Strange Laws You Should Be Aware Of When You Travel
Be Aware Of Laws In The Places You Travel Beforehand
Some Of Them Make Sense, Some Are Just Strange...
One smart thing to do if you are a traveler is to look into the laws and customs of the place you will be visiting and study them before you leave. The last thing you want to do is to draw unwanted attention to yourself or offend someone, especially in a foreign country. And worse yet, you certainly don't want to find that you've broken a law, especially in another country.
Walking down streets here in Las Vegas, you pretty much see it all. You have people in very revealing clothing, every kind of shoes imaginable, and among the American citizens especially, swearing or using profanity. American's have become so accustomed to using profanity that the shock value of it has become practically non-existent.
There are places, however, where using profanity and swearing will get you in trouble, if you're caught. It's best if you just don't do it at all. If you need to, practice before leaving for your trip. Have a "cuss jar" where you deposit money every time you let one of those expletives fly. Then work on lessening it until you stop altogether. I've heard some people talk in such a way that nearly every other word is profane. I don't know if it is from over-exposure to that language in media or just in every day life, but expletives don't seem to carry the weight that they used to years ago, and using them has become a bad habit for some people.
If you are planning to travel to the Australian states of Victoria and Queensland, be aware that cursing is against the law there according to laws passed in 2011. In Victoria, the fine is $240AUD and in Victoria the fine is $100AUD. So, keep the profanity quiet and it might help to pick up a few Australian swear words just to be sure you don't say those either!
In the early 1990s, swearing became illegal in Virginia Beach, VA. If caught, you could face a possible fine of $250 and up to ten days of community service. Virginia Beach is striving to be a family friendly destination, and for obvious reasons, profanity does not fit in with that type of atmosphere.
Swearing is also banned in Long Beach, California, but only on miniature golf courses. So, no matter how frustrating that little windmill thingy is, don't cuss about it. Just enjoy the game and try not to take it so seriously.
BANS ON LITTERING, CHEWING GUM AND SMOKING IN PUBLIC
Chewing gum is illegal is places such as Thailand and Singapore, and using chewed gum to litter by throwing it in a public place is illegal in the UK (From what I've read at least). You can chew gum in the UK, just be careful to properly dispose of it. This is common sense anyway. When you are traveling to another country, you have to remember that you are a guest in that country and should act accordingly. Respect the laws there and the people, respect the land and help to keep it clean, and chances are you won't have any problem.
Singapore is a place that is actually known for a lot of its stringent laws since they strive to keep the city clean and orderly. There are fines for littering there, just as there are for littering in many places and those fines can be up to $1,000. It's best to just be respectful of the country you are visiting and its people while you're there. It is also illegal to smoke in public in Singapore, so if you are in doubt, just refrain from smoking.
DON'T SPIT IN PUBLIC
In many countries it is not only rude to spit in public, it is a social taboo. And when you are a guest in another country, you want to be very careful not to do things that are illegal and offensive. Spitting is one of these things. In fact, since the 1800's, many have viewed spitting in public as vulgar, especially if it is done in mixed company.
Places in the United States have laws against spitting, such as Burlingame, California and Dodge City, Kansas. Overseas, you don't want to be caught spitting in public in Vancouver, Barcelona or Singapore. If you do spit on the public streets in these places, you could be looking at jail time or a hefty fine. It's just not worth it, so refrain from doing it in the first place.
ILLEGAL TO POSSESS OR USE SILLY STRING OR CONFETTI IN SOME PLACES
I had no idea that it is illegal to have or use confetti in Mobile, Alabama, and chances are not many people do know that. But it is illegal. It's been found to be very hard to clean up and just not good for the environment, so it has been banned in Mobile.
Middleborough, Massachusetts has been known for being a little bit "law-happy," but one law that is not happy is that you cannot possess or use Silly String. In addition, there is a Silly String ban in places such as Southington, Connecticut, Huntington, New York and Ridgewood, New Jersey. You also cannot use Silly String at Halloween in Los Angeles.
I assume that the reasoning behind these laws is the difficulty in cleaning up whatever Silly String is made of and the pollution it causes, not to mention that it's unsightly. So, refrain from bringing Silly String or confetti along with you when you are traveling, and you should have no problem.
Watch What You Wear!
WATCH THE WAY YOU ARE DRESSED
In some places, it is illegal to wear revealing clothing. Laws forbidding indecent dress are really very common, so it pays to use some common sense when packing that suitcase. Dress in a business casual way most of the time, or at least if you do wear jeans, wear a solid color shirt with them.
