‘Tis the season for holiday travel, and if you’re planning to jet off to foreign lands, it’s wise to be in the know about some of the unusual rules in different countries. Every place has its quirks, from lifestyle nuances to downright peculiar regulations that might catch you by surprise.
Here are four offbeat travel rules from around the world that could throw you a curveball:
No Beach Smoking in France and Spain
Even though many Asian countries are known for their strong smoking culture, it might shock you to learn that smoking is a no-go on all beaches in France and Spain. This rule is part of a nationwide anti-tobacco campaign, championed by President Emmanuel Macron to create a ‘smoke-free generation’ by 2032. And it’s not just the beaches; smoking is a taboo in most public spaces, from parks and forests to areas around schools and stations. The law kicks in from early 2024 and includes a ban on disposable e-cigarettes too.
No Flip-Flops in Certain Parts of Italy
While flip-flops are the go-to choice for many in Asia for their laid-back style and comfort, there’s one spot in Italy where they’re a big no-no—Capri Island. Here, wearing noisy footwear, including flip-flops, is considered a violation due to the locals’ love for peace and quiet. So, leave those flip-flops behind if you’re heading to Capri to soak in its serene atmosphere.
No Vaping in Thailand
Vaping or e-cigarettes are all the rage globally, and Thailand is no exception. But, if you’re a traveler to the Land of Smiles, tread carefully. Since November 2014, Thailand has cracked down on the import, export, sale, and possession of vaping products. Get caught, and you could face hefty penalties, including up to a decade in the slammer. Thailand also has other strict rules, like a ban on buying or sipping on alcohol during election times.
No Chewing Gum in Singapore
Singapore boasts one of the quirkiest rules around chewing gum. While gum itself isn’t contraband, bringing it into the country or trying to sell it has been a no-no since 1992. There are exceptions for dental and nicotine gum, but you can only snag those from registered doctors or pharmacists. Oh, and just so you know, strolling around your hotel room in the buff is also a big red X in Singapore.
These peculiar rules are a reminder of the importance of brushing up on a destination’s unique regulations for a smooth and trouble-free holiday adventure.