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Thursday, May 23, 2024

World’s Savviest Travellers Fall Prey to Obscure International Laws

Lesser-Known Global Travel LawsNavigating the global labyrinth of local laws can be a bewildering journey, even for the most seasoned travellers. The pitfalls are many and often unexpected, from being detained for unwittingly taking photos in sensitive areas to being fined for the most mundane activities like littering or vaping.

According to the latest findings from the Global Rescue Spring 2024 Traveler Sentiment and Safety Survey, approximately 7% of globe-trotting participants encountered legal troubles overseas due to rules they were previously unaware of. Among the reported incidents were penalties for drinking in public places, speeding, and engaging in activities deemed illegal in specific local contexts, like skiing off-piste.

One might be surprised to learn that discarding a gum wrapper in Bangkok can lead to hefty fines while capturing a moment outside a Moroccan police station might invite unwelcome scrutiny. Even the freedom of movement we often take for granted can lead to confrontations, as some found out when jaywalking in Krakow or vaping in the strict streets of Singapore.

Dan Richards, CEO of The Global Rescue Companies and a prominent figure on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, emphasizes the importance of familiarizing oneself with the legal landscape of travel destinations. “The allure of remote, less-trodden paths can lead to authentic experiences, but it also increases the likelihood of unintentional legal breaches,” Richards cautions.

The survey also highlighted popular travel destinations like Italy and Greece, where seemingly innocuous activities could be prohibited. Tourists may find themselves on the wrong side of the law for actions as simple as feeding pigeons in Venice’s Piazza San Marco or taking a dip in Rome’s historic Trevi Fountain. Greece goes to great lengths to protect its heritage, prohibiting high-heeled shoes at the Acropolis to prevent damage to ancient stones.

Thailand offers another unique challenge. It is illegal to drive shirtless, a rule that starkly contrasts with Germany’s Autobahn, where drivers can speed on certain sections shirtless but must not stop unnecessarily.

The U.S. Department of State urges travellers to be diligent: “You are bound by local laws when abroad. Ignorance is not an excuse.” This stark reminder serves as a call to action for all international travellers to engage deeply with local customs and regulations.

For those planning to cross international borders, the stakes are clear. The joy of discovery and the thrill of adventure is only preserved through respect and adherence to local norms and laws. As our world becomes increasingly interconnected, the well-informed traveller is a savvy explorer and a respectful guest, treading lightly and wisely on foreign soil.




Written by: My Thanh Pham







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