Learn the Laws Before You Travel Internationally

If you ignore these strange (to us) laws, keep your bail money at the ready

Don’t make a run-in with the law a part of your travel stories

Flying internationally and want to stay out of trouble? It pays to learn some of the more unusual laws of foreign countries

When you’re on vacation, the last thing you want is to get in trouble with the local police for breaking a law. But since laws differ so much from country to country, there are definitely some that you should be aware of the next time you’re travelling.

Things that may be accepted here in Canada could cost you a fine or even jail time when you’re far from home.

Sharing a Hotel Room

First, if you’re planning a trip to Dubai, you can forget about sharing a hotel room outside of marriage. It’s against the law in the United Arab Emirates to share a hotel room with someone of the opposite sex unless you’re married or closely related. This is also the case for Thailand.

No Food or Drink Allowed

Should you be heading to Italy, when in Rome you might want to rethink eating that gelato near any tourist attractions. Eating and drinking in areas with historic, artistic, architectural or cultural value could cost you a fine of about $650.

Dress Modestly

While in Rome, if you’re planning to explore Vatican City, you are required to wear shoulder coverings and skirts or shorts to the knee in order to enter museums and churches. In fact, it’s best to dress modestly when visiting religious sites in any country you may travel to.

Don’t Feed the Birds

Also in Italy, the famous Piazza San Marco in Venice is overrun with pigeons, and tourists love standing with them for a photo op. Just don’t feed the birds because it’s against the law.

Choose Flat Shoes

And ladies, if you like your stilettos, you may want to leave them at home if you’re travelling to Greece. The country has a strict policy that prohibits wearing them around ancient sites and monuments, as the sharp heels can be damaging to structures.

Watch Your Mouth

Over in the U.K. and in Singapore, you can be fined hundreds of dollars for littering gum or spitting on the street. And you’d better watch your language in Australia. In the states of Queensland and Victoria, you may have to pay a couple hundred dollars in fines for swearing in public.

So there you have it, a few laws you need to know when travelling to another country — but no matter where you go, it’s worth doing a little research on this topic before you leave.

Claire Newell is the travel media expert for Global BC, host of the travel series Operation: Vacation, best-selling author, spokesperson, wife and mother of two.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.