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?

Brits are worst-dressed tourists in Europe

When it comes to dressing horribly, the British are the best of the worst. According to a survey conducted by TripAdvisor, Brits are the worst-dressed tourists roaming the Continent. According to the Telegraph, the Germans and Americans are next in line when it comes to fashion-challenged tourists. The survey covered several other topics, as well.

The French may be well-dressed, but they are the worst when it comes to checking their emails while they are traveling. 93% of Britons make an attempt to speak the local language while on holiday while 20% of French travelers admitted to making no attempt to do the same.

76% of those poorly-dressed Brits plan to take a summer vacation this year.

A TripAdvisor spokesperson said, ”Despite airline strikes, an uncertain economy and an erupting volcano, it’s reassuring to see British travellers recognising the importance of a summer holiday again.” It’s just a shame that they’re doing so in such horrible outfits.

Brits love Thailand, not really France

More than a thousand Britons can’t be wrong, right? An online survey of 1,402 of them, by Zoover.co.uk, found France to be the least hospitable vacation destination. But, to be fair, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia weren’t included among the choices. So, it really wasn’t that bad for the folks across the channel. The Brits found that Thailand was the top spot, picking up 25 percent of the vote, with the United States good for 11 percent.

Chrit Blonden, a marketing executive at Zoover, told Reuters, “When you go to France they are not inviting you there, you are not feeling invited when you go to their country,” explaining why the country only picked up 2 percent of the vote in Britain. He continued, “I was in Thailand myself. When you go there you are treated very well…they show a real interest in you.”

The French Tourism Development Agency, of course, had a rejoinder at hand: 78 million tourists from around the world stopped in France last year. Eleven million of them were British. More than 350,000 Brits own a house in France. So, yeah, it looks like there can’t be too much beef.

But, the question the agency forgot to ask all those Brits: are they happy?