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Worldwide Laws and Customs

There are some very interesting laws around the world, most of which make perfect sense although there are a few that may be considered quite bizarre. We’ve trawled through the silliness and picked out some rather important ones that the tourist should be vary of in order to maximise their holiday and minimise the hassle.


It is now illegal to feed the pigeons in this historic city, especially around St. Mark’s Square. This is in an effort to promote public health and conserve the marble from bird droppings.


There are heavy fines to those who wear a bikini, swimming trunks or go bare-chested away from the beach in accordance to the council’s ‘Ordenanza Civica’ or ‘Good Citizen Plan’. 


City councils were constantly frustrated by cleaning up chewing gum from the streets so implanted a new law in 1992, which has banned gum from all public areas. 

Saudi Arabia

Photographing government buildings, military institutions and palaces is prohibited, as well as eating, drinking, smoking or chewing gum during Ramadan in public spaces. 


It is an offence to wear camouflage clothing in a fair few countries in the Caribbean archipelago. It is reserved for the military only and anyone wearing it is assumed to be impersonating the authority. This law goes for many African countries too.


British tourists should note that Japan is a very proud country and it is customary to remove your shoes before entering a house. If you eat at a restaurant, do not tip as it is considered quite rude. By law, you can also be fined a considerable amount for bringing in nasal sprays into the country. 


There are heavy fines for anyone who stops or breaks down on the Autobahn, the country’s premier road route. There are also fines for speeding, eating and even driving too close to other cars. 


Drivers in France must have a breathalyser in their cars at all times under a new law that hopes to decrease the amount of people who drink and drive. 


In Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, all vehicles must have their headlights switched on, even during the day. This is especially important during the winter months when there is little sunlight.


Swearing will get you a heavy public fine in some of the states! 


The selling, use and ownership of e-cigarettes is strictly forbidden. The country has had an on-going battle against smoking for quite a while. 


Finishing your food is considered rude as it implies you want more. Leaving a bit on your plate is said to show gratitude to your host’s generosity.


While shaking hands with somebody is a traditional greeting worldwide, in the Philippines, it is seen as a sign of aggression if you shake with gusto. Your handshake should be friendly, informal and, most important, limp. 


It is illegal to import beer, mineral water, soft drinks, sparkling wine, fruits, vegetables, cereals, eggs, textile fabrics, jewellery, and precious metals into the country. 


There’s a big taboo in Switzerland about making noise between 10pm and 7am. Taking too long in the shower, flushing the toilet or general causing a nuisance between these times will result in a lot of complaints from your neighbours.


No eating or drinking is permitted while you’re driving in Cyprus as the risk of crashing is heightened. 


It is illegal to stand on any form of currency in Thailand. It is seen as great disrespect to place the souls of your feet over any piece of money. 


There’s a small fine for driving your car with dirty number plates. The police are quite strict on the roads but maintaining a clean registration number should keep you hassle free.


**This blog post was previously published on Medway Leisure Travel, now trading as Pettitts Travel**

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