As the saying goes, ‘getting there is half the fun.’ But there’s nothing fun about getting a ticket (or, worse, arrested) for a law you didn’t know existed while traveling in a foreign country. Take our advice and make sure you never…
…Travel with an un-stamped ticket in Italy
Italian cuisine is known for its simplicity, but the same unfortunately cannot be said for the country’s rules around bus, train and metro tickets. Unlike in the US, where it suffices to simply purchase a ticket, in Italy passengers are required to validate their ticket before (or at the moment of) boarding. The act of stamping the ticket takes just a second, but without doing so, you could be on the receiving end of a grouchy carabinieri‘s ticket book.
…Take an iPhone picture on a United flight
Earlier this week, Matthew Klint, a travel writer for USA Today was kicked off a United Airlines flight when a crew member spotted him snapping an iPhone photo of his seat. No harm in that, right? Wrong. The flight attendant cited a rule that prohibits photography and audio or video recording on board the aircraft (certainly the first time we’ve ever heard of such a rule), and, despite Klint’s best efforts to justify his actions, within minutes he was asked to disembark.
…Fall asleep on a subway in NYC
It’s nicknamed ‘The City That Never Sleeps,’ but many would be surprised to learn that dozing off on a NYC subway can land you a $50 fine. The law is rarely enforced, but stubborn NYPD officers have been known to target passengers late at night, when, caught mid-dream, they are ordered off the train, questioned, and (if the officer is in a particularly foul mood) issued a ticket on the spot.
…Drink water on Singapore’s MRT
Though the whole ‘chewing gum is illegal’ myth has been debunked, Singapore remains the undisputed champion when it comes to bizarre etiquette laws. One such law enacted in 1987 prohibits the consumption of all food and drink in subway trains and stations. Even, believe it or not, water. Says the official SMRT website: “Drinking plain water, or any beverage for that matter, is not permitted because the beverage could spill and wet seats, soil other commuters’ belongings or cause a fellow commuter to slip and fall.”
…Run out of gas on the Autobahn
Germany’s Autobahn, with its undisrupted traffic flow and liberal speed limits, is the stuff of motorists’ dreams, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t rules to be followed. In the interest of safety, cars are prohibited from stopping “unnecessarily” while driving on the Autobahn. So if you happen to run out of gas, don’t expect to get off with just a slap on the wrist: fines typically exceed $90 per offense.
…Get the munchies in DC
Washington DC’s Metrorail website offers an explicit, detailed list of Do’s and Dont’s, ranging from proper subway etiquette (use headphones on all audio devices) to safety precautions (stand two feet behind the edge of the platform). But they get super strict when it comes to eating and drinking in any of the stations and trains: during a visit several years ago, a metro worker actually made us throw out the last bite of a candy bar before passing through the turnstile!