If you think the US is the only country with dumb laws, think again! The truth is, wherever you travel, whether locally or abroad, you’re going to run into strange rules and regulations that make no sense. No country is immune from ridiculous laws with hefty consequences that you’d have a hard time imagining anyone enforcing with a straight face. Let’s face it, we’re bound to be breaking an arcane law somewhere in the world every second we’re awake, so we might as well embrace the fact we’re all criminals and have fun with it!
Where: Scotland When you gotta go, you gotta go -- even if that means going into random Scottish people’s houses and using their bathrooms. In Scotland, an old law states that if a stranger knocks on your door asking to relieve themselves in your toilet, you are required to let them. Nowadays it’s more polite custom than enforced law, but it’s still very much in the books. Also illegal in Scotland: Wearing underwear under your kilt. You will be fined two beers.
Where: Sweden If a few shots of schnapps has inspired you to do some spur-of-the-moment shimmying and shape-cutting in Sweden, you better check in with the bar staff before you get down on that dance floor. Bars and pubs are required by law to have a “dance permit” to allow people to bust moves on the premises. The law was introduced back in the 1970s as a way for the Swedish “polis” to prevent public disorder, which they feared might lead to riots. Also illegal in Sweden: Painting your house without getting a license, posting pictures of Swedish money, and painting the Swedish flag and still calling it a flag afterward.
Where: Switzerland After 10 pm, flushing the loo is more than just a taboo in Switzerland. It’s against the law and considered noise pollution. If you’re pregnant, have little kids who need to go, or your stomach is upset; apparently, you’re out of luck until morning. Also illegal in Switzerland: Relieving yourself as a man standing up after 10 pm, leaving your car keys in the car with your door open, hanging clothes to dry on Sunday, washing your car on Sunday, and alpining in the nude.
Where: Singapore Chew on this: in Singapore, there has been a nationwide ban on both gum and gum chewing since 1992. There is just one exception to this law: you are allowed gum if you can prove that you’re using it for medicinal purposes. Other than that, bringing a stick of Trident into the country will put you in a very sticky situation with the authorities. Apparently, they take it very seriously. Also illegal in Singapore:Cigarettes, peeing in an elevator and walking around your house in the nude.
Where: Italy This one will drive a lot of men nuts -- you can’t adjust your family jewels in Milan, or you’ll come to grips with a hefty fine. It’s not just public masturbation that’s illegal there, but adjusting, tugging or even grabbing your junk for luck are also finable offenses. Women, on the other hand, are exempt from this law. It might be sexist, but it’s written into the penal code. So, ladies? Have at it. Also illegal in Italy: Dying in the village of Falciano del Massico, and wearing a skirt if you’re a man.
Where: France Hey gents, here’s another one for you. If you’re planning to plunge into a pool in France anytime soon, better stock up on the Speedos. It’s not just a poolside dress code -- it’s against the law for men to wear baggy swim trunks in France. Laugh all you want at weenie bikinis, budgie smugglers, banana hammocks and man thongs -- you better be wearing one. If you don’t comply, you can’t swim. Also illegal in France: Kissing on the railways, naming a pig Napoleon, elephants on beaches, and taking photos of police cars even if they’re in the background of your shot.
Where: England If you’re holding a salmon in a way that might be considered fishy, you’re committing a crime, according to the Salmon Act of 1986. Also illegal in England:Dying in Parliament, carpet beating, eating a mute swan unless you’re the Queen, falling off the Blackpool Tower under any circumstances, urinating in public as a man unless it’s against the back wheel of his own vehicle using his right hand for balance, and committing suicide, which is a capital offense.
Where: China If you’re a Buddhist monk, you better not be planning to come back from the dead without getting an okay from the authorities first. It’s illegal for monks to reincarnate without the express permission of the totalitarian Chinese government. How they enforce this isn’t clear, but they’ve been warned. Also illegal in China: Winnie-the-Pooh, weird architecture, and movies about time travel.
Where: Australia G’day, potato hoarders! Unfortunately, Western Australia might not be the place for you. Owning any more than 110 lbs of spuds at any one time is against the law there. The authorities even have a right to stop and search your vehicle for stealth starch. Also illegal in Australia: Crushing beer cans with your breasts, wearing hot pink pants after noon on Sunday, changing a lightbulb if you’re not a licensed electrician, and walking down the street wearing black felt shoes, black clothes and black shoe polish on your face.
Where: Argentina Feather mattresses are banned in Argentina because they are considered an indulgence that inspires and encourages indecent feelings. Any other mattress? Totally cool. Apparently, only feather mattresses have an X-rated effect on Argentinians? Also illegal in Argentina: Not playing as much tango music as all other types of music combined if you’re hired as a disc jockey.