Have you heard about these strange laws around the world? One of the most wonderful things about travelling is exploring the different cultures around the world. Travellers enjoy sampling local foods and drinks, and chatting to locals to hear all about ‘real’ life at their chosen destination.
It’s important for travellers to be aware of local laws and customs, but some places around the world have laws and traditions that are so strange it’s hard to believe they’re even real.
We’ve rounded up some of the weirdest customs and traditions and strange laws around the world:
1. Don’t frown when in Italy
In Milan, Italy, it is illegal for citizens to frown in public—unless they’re at a funeral or visiting someone in the hospital. We’re not too sure if anyone has ever been arrested for frowning in Italy, but when on holiday, rather just smile.
2. Leave gum at home when travelling to Singapore
It’s illegal to chew gum in Singapore. In fact, no gum is bought or sold here. The law is said to be in place to keep public spaces clean. There is one exception, however: If you can prove chewing gum has therapeutic value, then you can have it.
3. Pets or wild animals? You can’t just take them anywhere…
There is a law in New Zealand that states you cannot fly with a rooster in a hot air balloon.
In Baltimore in the US, it’s illegal to bring a lion to the movies.
Whaling is banned in Oklahoma. Nothing bizarre about that, except that there hasn’t been a naturally occurring whale in Oklahoma in… forever. The state is landlocked.
4. Weird and wonderful rules of the road around the world
It’s illegal to drive a dirty car in Russia.
When in Germany, it’s not just an inconvenience to run out of petrol, it’s actually illegal.
In Scandinavia, there is a law that says you’re not allowed to drive without headlights on.
5. Fancy a drink? Not so fast!
If you’d like a glass of wine or a cocktail in Thailand, you can only purchase alcohol during lunch time (11-2 p.m.) or dinner (after 5 p.m.) — and, yes, that includes in bars and restaurants.
In Bolivia, you get to enjoy as many adult beverages as you like if you’re a single lady. Married women are out of luck though as they are only allowed one glass of wine. This is said to prevent any boozy extra-marital flirting.
A city regulation in Colorado states that alcohol can only be served in locations with enough lighting for people to read the very small text on the labels.
6. Leave your stilettos at home when visiting ancient Greece
Tourists visiting the Acropolis or Colosseum will want to trade in their five-inch stiletto heels for a pair of walking shoes, as wearing heels is illegal at the ancient Greek sites.
7. Skydiving on a Sunday is just not done in Florida
In Florida, it’s illegal for a married woman to go skydiving on a Sunday. Breaking the law can result in fines, arrest, and jail time.
8. Avoid being ‘suspicious’ with England’s salmons
Holding a salmon “suspiciously” is a crime in England, thanks to the Salmon Act of 1986. Is it even possible to hold a salmon un-suspiciously?
9. Speedos are all the rage in France
In most swimming pools in France, loose-fitting swimming trunks are now forbidden. So, gentleman, better go shopping for speedos.
10. Don’t be a cowboy boot poser in California
There’s a law in California that prohibits anyone from wearing cowboy boots unless they own at least two head of cattle.
11. Don’t build sandcastles in Italy
Beach-goers in Eraclea, Italy, may swim but should refrain from building sandcastles. It’s illegal in the city as a matter of ‘public decorum’.
12. If you plan to die – keep in mind the following rules in the UK and China
There is a law in England banning people from dying in Parliament. Exactly why this law came into being and how they intend to enforce it is unclear, but better check your health before visiting the Parliament.
If you want to reincarnate in China, you better ask permission first. The Chinese government recently legislated that Buddhist monks are banned from reincarnating without the government’s express permission.
Although the above rules are all quite bizarre, and these strange laws around the world will probably never be enforced – it is important for travel agents to read up on the laws and customs of the destinations to which they are sending their travellers.