Strange Laws That Can Get You Locked Up Abroad

feeding birds venice
F Delventhal, Flickr

Getting arrested is probably far down the list of most people’s travel concerns. After all, we’re usually focused on checking museums and monuments off our bucket list — not engaging in illicit activity. But seemingly innocuous behavior can get you into trouble in many parts of the world, including things like wearing bikinis and chewing gum.

The British Foreign Office has released a warning about strange foreign laws after a report revealed that nearly a third of Britons seeking consular assistance were arrested or detained abroad. They say many travelers don’t realize that activities that are perfectly legal at home could get you locked up or fined in another country.

A few of the unusual foreign laws they highlighted include:Venice: It’s illegal to feed pigeons here.

Nigeria: Taking mineral water into the country could land you in hot water.

Singapore: Chewing gum on public transit is a big no-no.

Japan: Watch out if you have allergies. A lot of nasal sprays are on this country’s black list.

Wondering what other laws could get you locked up abroad? Here are a few more we rounded up:

Dubai: Kissing in public could land you in jail in this conservative country.

Thailand: Stepping on the local currency — which bears the image of the king — is seen as disrespecting the monarch and could get you arrested.

Greece: Wearing stilettos at archaeological sites in Greece will get you into trouble. The pointy shoes are banned because of the damage they cause to the historic monuments.

Germany: It’s against the law to run out of gas on the autobahn. Stopping unnecessarily on this fast-paced high way is illegal, and that includes those who forget to fill up their tank.

What other unusual foreign laws have you come across?

Yes, These Are Real Travel Jobs

surfing dog
Nathan Rupert, Flickr

Sometimes it feels as though there is a whole world of jobs that no one tells you about when you’re growing up. You may have heard of jobs like dentist, shopkeeper or electrician, but what about positions like tequila butler, sunglass doctor or fish valet? Made up fantasy jobs? Nope. There are plenty of people out there working in travel jobs the rest of us can hardly believe they get paid to do.

NBC News rounded up a number of unusual things that people do for a living. Topping the list is a dog surfing instructor, a person — who as the title implies — teaches pooches how to perch on a board and ride the waves. Meanwhile a hotel in Memphis has employed a duckmaster, whose role it is to feed and train a flock of ducks that reside on the premises. Twice a day, the ducks strut their stuff during a duck march across the hotel grounds.Other surprising jobs included a guacamologist at a Dallas hotel whose primary purpose is to tickle the taste buds of guacamole enthusiasts, and a proposal coach who helps the romantically challenged pop the big question with style.

But these aren’t the only bizarre travel-related jobs out there. Here are a few more creative ways to earn a living that we rounded up.

Hotel Jester. A hotel in Vienna, Austria recently advertised for a modern-day court jester. The creative, musical employee’s job is to entertain guests.

Human Bed Warmer. Getting into a cold bed is not everyone’s cup of tea, which is why the Holiday Inn London Kensington has staff on hand to jump into your bed for five minutes to get it all toasty for you.

Bedtime Story Teller. The Andaz Hotel in London makes falling asleep child’s play with their story telling service. Their “reader in residence” soothes guests to sleep by reading to them or discussing literature.

Coconut Safety Engineer. The island of St. Thomas is full of coconut trees that could prove hazardous to shade-seeking travelers, so the Ritz Carlton hotel employs a specialist to shimmy up trees and retrieve dangerous coconuts.

What other surprising travel jobs have you come across?

Denver’s Inflatable Hovering Hotel Room Costs $50K

AP

Have you ever wondered what a $50,000 a night hotel room would be like? Well, one hotel in Denver is giving travelers the chance to find out — though they might a little surprised by what they discover.

Expecting a heavenly mattress? Too bad, because all this pricy pad offers is an inflatable bed for your weary body. Dreaming of unwinding in a jacuzzi in your marble-clad bathroom? Sorry to burst your bubble but you’ll be doing your business in a chemical toilet instead.

Completely confused yet? Well, despite the lack of amenities, it turns out that people are willing to cough up wads of cash for the sake of novelty. In this case, The Curtis Hotel in Denver is offering a room that’s hoisted 22 feet up in the air, perched on top of a van. The room — which is entirely inflatable — is a temporary space that was designed as part an arts festival.This isn’t the first strange hotel room to be dreamed up by artists and designers. We found several other bizarre places to lay your head down for the night.

  • Weymouth Beach in England opened the world’s first hotel made entirely out of sand a few years ago. Guests were able to book a stay at the hotel for as little as $15 until the hotel was washed away by the ocean. Even the beds were made of sand, with hotel operators warning visitors that the sand “gets everywhere.”
  • At the Tubo Hotel in Mexico, travelers can make themselves at home in an old drain pipe. The recycled concrete pipes, which were previously used in sewers, are decked out with queen beds so you don’t actually have to feel like you’re sleeping in the gutter.
  • In Belgium last year, travelers could stay in a hotel room designed around the top of a 100-year-old clock tower. The room, which hovered 75 feet above the busy streets of Ghent, was designed to give guests an intimate perspective on the city’s history. With a massive clock right up against your bed, we’re guessing you don’t need to request a wake up call when you’re staying in this room.

Tell us, what’s the strangest hotel room you’ve slept in?

Photo Of The Day: Varanasi Ritual

photo of the day - Aarti offering in Varanasi
There are many common motifs in travel photography: sunsets, markets, funny signs that might include unique and amazing images, but are found all over the world. It’s the rare photograph that shows us something unusual, perhaps something completely new. Today’s Photo of the Day is by Gadling favorite and Flickr user arunchs is from Varanasi, India, capturing the evening ritual of Ganga Aarti. The Hindu religious rite involves an offering of lighted wicks, flowers, and other items to represent the elements, and is performed here on the banks of the river Ganges. It’s also interesting to see people in the photo wearing scarves and long sleeves for the chilly nights in Northern India, a country typically associated with scorching temperatures.

Share your unusual travel photos in the Gadling Flickr pool for a future Photo of the Day.

[Photo credit: Flickr user arunchs]

Photo Of The Day: Sea Creatures In Penang

photo of the day - Penang sea creatures for lunch
The rise of social media and photo-sharing platforms like Instagram has meant an increase in the number of photos floating around the Internet of particularly appetizing, unappetizing, and downright inedible foods. This has lead to a certain backlash, with articles bemoaning this trend, asking people to stop taking pictures of their meals. Still, I think there is a place for it in the world of travel photography, particularly for the more unique and bizarre finds. So for today’s Photo of the Day I chose this food photo from Flickr user ourmanwhere in Penang, Malaysia, an epicenter for adventurous foodies. Rather than just showing an outrageous calorie-laden burger or an arty close-up of a grape, it’s intriguing, unusual, and rather beautiful (plus, it was taken on a cellphone, and we at Gadling love to ditch the DSLR). In another part of the world, you might see this subject in an aquarium instead of a restaurant. So keep the “food porn” coming, travelers, you just might have to work harder at keeping us guessing at what’s on the menu.

Add your lunch photos to the Gadling Flickr pool for another Photo of the Day.