If you’re a seasoned traveler, you must be used to coming across quirky laws that don’t apply in your native country, but for first-time tourists, it’s best to be aware of these regulations so that you can avoid a faux-pas that could land you on the wrong side of the law.
1. Vicks inhalers are banned in Japan. If you’re landing at Tokyo’s Narita airport, it’s best to throw away your inhaler. Any over-the-counter sinus/allergy medications that contain pseudoephedrine are banned under Japan’s tough anti-drug laws. Meds that contain codeine are also prohibited, so good luck with the sniffles.
2. Don’t feed the birds in San Francisco. If you’re caught feeding crumbs to pigeons in San Francisco’s streets, you may have to pay a hefty fine. The city authorities consider the growing population of birds a menace to the environment because of the disease and damage they cause.
3. No PDA in the UAE. Show your partner (or FWB) any displays of your affection in public and you could be arrested and thrown in prison for this ‘offensive behavior’. It’s best to keep all the cuddles reserved for behind closed doors.
4. No chewing gum in Singapore. Smoking is an offence that will lead to a heavy fine in the ‘cleanest city’, but if you’re trying to quit the habit by chewing gum, don’t step on to the MRT trains. After an early incident where gum stuck on the ultra-sensitive doors caused a long delay, the act of gum-chewing has become an offence punishable by a fine of $500.
5. Drive with a breathalyzer in France. All motorists are legally bound to carry a portable breathalyzer in their vehicles. If a gendarme stops you and finds you driving sans this gadget, you’ll have to pay a heavy fine, even if you’re a tourist.