Travelling the globe and visiting different continents can bean exciting venture and one that many of us plan to do one day, but what we don’t know is that the same rules and regulations in our home country don’t always apply to others. It is important that tourists note these to keep themselves safe and respect the culture of those who are kind enough to share their experiences with us.
Driving on the wrong side of the road
In the UK, it is common knowledge that we all drive on the left-hand side of the road; however, this does not apply to all countries, where you must keep to the right-hand lane at all times. There is a reasonable explanation for this dating backto when right-hand swordsmen would keep to the ‘left side of the road’ to be able to use their right hand more easily and dismount from the right side of their horse. Some countries refused to change their stance, which is why there is a divide. It is important to note the driving rules and regulations of the country you plan to visit. Better yet, you can choose to organise an airport transfer instead so you can avoid the hassle altogether.
Dancing laws in Sweden
In order to discourage public disorder, Swedish bars and clubs must apply for permits that allow their customers to dance, which are issued by the authorities. If dancing occurs in venues without a license, this can mean serious trouble for the partygoer and the owners of the establishment. While there have been many attempts to remove the law, it still remains evident. However, these laws seem to be less strict on tourists, but it is one to watch out for.
Smoking and drinking laws
In some countries, there are strict laws on the consumption of alcohol and smoking products. For example, it is illegal to smoke or drink in public in Ukraine, which includes parks and all forms of transportation. In Thailand, it is illegal to smoke vaporisers like e-cigarettes or similar products. Doing so can lead to a hefty fine or even a prison sentence of up to 10 years. Smoking has even been banned on a number of beaches there in an attempt to protect the coastal environment. On a more serious note, Bhutan has prohibited tobacco entirely, with anyone caught being held accountable for their actions. This is amidst a plan to try to keep the air pure.
Chewing gum laws in Singapore
In Singapore, it is against the law to be caught chewing gum, unless it is proven that this is medicinal through a prescription or similar documentation. Anyone seen committing the act will receive a fine, which is increased for repeat offenders and may involve community service. The same applies to people caught littering or spitting in public. This is similar to the law in Barcelona, Spain, where spitting is frowned upon and will see you faced with a steep fine.
Feeding the pigeons in Venice
It may not be common knowledge for tourists, but the pigeons in St Marks Square, Venice must not be fed under any circumstances. This is done to try to reduce the population that hang around the famous city, due to the extensive damage they cause to the iconic and historic buildings. The same is said for San Francisco, where they are deemed a health hazard to residents. Whilst these acts may not lead to as serious repercussions like others on this list, you will still receive an indefinite fine.
The rules for high-heeled shoes
Many historic locations like the Acropolis in Greece and the Colosseum in Rome prohibit people from wearing high heels when visiting in an attempt to reduce the damage done to them. The locations have seen much wear and tear over the years as a result and officials want to try and preserve the archaeological sites for as long as possible. Food and drinks are also banned, with nearly 60 pounds of chewing gum being removed from the Odeon in Athens one year.
There are some countries that take their history seriously and see the mistreatment of their legacy as offensive. Countries like Sri Lanka will deny you entry if they can see a visible Buddha tattoo or can even have you deported. The same is said for those who try to take pictures or selfies at historic sites, which will be met with considerable repercussions.