Traveling the world is all about seeing new spots and creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences. However, even the most adventurous travelers probably don’t want their exotic excursions to end in a courtroom or jail cell, no matter how memorable those detours might be.
Laws aren’t always logical to visitors, though. Offenses that might be ignored or equal a tiny ticket at home could be a budget buster in other countries. If you’re planning to travel abroad, make sure to research foreign laws that can catch tourists unaware and empty their pockets.
Click through to discover the most ridiculous things you can be fined for in every state and when traveling abroad.
Driving Through Austria Without a Vignette
- Fine: At least 120 euros
Eileen Gunn and her husband flew into Zurich and drove to Germany, passing through about 10 miles of Austria en route. What they didn’t know is that they needed a Highway Toll Sticker, or Vignette, even for their short trip on Austria’s roads.
“The Austrians know no one is going to bother with this for the 10-mile stretch we were on,” said Gunn, a journalist and founder of the travel site FamiliesGo! “We got caught in a sting and were fined 150 euros or so for not having it.” The detour ended up costing them the equivalent of about $18 per mile.
“The pass itself is less than that, but more than you want to pay to drive 10 miles — maybe 25 or 50 euros? And yes, we deeply resented it,” she said.
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Feeding Birds in Venice, Italy, and Other Cities
- Fine: Varies by location
Tourists should watch out for hidden expenses when vacationing in Europe. Venice has prohibited tourists from feeding the pigeons populating Piazza San Marco since 2008. Ignoring the rules can cost visitors a lot of bread, with fines totaling hundreds of euros, according to Afar Magazine.
Authorities in East Devon, England, and San Diego, Calif., instituted similar fines in 2017 to discourage folks from feeding seagulls and other beach birds in some areas. East Devon is levying fines up to 80 pounds (about $105), and San Diego charges $50 for running afoul of the rule.
Public Displays of Affection in the United Arab Emirates
- Fines, deportation and/or jail time
Two visitors — a male and a female — were sentenced to a month in prison in 2017 for violating public decency laws in Dubai, a conservative sheikdom of the United Arab Emirates, according to Newsweek. A gas station employee observed the couple kissing in the station’s public restroom, and the service station’s manager reported the incident to police, landing the kissing couple in court.
Flashing the middle finger or urinating in public are just a few other costly mistakes you can make while traveling to this country.
Lounging at Home in the Buff in Singapore
- Fine: Up to 2,000 Singapore dollars or three months in jail
As is the case with many places, appearing nude in public can cost you in Singapore. But, so can being naked in your own home — if you’re exposed to public view. For the purposes of the statute, nudity is defined as being “clad in such a manner as to offend against public decency or order.” So, exhibitionists should plan to keep those shades drawn when they visit the Asian island.
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Fountain Funny Business in Rome
- Fine: 40 euros to 240 euros
Tired of too many tourists frolicking in Rome’s famous fountains, Mayor Virginia Raggi said in 2017 that people caught eating or lounging on the fountains’ pedestals, dipping their toes in the water or going for a swim would be fined up to 240 euros (around $280). The fines are valid for the summer season, through Oct. 31. Fortunately, tossing a few coins into the fountains won’t land visitors in hot water with the law.
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Visiting Historic Hvar in a Swimsuit
- Fine: 500 euros
Rikardo Novak, the mayor of this holiday hot spot in Croatia, instituted several fines in 2017 to rein in rowdy tourists. Parading around Hvar’s city center in a swimsuit — or anything less — could cost visitors a pretty penny. Going with just a swimsuit top for women or trunks for men could cost 500 euros (about $584). And, the fine for drinking alcohol or sleeping in public is a hefty 700 euros.
It’s hard to claim ignorance of finable offenses, as authorities have erected warning signs — complete with illustrative stick figure drawings — around town.
Bringing Certain Over-the-Counter Drugs to Japan
- Fine: Up to 5 million yen
Before you pack your medication for your Japan trip, be sure to check the drug laws, as many over-the-counter medications in the U.S. are banned there. For instance, any product that contains over 10 percent pseudoephedrine — like Sudafed — is prohibited. Even some common prescription drugs aren’t allowed: Amphetamines and methamphetamines, including the common ADHD prescription drug Adderall, are strictly illegal in Japan.
If you’re planning to stay for longer than a month, you might need to apply for an import certificate called a “Yakkan Shoumei” for your prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs. It makes sense for visitors to mull over the medicine cabinet well in advance of any trip to the Land of the Rising Sun.
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Wearing Camo in the Caribbean
- Fine: Varies by location
Non-military personnel are banned from sporting camouflage clothing or gear in many parts of the Caribbean, including Barbados and St. Lucia. The rule applies to even the tiniest travelers in Barbados, so it’s best to leave the kids’ cute camo pants at home. In Grenada, you can be fined 10,000 East Caribbean dollars (about $3,700) or jailed for a year, according to the BBC.
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Running Out of Gas in Germany
- Fine: Up to 70 euros
Germans take the rules of the road seriously. On the Autobahn, for instance, you can be fined up to 70 euros (about $82) for running out of gas, as it’s illegal to create obstacles to traffic. No matter where you’re driving, drivers can also land fines for everything from failing to switch to winter tires when required, to using mobile phones behind the wheel. Before hitting the Autobahn as your next affordable travel destination, double-check the rules of the road to prevent an unpleasant ticket and fine.
Swearing in a Public Park in Toronto
- Fine: Over 200 Canadian dollars
Toronto’s municipal code prohibits “riotous, boisterous, violent, threatening or illegal conduct or using profane or abusive language” in its city parks. It’s also worth noting public bus drivers across Ontario can refuse to transport anyone who is in an “intoxicated condition or conducting himself or herself in a boisterous or disorderly manner or is using profane or obscene language.” So, keep it clean in Canada.
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Priscilla Aguilera contributed to the reporting for this article.
The reporting for this article was based on anecdotes, which means current laws and fines might be different. Always do your own research before traveling.