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Packing your suitcase and double-checking the presence of your passport are normally the ways holidaymakers prepare for a jaunt overseas. However, one thing travellers may not think to do is read up on local laws of their chosen destination.
Though key laws around the world are mostly the same, there are some nuances in each nation’s legal regulations which could catch tourists out if they are not prepared.
What’s more, some of these “unusual” laws are present in countries which are extremely popular with British tourists.
In fact, tourists visiting France, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand and the US could face fines or even be put behind bars if they aren’t aware of these strict legalities.
Travel experts from MyBaggage revealed some of the most stringent rules that tourists may not realise exist in these five holiday hotspots.
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A spokesperson for My Baggage said: “When you visit or move to a new country it is down to you to follow the rules of that country, regardless of how weird you may think they are!
“Ignoring these rules and laws could prove a costly decision, and in some stricter countries could even see you put behind bars!
“It’s important to research the countries you are planning on visiting to ensure you don’t appear ignorant by disrespecting their rules or culture.
“Though many of the laws in the US, for example, are similar to those in the UK, there is one law which the experts point out could confuse Britons.
“Here in the UK, we think nothing of crossing the road if we’ve checked both ways and seen that there are no cars coming and it’s safe to cross,” said the spokesperson.
“In America however, it isn’t so simple.
“In some states, if you don’t cross the road at designated areas, such as zebra crossings, you could be fined for jaywalking.”
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In San Francisco, there are even rules about feeding pigeons.
The expert continues: “If you’re drawn by the big lights of one of America’s major cities, you should be careful to avoid feeding any of its wildlife.
“Feeding pigeons on San Francisco’s streets could land you an expensive fine if you’re caught.”
In Australia, there are also specific rules which dictate how to behave when out and about in public areas.
“Australians are known for their laid-back attitude, but this isn’t the case when it comes to their pavements,” said My Baggage’s spokesperson.
“As is done in the UK, pedestrians are expected to walk on the left-hand side of a footpath, in order to allow other people down the same path.“If you’re spotted walking down the wrong side of the path – the right-hand side – the Aussie police can fine you.”
Meanwhile, in Thailand it is vital people watch where they are putting their feed.
The expert explains: “You will want to look after and keep an eye on your money no matter where you travel to, but this is very important in Thailand.
“Stepping on Baht – the currency used in Thailand – is illegal as it is seen as stepping on a member of the Thai royal family.”
In some destinations, it is important to consider how you interact with others on the street, including your nearest and dearest.One law in the United Arab Emirates, home of the popular holiday destination Dubai, could see tourists put behind bars if they are not compliant.
“Any public display of affection including kissing, holding hands and hugging must be avoided in the United Arab Emirates. Known for having a very strict culture, if you break the law, you could end up behind bars,” warns the expert.
Closer to home, there are also laws which could be costly to Britons.
Many British travellers choose to drive when visiting France, however, forgetting one item could have costly consequence.
“This is important to know, especially if you plan on driving to Europe via France. Drivers must carry a breathalyser in their vehicle at all times,” said the My Baggage expert.
“If you’re caught without the gadget then you’ll be fined.”
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