39 Strange and Unexpected Laws Around the World

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and travel: The situation around the world is changing dramatically. Various governments have changed their travel warnings to restrict travel during this time. To understand how this may impact cover under your policy, please go to our FAQs and select your country of residence.

For the latest travel warnings and alerts around the world, read about lockdowns and border restrictions.

From restrictions against driving while wearing flip-flops to the three French towns where it's illegal to die, here are 39 obscure and just plain weird laws to be aware of.

Police Municipale is controlling the traffic in Cannes, France Photo © iStock/omersukrugoksu

There are laws we can all get behind (physics, to name one) but also laws that just seem to make no sense. Whether they are holdovers from different eras or knee-jerk reactions to some newly perceived threat, there are some laws around the world you could innocently break while traveling and end up dealing with the authorities.

Countries where camouflage clothing is illegal 

  • It is illegal to wear camouflage clothing in several countries in the Caribbean including JamaicaBarbados, Grenada, St. Lucia, Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda. in Africa, it can't be worn by anyone who is not in the military in Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Zambia. It's also outlawed in Saudi Arabia, Philippines and Oman. 

Four laws you didn't know were in place in Mexico

  • It's illegal to shout offensive words in any public place in Mexico.
  • If you're on a bike, you must keep both feet on the pedals.
  • It's illegal for foreigners to take part in political activities.
  • Drinking alcohol on the street is verboten.

From Spain to Austria: 13 unusual laws across Europe

Spain

  • You can be fined for driving while wearing flip-flops.
  • In Barcelona, you can be fined for wearing swimwear anyplace other than the beach, as well as for spitting.

France

  • It is technically illegal to kiss on the platform at a train station.
  • You must wear Speedo-style bathing suits that leave nothing to the imagination to go swimming in many pools. They're seen as more hygienic than loose board shorts.
  • In three towns it is against the law to die. These ordinances were passed as a protest when the creation of new cemeteries was denied.

Germany

  • It's illegal to run out of gas on the autobahn, as well as to walk along it.

Switzerland

  • You cannot flush a toilet in an apartment building after 10pm.

Austria

  • You can be fined and/or booted off a train if you are making out or eating something considered too smelly.

Italy

  • In Florence, you can be fined for eating or drinking on certain streets in the historic center.
  • In Venice, it is illegal to feed the pigeons.
  • In Eraclea, near Venice, it is illegal to build sandcastles.

24 laws you didn't know about in the USA

Weird laws in Florida

  • It's against the law for a woman to fall asleep under a hairdryer at a salon.
  • It is illegal to sing while wearing a bathing suit.
  • In Pensacola, rolling a barrel down the street can get you a fine.
  • It's illegal to skateboard without a skateboarding license. This one is still on the books but not enforced.
  • Missionary is the only legal sexual position.

Hawaii

  • It's illegal to be wearing just swim trunks in public.
  • You must wear a seatbelt when riding in the backseat of a car, but you can ride in the back of a pickup truck without any safety equipment.
  • You can only have one alcoholic drink in front of you at any given time.

Arizona

  • Cutting down a cactus can get you 25 years in jail.
  • It's against the law to intentionally trip a horse for entertainment or sport.
  • You aren't allowed to feed garbage to a pig without a permit.

Louisiana

  • In New Orleans, you cannot throw anything from a window or balcony that is more than 8 feet above the ground.
  • New Orleans also mandates you keep at least one hand on your motorbike handlebars at all times.

North Carolina

  • Bingo sessions cannot legally exceed five hours.
  • If you're caught in possession of illegal substances, you have to pay a tax on them. That's $3.50 per gram for pot and $50 for each gram of cocaine.

South Carolina

  • It's a misdemeanor for a man to seduce a woman by "means of deception and promises of marriage," punishable by up to a year in jail.
  • It's illegal to sell musical instruments on Sundays.

Texas

  • Galveston has sit/lie laws that will get you a $500 fine for blocking sidewalks.
  • Galveston will also not permit offensive language and "unruly conduct" at events.

Virginia

  • It's illegal to use an x-ray device for the fitting of shoes.
  • In a number of Virginia towns, it's illegal to trick-or-treat if you're over the age of 12 or after 8pm.
  • It's illegal to visit a cemetery at night.
  • In Virginia Beach, it is illegal to curse on Atlantic Avenue and the boardwalk. It's also illegal to drive past the same location on Atlantic Avenue more than once within 30 minutes.

Get a travel insurance quote for Worldwide

You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.

Related articles

Travel Insurance

Simple and flexible travel insurance

You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.

Get a quote

8 Comments

  • shasho said

    wow<b>yeee</b>

  • jérémie said

    Apart for the kissing in the train story, the rest of what you write is ranging from very discutable to totally fake.
    Some of the rules mentioned for other countries also apply in France (wearing flip-flops driving a car or running out of gas on the highway).
    Good luck compiling good information, not easy to do, but you should rely on locals who know their stuff to be sure!

  • deken minter said

    can you add strange facts of haiti

  • Eliana said

    In Oregon it is illegal to pump your own gas. (learned that the hard way) lol

  • Zack said

    What's the punishment for dying the death penalty lol.

  • lucien said

    the arizona law about having to give people water is fake

  • Angela Baecht said

    Everything about Virginia Beach is true I'm a Virginia Beach native born and raised but yes handlebars it's fine cruising the Atlantic avenue in a car more than one time in 30 minutes it's a charge there's a lot of laws in Virginia Beach that's not in force but if you run across the right cop they will get you

  • Korea said

    this laws are pathetic~~ However, it's fun

Add a Comment