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HomeGovernmentLaw-abiding traveller: Local laws that could put you in jail

Law-abiding traveller: Local laws that could put you in jail

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3 min read

Don’t walk around in your swimwear in Croatia, do not smoke on the beaches in Thailand and if you ever take a trip to Turkey, be mindful of the souvenirs that you choose to take home with you.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office is urging travellers to be more mindful and to check the travel advice of the destinations they are travelling to as some local laws could actually make your next trip memorable for the wrong reasons – yes, you could actually go to jail!

Here’s a round-up of some laws you may not intend to break, but actually are:

Croatia

Croatia

Walking around topless in Croatia is not only frowned upon, it is actually illegal and punishable by law. Sorry guys, but this also applies to you. The law is equally applicable to men and women.

Tourists who commit the offence will face a fine on the spot.

Turkey

Turkey

Ever imagined that a souvenir can land you in jail? In Turkey it can.

For anything antique or even a shiny old coin that you happen to come across on your travels, it’s wise to check with the relevant authorities before packing it in your bag. Taking old coins could be breaking the law and exporting antiques is actually illegal. Not only will you be given a fine, you could see your trip to Turkey extended by around 12 years – behind bars!

Thailand

Thailand

Smokers beware! In Thailand your five-minute tobacco ‘break’, could leave you out of pocket by around US$3,124 or at least one year in jail (ever seen Brokedown Palace?).

In January this year, several popular tourist beaches such as Phuket, Koh Samui and Krabi issued a smoking ban, which also includes e-cigarettes and refills which are not allowed to be brought into the country.

Italy

Italy

Don’t feed the pigeons on Venice’s St. Mark’s square.

While the law may seem bizarre, it is firmly rooted in a concern for Venice’s monuments and historic buildings. Not only is the amazing city under siege by rising ocean tides and decaying infrastructure, but pigeons’ claws and droppings have been eating away at all that beautiful old stone.

When in Rome, do like the Romans do, just don’t sing or dance. For a bit more perspective, this law applies to groups of three or more. While we have not heard about it being enforced, best not to tempt fate and save yourself the embarrassment. Same goes for jumping in fountains in Rome – just don’t do it or risk being fined.

Germany

Germany

If you feel the need for speed on Germany’s autobahn, just make sure that you have enough petrol in the tank.

The law forbids drivers from stopping on the highway that’s legendary for high speeds.

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

If you feel like living on the edge and you want to send a postcard or even a handwritten note to friends and family back home, go for it! Just make sure that the postage stamp with the queen’s face is not upside down. You may just get fined.

Don’t hail a cab in London if you have the plague and please don’t ask the driver to carry a rabid dog or a corpse either. It is illegal.

Police

Also beware of the following:

Did you know that drinking alcohol in the streets of Majorca, Spain, is against the law and could see you facing fines of US$3,460, while Egypt has strict drug laws when it comes to prescription medication.

We have no idea how this is enforced, but perhaps it is better to sometimes know less than more. Don’t urinate in the ocean in Portugal, it is illegal!

Jeanette Briedenhann
Jeanette Briedenhann
Jeanette Phillips joined the team in 2016. She developed a passion and love for all things-travel related in her role as travel journalist, a position she held for over seven years. A brief exodus into the corporate marketing sphere proved that there is no better industry than the travel industry. Research and writing are two of Jeanette’s greatest passions, but she is always open to new challenges and different ways of doing things.

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