Group trips with strangers scare the sh*t out of me because I know just how ignorant some folks can be toward certain laws at home. Being ignorant toward the law while abroad advances us to another level. I’ve watched enough Locked Up Abroad on MSNBC to know going to jail in some of these countries is not an option. I’d rather find myself dead after a shootout with police.
Before each trip, I make sure the people I’m going with know all the laws that aren’t laws at home, and to know I will leave them in that country should they find themselves locked up for something dumb.
Anywho, this traveling thing is catching on, and I felt the need to share with most of you some of the crazy laws around the world that may land you in jail.
1. Dubai: Extramarital sex could result in jail sentences for over a year. Sadly, in rape cases, both the victim and the perpetrator could end up being charged with the same crime.
2. France: You are not legally allowed to marry dead people.
3. Greece: High heels are banned in historic structures to keep from messing things up.
4. Greece: Police are allowed to arrest anyone suspected of having HIV. Police are also allowed to force HIV testing.
5. Philippines: Vexing someone is illegal. To Vex: make (someone) feel annoyed, frustrated, or worried, especially with trivial matters. “The memory of the conversation still vexed him.”
Side Note: Never ever ever ever insult the city, country, state, or anything bearing its emblem or shield or whatever. You are a visitor and should accept it as it is. Many countries will lock you up immediately for talking sh*t about what they’re so proud of. And hey, if you’re American, you should know better anyway. After all, Donald Trump is running for president.
6: Thailand: Stepping on money is not allowed. Burning it also, Floyd Mayweather.
7. Singapore: Selling non-medical chewing gum or chewing normal gum is a fine of $1000 the first time, and $2000 the second time along with cleaning the public areas of the city for a day.
8: Russia: You cannot tell children that gay people exist.
9: Venice: Feeding pigeons in St Mark’s Square is a NO NO.
10: Germany: Do not run out of gas on the autobahn.
Side Note: Everywhere in the world has not banned Cruel & Unusual Punishment (hell, America hasn’t either really). The thing you may consider small, like writing your name on the bus bench in singapore with a pencil, will get you caned by the authorities. Do not act up.
11: Spain: When driving, you are not allowed to wear flip flops.
12: Thailand: Insulting the throne will get your jailed or maybe even beat up.
13. India & Nepal: DO NOT KILL COWS!
Side Note: To my friends who brag about how great they are at smuggling drugs through customs around the world, this crime is punishable by death in many places.
14. Japan: Carry your ID at all times. Not having it will have you behind bars with no contact to the outside world for a few weeks.
15. Dubai: Taking photos of government buildings and women without permission is what you are not going to do.
Some of these laws are silly and may be antiquated, but some are definitely still very much in full use and those enforcing them are ready to bust you in your head or pockets. So please be careful. For those extra cautious folks, try enrolling in the Smart Travelers Enrollment Program (STEP) before your trip to let the folks know your plans.
Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.