Wherever it is you’re going, it’s always wise to check out any weird foreign laws that may exist there. Every country has its own laws, codes of conduct and cultural ideas about what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Even if their weird foreign laws seem totally pointless to you, take heed! The last thing you want is to end up paying a hefty fine or having an unpleasant run-in with the police for doing something that would have been fine back home.
Here are 7 weird foreign laws you need to know about before you travel:
7 Weird Foreign Laws Around The World
1. Always wear underwear in Thailand
Look. It’s understandable. Maybe you forgot to do the laundry, you’re travelling light or maybe your idea of comfort means fewer layers?
No one is judging except in Thailand where it is a punishable offence to leave your house without wearing any undies. Do yourself a favour and squeeze in a couple of extra pairs before you head over to this gem of South East Asia.
Despite its image, Thailand has strict decency laws. Besides going commando being a no-no, only wearing your underwear in public and going topless is also out.
2. Toss the gum before you arrive in Singapore
One of the things Singaporeans pride themselves on is the cleanliness of their country. So much so that they go to extreme measures such as levying a fine for the innocent act of chewing gum.
For over 20 years, it was illegal to sell or import chewing gum into Singapore. But then in 2004, following the US-Singapore trade agreement, the ban was lifted.
However, even today chewing gum is still not widely available. You can only get it from doctors and dentists. Tourists are allowed to bring it into the country but only for personal consumption and no more than 2 packs. Carry more than that and it will be assumed that you’re “dealing,” which carries a jail sentence of around year and an eye-watering $5,000 fine!
3. Don’t sleep on a featherbed in Buenos Aires, Argentina
No government cares as much about your comfort than Argentina. They are so worried about the activities that may take place in your bedroom that they placed a ban on featherbeds.
Argentine lawmakers however don’t think it’s so strange as they believed “such an indulgence induces and encourages lascivious feelings”.
So, if you like your featherbeds, you may want to start sleeping on the kitchen floor as training for your trip to Argentina!
4. Leave the heels at home when visiting Greece
This is not a criticism of the ladies that wear heels but rather a criticism of the device itself.
According to scientists, the pressure of a stiletto heel on the ground has more impact than that of a moving elephant. This fun fact is why Greece has decided to ban high heels from historical sites as they don’t want to risk you ruining their historical monuments.
So unless you plan on exploring Odeon of Herodes Atticus barefoot, it’s best to leave the heels behind.
5. Don’t dump your pennies in Canada
Everybody hates coins. They weigh more, they are worth less and they make that annoying sound when you’re walking around.
In fact, there’s nothing better than buying something and using up all your coins.
However, if you find yourself in Canada with a pocket full of pennies, you may want to spread out your penny dumping as it is illegal to use more than 25 pennies in one transaction.
6. In Dubai, don’t share a room with the opposite sex
Whether it’s your friend or that special someone you are seeing, if he or she isn’t married to you, expect to pay for two rooms in Dubai.
In the United Arab Emirates, it is forbidden by law to share the same hotel room with someone of the opposite sex unless it is your husband or wife.
7. Keep smiling when you’re in Milan
Here’s a weird foreign law for you!
In Milan, it’s illegal to walk around without smiling, unless you’re attending a funeral or visiting someone in hospital.
The city wants to make sure everyone is happy so don’t express your unhappiness by frowning or you’ll get fined.
Chances are though, if you’re going to Milan you will have a blast anyway so it shouldn’t be too hard to stick to this bizarre law.
Have you encountered any weird foreign laws? Have you ever got into trouble abroad for doing something you thought was innocent when it wasn’t? Please share your experiences in the comments below.