Different countries, different rules. While you may think that it is okay to smoke in public, or just pay a fine after a bit of a misunderstanding, there are countries where the culture shock is massive when it comes to laws. Always research the country you are traveling to extensively, and make sure that your everyday habits do not infringe on another country’s regulations. Now, with that warning out of the way, here are some laws that you should pay attention to while traveling.
If you are a woman, you are not going to have a good time in Iran. Women are forbidden from enjoying and even partaking in many activities. For example, you will not be able to wear boots over your pants. And when it comes to clothes, boots are the least of your troubles. You have to cover your body in clothing that is not tight.
Women also can’t go anywhere without their guardians, voice their opinion on politics and religion, or even laugh and dance in public. Throw in the segregation, and your trip to Iran already has a mess of planning and adapting.
Men are a tad luckier – there are no ponytails and mullets allowed. You can’t take a photo of a government building, or of people. Women face these restrictions as well, of course.
Just because they are friendly and polite, Canadians will not look the other way if they see you stirring up trouble. They are not as strict and conservative as the Middle East, in fact they are very liberal, but there are some thing you simply can’t do and get away with it.
For example, if you have a baby, and wish to take a walker with you, you may want to leave it behind, or face a six-figure fine or jail time. It is believed that walkers impede the natural development of the baby’s legs and hips.
Additionally, you can’t swear in public in Toronto, or whistle, shout, or sing in Petrolia, Ontario. There’s a chance that this is where being polite comes from.
You have to be very careful in Singapore, as there are plenty of laws forbidding what most of us do every day. You are not allowed to buy, sell or chew gum. You can’t use another person’s Wi-Fi, and you’d better pretend that the pigeons are gremlins, because they should absolutely not be fed. Littering, graffiti and even jaywalking could land you in jail.
You can’t carry your allergy medication to Japan. This isn’t the only difficulty you will come across. For example, if you have tattoos, you will not be able to enter public pools or hot springs. Tattoos have a bad reputation, as they were something done only by gangsters in the past. Some places make concessions towards foreigners, but you are expected to cover up.
Final Rules of Thumb
In Asia, respect people’s personal space and quiet. Don’t hug or kiss your partner, and wait until you get indoors until you practice your sense of humor, or political discourse.
In the Middle East, avoid everything Western and vice versa. If you are a woman, don’t go anywhere alone.
In Europe, don’t drink, smoke or spank your child. Different European countries have different regulation and punishment for these offences.
Lastly, read up on the country you wish to visit to avoid any nasty surprises.