Travel Etiquette: Law Abiding Tourists

18 June 2015

We all probably know by now it's illegal to chew gum in Singapore, but many other destinations also have laws in place that prohibit actions that many would consider common practice at home. From Delaware to Israel, we've compiled a list of the most outdated and downright absurd (and sometimes practical) laws in existence to help avoid unnecessary fines on your travels.

United States

  • In Alabama, it is illegal to drive the wrong way down a one-way street unless you have a lantern attached to the front of your vehicle

...helpful to know for all those right-hand-side driving rookies, I guess. BYO lantern.

  • Also in Alabama, it is illegal to wear a fake moustache that may cause laughter in church

...try a clown wig instead.

  • If an elephant is tied to a parking meter in Florida, you must pay the parking fee just as you would for a car

...sorry, there's just no way around paying that meter.

 No singing on the beach (all images: Getty)
  • Also in Florida, it is illegal to sing in a public place when wearing a swimsuit.

...you might have to rethink that beachside sing-along.

  • You may only have one alcoholic drink in front of you at a time in Hawaii

...no double parking!

  • In Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, alcohol may not be served in a nightclub if dancing occurs on the premises at the same time

...apologies, budding moonwalkers, you won't be able to rely on any liquid courage in order to hit the dancefloor.

  • In Indiana, it's illegal to attend a public event or use public transport within four hours of eating onions or garlic

...I can see how this makes sense.

  • You're not allowed to eat fried chicken any other way than with your hands in Gainesville, Georgia

...step away from the silverware.

  • In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to tie a dollar note to a string on the ground and pull it away when someone tries to pick it up

...was this outlawed because the authorities got sick of all the complaints?


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Europe

  • It is against the law for a car to run out of petrol on the Autobahn in Germany

...roadside assistance must really love this one.

 Best stick to smiling selfies in Milan
  • Milan requires that citizens must smile at all times, or face a fine

...not sure what that means for travellers, but nevertheless, avoid the duck-face selfies. Say cheese!

  • If you plan on visiting Sweden during winter, it is illegal to complain and wish that it were sunny

...you'll just have to whinge about something else instead, like taxes.

  • In Switzerland, it is illegal to flush a toilet after 10pm

...you're going to have to hold on until morning.

Asia/Middle East

  • In Israel it is illegal to bring bears to the beach

...do stuffed bears count?

  • In Singapore, if you are convicted of littering three times, you have to clean up the streets on Sundays with a bib on that says, "I am a litterer"

...find a bin, put it in.

 Papaya salad done correctly in the eyes of the law
  • In the country that brought the world sumo wrestling, it is forbidden to be fat in Japan.

...no, you don't need that last gyoza.

  • In Thailand it is against the law to put cheese in som tum (papaya salad)

...if this happens at a restaurant, report the establishment immediately for crimes against gastronomy.


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Anna Howard

Give me street food over Michelin stars, cellar doors over wine bars and small towns and wide open spaces over big cities any day. Travel for me means ticking off the 'to eat and drink' list one regional flavour and wine bottle at a time.