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Global Explorer’s Legal Checklist Stay Safe and Legal Abroad

Weronika Popiolek
Weronika Popiolek

Marketing & PR Coordinator

Weronika Popiolek

Weronika Popiolek

Marketing & PR Coordinator

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There are many unusual laws in the world that you may not believe it even exists

Travel opens up an array of exhilarating experiences, novel sights, and cultural exchanges. But Every country has its rules. Some are more unusual, or much stricter than others. What is right in one country may be wrong in the other. So when traveling, it’s very important to keep in mind the different unusual laws and customs of your destination. Responsible travel reduces the risk of being fined or arrested for something you didn’t even know about. For the intrepid globetrotter looking to sidestep such faux pas, this blog offers indispensable advice – think of it as your legal travel kit, ensuring that your adventures are not only unforgettable but also law-abiding.  


We hop across continents to highlight some peculiar laws, then pivot to lay down universal strategies to skirt legal predicaments. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or embarking on your maiden international odyssey, this guide is for you. 

chewing gum is banned in Singapore

When Royal Respect is Mandatory: Thailand’s Lèse-Majesté Laws

In Thailand, the monarchy is held in the highest regard, and laws reflect this sentiment. Speaking ill of the royal family, even in jest, can result in severe penalties. Our tip: refrain from royal commentary and always behave with deference when in proximity to images of the monarchy or during national anthems. 

Singapore's 'Chew on This' Policy

Prepare for a gum-free experience in Singapore unless it’s of the medicinal kind. Selling or enjoying bubble gum could hit your wallet with fines or have you participating in community service. Keep those wrappers away too – Singapore takes a tough line on littering. Always dispose of waste in bins and save spitting for the sink. 

Cursing Could Cost You: The UAE’s Decency Laws

Abide by the adage ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all’ to keep things civil and lawful in the United Arab Emirates. Profanities and vulgar gestures are considered obscene acts and could lead to incarceration or expulsion from the country. 

Cursing Could Cost You: The UAE’s Decency Laws
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European Oddities: Unusual Laws in Portugal

In Portugal, at least officially, the ocean isn’t your personal bathroom. While we cannot vouch for the enforcement levels at sea, it’s wise to stick to the facilities provided on land to avoid the risk of penalties. 

Headlights On In Scandinavia

According to Scandinavian law, all drivers must keep their headlights on at all times. Even during the day, cars are expected to have dimmed headlights. 

It's illegal to pee in the ocean in Portugal

The Cornerstones of Legal Travel

Respect Is Paramount 

In nearly every instance, showing respect and practicing common courtesy will keep you on the right side of the law. Avoid actions that you suspect may offend or attract attention. 

Research Is Your Trusty Compass

Learn about your destination before your journey. Understanding local laws and customs goes a long way in evading legal trouble. Many people make mistakes in new countries because they do not take the time to research the destination. While you don’t need to learn every nuance of history, it’s still worth knowing the fundamental customs. These areas may also give you the benefit of the doubt as a tourist, but you’d much rather not give anyone an excuse to give you grief. 

Rights Awareness & Embassy Info 

Knowing your rights as a traveler and having the contact details of your embassy should be part of your preparatory measures. 

Carry Proper Documentation for Medication 

Traveling with prescribed medicine? Have documentation ready to prove its legitimacy. Different countries have different rules regarding pharmaceuticals which is why you should always have your prescription with you. There are also medicines that are illegal in many countries, such as Sudafed or codeine in Japan.  

Emergency Contacts: Don’t Leave Home Without Them 

Always have emergency contact details at hand. This comprises local emergency services, your nation’s embassy, and a personal emergency contact. 

Organize Your Paperwork 

Ensure that passports, visas, and other vital documents are current and secured. Keeping photocopies or digital copies can safeguard against loss or theft. 

Insure Your Peace of Mind 

Travel insurance can be a lifesaver. It’s a small price to pay for coverage against health emergencies, cancellations, or theft. Travel insurance is a helpful (and necessary) tool to have in case you run into difficulties while travelling, even while it won’t protect you right now. Your insurance can assist you in recovering the payments and lessening the financial burden if you’ve been mugged, fallen ill, or had an injury. You should feel at ease when engaging in activities thanks to your policy. 

Remember, when you’re abroad, you’re not just a tourist but an ambassador of your homeland. Staying within the boundaries of local regulations is not only about self-preservation but also about respecting and valuing the cultures and countries you visit. 

Do your due diligence, pack your common sense, and with this legal checklist in hand, go forth and conquer the globe – responsibly, respectfully, and legally. 
Did you know that you can get an international legal assistance subscription that covers 20 hours of advice in 124 countries for about $1 a day from Legal Guardian. Save on immigration and visa issues, criminal prosecutions, traffic infractions and many other needs that can occur with a membership. Legal Guardian is a traveltech/legaltech product of Insured Nomads Corporation developed in partnership with Legaroo.