The Original Think Magazine (Published since 1996)
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Laws and Customs: What You Should Know Before You Travel

Before you travel anywhere, it pays to research the different laws and customs associated with your chosen destination.


Many Brits have been caught out while travelling because of unusual laws they weren’t aware of. You could end up with a pretty large fine, or worse; you could end up doing time in a prison cell if you aren’t familiar with what you shouldn’t be doing on your holiday.


Did you know for example, that in some places, you can get into serious trouble for playing bingo or for feeding pigeons? Things that are quite common in the UK may not be tolerated in other countries.


One of the main unusual laws you should be aware of affects your travel in the Netherlands. Although it’s a destination known for its legal, recreational drug use, it isn’t actually permitted in all parts. In fact, in many parts of the Netherlands you could face a prison sentence for taking or carrying an illegal substance.


Meanwhile in Venice, if you innocently go to feed the pigeons, you will face a fine due to it being against the law. A similarly easy law to break is if you’re chewing gum in Singapore on the Mass Rapid Transit system. It is strictly prohibited and you will face a hefty fine if you’re caught.


If you’re travelling to Japan you’ll end up in trouble before you’ve even got there if you pack a nasal spray containing pseudoephedrine. These are readily available in the UK, but it’s illegal to take them with you on your Japanese travels.


When booking a holiday to Thailand through Expedia, or any other holiday provider, don’t pack more than 200 cigarettes to take with you. If you do, not only will you face high fines, but you’ll also have them confiscated.


In Barcelona, you’ll face large fines if you choose to wear a bikini or swimming trunks away from the beach. It’s also against the law to go bare-chested if you aren’t on the beach.


The popular Italian destination of Florence also boasts an unusual law: you are not allowed to eat or drink while you’re in the vicinity of public buildings or churches. You’ll also face fines if you sit on courtyards or on the steps of these buildings.


A slightly more serious law has been put into place in Saudi Arabia. If you photograph any government buildings, palaces or military installations, you will be arrested and detained.


Similarly, a serious law you have to remember when travelling to the Maldives is that all public observance of a religion other than Islam will result in you being arrested and detained.


These are just some of the laws you really need to look at before you travel. Knowledge is definitely power, and in some of these cases it makes the difference between enjoying your holiday on a beach or facing an uncomfortable stay in a prison cell.



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