No profanity laced t-shirts. In fact, in all the years my husband traveled while he was in the Air Force, he was always told to never wear t-shirts or any other type of shirts with any writing or pictures on them. Stick to solid colors, semi-conservative clothing, and you should be OK.
The last thing you want your clothing to do when you are traveling, especially overseas is to shout "hey, I'm an American!" (If you are an American). You want to try to blend in, fly under the radar, not draw unwanted attention to yourself. You don't want someone to know specifically what country you are originally from. Blending in with the locals when traveling is always a good thing.
Thailand has a law forbidding not wearing underwear, so pack plenty of underwear. It's always a good idea to wear it anyway, especially for hygienic reasons. No going "commando!"
Some countries like Qatar forbid revealing clothes, and revealing is often defined as nothing tight or transparent, and definitely nothing that shows either the shoulders or the knees. Even places like Naples and south of Naples have laws against mini skirts, cleavage showing and too low cut jeans. And Vatican City forbids revealing clothing when one is entering either a church or a museum.
In addition, many places that are beach destinations forbid walking the streets in bikini's and other swimwear and require cover-ups to be worn. It is always best to check the laws of the place you will be visiting to make the trip enjoyable. You might just keep yourself out of trouble, too.
PULL UP THOSE PANTS!
Not only is it unsightly to have your pants going down to the middle of your butt, it is illegal now in some places. Fashions do change, but anything that could offend someone like those trendy saggy pants, shorts or skirts should be left at home when you are traveling. No one needs to see those boxers, even though you may be really proud of them. And no one needs to see a lady's thong either. Say no to crack doesn't just apply to plumbers in this case.
In fact, several metropolitan areas around Atlanta, Georgia, have banned saggy pants and that goes for skirts and shorts as well, if they fall three inches below the hips. In Forest Park, Georgia, it will cost you $1,000 if you are caught wearing them, so don't. A town in Louisiana, Delcambre, LA was the first to prohibit showing underwear in public. In Montgomery county in Alabama, adults that wear these face a possible $150 fine and kids will pay $100. I guess they figure adults oughtta know better so they pay more if they are caught.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE SHOES YOU ARE WEARING
It might sound silly, but there are places that forbid high heeled shoes for women. If you are visiting the historic sites around Greece, high heeled shoes are forbidden due to the damage they cause to these delicate structures. There has been damage in the past to the Acropolis, making a law like this necessary.
It makes sense anyway, if you are touring ruins, why would you be wearing high heeled shoes in the first place? This is where the term "sensible shoes" comes in. It is always smart to wear shoes that are comfortable and not too trendy and that are good for walking.
Carmel, California had a similar ban back when Clint Eastwood was the mayor, only it wasn't enforced very often. The reasoning behind the law was that women were hurting their ankles on the cobblestone streets, and the city enacted a law basically to protect itself from lawsuits. From what I've read, there is even a souvenir permit that visitors to Carmel can buy allowing them to wear high heels.
In some places, it is even illegal to wear shoes that make "excessive noise" such as clogs and shoes with noisy soles like sandals with wooden soles. Along the lines of a "fun fact," it was once said that the city of Blythe, California at one time outlawed the wearing of cowboy boots by anyone that does not own a minimum of two cows. That law is not enforced today, if indeed there ever was such a law.
Remember ~ No Bigfoot Hunting Or Cactus Shooting!
NO HUNTING FOR BIGFOOT
Yes, there are places that forbid visitors to hunt for Bigfoot, so if you are tempted to do that, don't even visit certain counties in Washington State like Whatcom County and Skamania County. There are ordinances in effect in these places protecting "Sasquatch" or Bigfoot as they are sometimes known. And these laws have been in effect since 1969. The laws basically exist to keep hunters from shooting other people, mistaking them for "Bigfoot." So, when you look at them that way, they make sense. Just don't center your trip around hunting Bigfoot, and you should be ok.
DON'T SHOOT CACTUS'S IN ARIZONA
And finally, don't shoot a Saguaro cactus in Arizona. These cactus's have become endangered due to people shooting holes in them and otherwise defacing them, so damaging a cactus in Arizona carries stiff penalties, including up to 25 years in jail. It is said that in 1982, a man shot so many holes in a cactus that it fell on him and killed him, so it's just plain smart not to shoot them anyway, besides being illegal.
When you are traveling, just keep these common sense tips in mind and be respectful of the culture and land of other places you visit. Be polite and respectful of the people in every place that you visit and mind your manners. Mom was right when she told you to do these things anyway, so listen to Mom and you'll be fine!
Safe travels, and have a wonderful trip! Get out there without getting into trouble and make some fantastic memories!
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