to the 1870s states you can’t operate a cow, a horse, or a carriage while drunk. We can probably understand why the act was made in the first place, but why it’s held up so far or hasn’t been modified is a bit peculiar. Ultimately, it’s better to imagine the Scots still keep trying to smuggle cows here and there, so the rule’s in place.

Don’t Go Shirtless

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In 2011, Barcelona City Council banned naked torsos from the streets for good. It even went as far as to say people were to wear swimsuits at the beach, and only nudist beaches would allow taking off the shirt, but only within a specific parameter. Tourists would ditch their clothes and walk the city line like at the beach, so the council decided this. Those unwilling to cover themselves could be fined between 120 and 500 euros.

Don’t Swear

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The UAE has many rules, so you might need to consult its official tour website. However, there’s one simple rule: you can’t swear. Swearing, even by accident, can cost you up to Dh500,000, over $100,000. Yes, you might have great insults locked and loaded, but it’s best not to fire. Even saying idiot or stupid could offend others, so you might want to be more tight-lipped. Even saying these words on social media could get you fined or jailed.

Don’t Fart

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Although most of us don’t admit it when we pass air, this one’s certainly taking the secrecy to another level. Although the fine and the sentencing are still pretty vague and were debated back in 2011, breaking wind when you’re in public is incredibly rude. The local authorities consider it close to a heinous crime, and since the nation’s still battling with some orthodox rules, avoid gassy foods.

Don’t Handle Salmon Suspiciously

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The Salmon Act was introduced in the late 1980s and prohibits handling salmon, freshwater fish, and even eels in suspicious conditions. Anyone possessing or giving out salmon that may have been fished illegally could get in hot waters. And since the act is ancient, you’re better off not testing its limits.

Your Camera Shutter Must Be Loud

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We’re all a little annoyed by the shutter sounds of our cameras, so we turn them off. However, in certain nations like South Korea and Japan, you legally cannot keep a camera shutter quiet. The rule is that even iPhones distributed in the country come with a non-mutable camera shutter sound. And it’s all to deter public photographers; the loud sound is meant to alert people so they can protect their privacy.

No Dirty Driving

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You can’t always clean the car on time, so you might have to run to work in a dusty old Sedan. But Russian traffic rules specifically ban driving a dirty vehicle; doing so won’t land you in jail but will call the police, which won’t be easy. The rule is so patrolling officers can keep an eye on the number plates and the details of the car, so as long as you keep a clean hood, you won’t find any problem.

No Car Wash on Sundays

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Speaking of dirty cars, isn’t it an average Sunday to clean out yours? But if you’re in Switzerland taking care of a rental, it’s best to let the car sit out in the dust for another day and tackle it with soap suds on Monday. Switzerland aims to preserve the natural environment and avoid noise pollution, so it urges citizens to take their cars to an automated car wash.

No Heels in Acropolis

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If you’re heading to ancient sites in Greece, it’s better to bring out soft-soled sandals. Decades ago, citizens were concerned that the jagged tip of heels could scratch and damage ancient relics and ruins like the Acropolis, so no stiletto-wearing tourists were allowed in. You’ll have plenty of time to channel your inner Gloria Prtichet, just not at the historical sites in Athens.

Don’t Feed Venetian Pigeons

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In 2008, after decades of being forced to see tourists overfeed local pigeons, Venetian lawmakers finally passed one rule: you can’t feed the pigeons because it taught the birds that more people meant more food, so they’d swoon in on tourists, hoping for a peck. And, of course, the dropping-filled streets they left behind left little for Venice to offer.

Don’t Wear Camouflage Clothes

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Multiple nations worldwide, including Barbados and Jamaica, have prohibited wearing camo shades, one of the most popular fashion choices. Depending on where you’re headed, wearing camo shades could cost you a measly fine, a few days pause from your Caribbean Cruise and even jail time. The reason? These nations use the same shades for their armed officers and military, so tourists may accidentally impersonate them.

Don’t Turn Your Back on Buddha

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Tourist places in Sri Lanka with Buddha statues or figurines attract a large crowd eager to take a selfie with Buddha, but it’s better to skip it. In Sri Lankan culture, putting your back to Buddha is disrespectful. So is donning Buddha tattoos in front of his presence, and unless you’ve got long sleeves, it’s better to consult with a travel advisor.

Don’ Turn Off the Headlights

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Most tourists get in trouble because their rental’s headlights are off, even during the day. This might seem silly, but Swedish traffic law requires that you keep your headlights on a set to dipped beam even during the day to prevent accidents and to ensure you’re always in sight. Otherwise, even the slightest negligence could land you in jail.

Don’t Chew Gum

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This might be the most ridiculous rule you’ll ever read because one of the first things we do when we hop on a plane or a bus is pull out some gum to help relieve the change in pressure. But you can’t chew gum in Singapore and even have to declare any that you’re carrying on you- all because litter created by spit-out gum caused the local transit to halt in 1991. Otherwise, they pay up to S$10,000 depending on the crime and even jail for a year.

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Emese Maczko is a travel blogger behind Eco Lodges Anywhere. Having explored several destinations around Europe, the US, Indonesia, and Australia, and resided in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Luxembourg, Emese possesses a keen understanding of diverse cultures and an appreciation for the beauty of each destination she visits. She advocates for sustainable travel and ecotourism.