Forewarned is forearmed. Before starting a journey, it’s better to learn about the specifics of the country you are going to visit in advance. Otherwise, you may end up having both small and big troubles.
For example, you can get attacked by chuggers in Great Britain, you should look carefully under your feet in Indonesia in order to not end up in jail, and stay extremely aware in Australia because dangers are not only underfoot, but literally over your head.
Bright Side collected several useful pieces of advice that can help you save money and nerves in your travels abroad.
1. Don’t count on Google Maps in South Korea.
Alas, Google Maps won’t help you build your route when traveling in South Korea. The government of this country won’t give rights to Google for using their cartographic data because of national security considerations. That’s why before starting a journey in South Korea, you should install a local navigation app. The most popular one is NAVER Map and it’s available in both Korean and English.
2. You may run into overly persistent donation collectors in Great Britain.
Chugger, the special word for these people, was formed by combining the words “charity” and “mugger.” These guys act quite persistently: they “attack” passers-by, greet them cheerfully, and then convincingly ask them to donate a couple of pounds for a good cause. Also, they often ask people to fill out a survey and donate money on a monthly basis.
The method works — some passers-by give money just to get rid of the chuggers. If you don’t want to give any money, it’s better to not start a conversation with these street fundraisers — it should be a voluntary act after all. In general, British people don’t like chuggers for their intrusiveness, but they still treat them patiently considering their activity as one of the ways of doing charity.
3. It’s forbidden to eat or drink on public transportation in Singapore.
Singapore is sometimes called the country of bans and it’s not for nothing. Maybe you’ve already heard that smoking in public places is punishable by a fine of $1000. The fine for eating, drinking, or breastfeeding on public transport is a little less — $500. So, if you are in a metro dying of thirst, you’ll have to wait.
Why such strict laws? The government of Singapore wants to prevent dangerous situations and inconveniences for passengers. An accidentally spilled drink or food can ruin the seats and it’s easy to slip and fall by stepping on spilled stuff.
4. You can end up in prison if you step on the canang sari or say a bad word about it in Indonesia.
If you are going to visit the Indonesian island Bali, then you should behave carefully when seeing canang sari — offerings to the Hindu deity Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa. Local residents leave them right on the pavement daily. A person who steps on them, even accidentally, or shows any kind of disrespect when seeing the offerings can be imprisoned for up to 4 years and receive a large fine.
This is what happened to a woman who called canang sari “dirty” in the presence of other people who immediately informed the police about the incident. Eventually, the court found the woman guilty of insulting Hinduism and put her behind bars for 14 months.
5. It’s almost impossible to buy something after 9 PM in Switzerland.
Swiss shops close at 6:30 PM on most days and at 9 PM on Thursdays. They don’t work on Sundays at all. However, there are still small shops that work according to their own rules.
And even if some store is open after 9 PM, you won’t be able to buy alcohol in it — selling it is prohibited at this time. That’s why it’s better to think about buying products and other stuff in Switzerland beforehand. This is also true for some other European countries like Austria and Germany.
6. It’s forbidden to export local currency, the Tunisian dinar, from Tunisia.
Tunisian dinar relates to the so-called “close currencies” and that’s why any attempt to take it out of the country can put you in trouble with the law. Despite the risk of being checked at the airport when leaving Tunisia, some tourists take paper notes or coins as souvenirs, mixing them in their purse with a different currency. However, if you’re caught carrying a few coins or a couple of pieces of paper money, it’s not likely that you will be charged, the officers will simply take the money and shake their finger at you.
7. Toilets in Thailand may shock you.
This is true not only for Thailand, but for many other Asian countries where toilet stalls exist that are unusual for Europeans and Americans. They can be easily found outside of popular tourist areas.
One should use these toilets by squatting and flushing the pot with the help of a bucket or a special scoop. Moreover, it’s likely that you won’t find any toilet paper inside because local people often prefer to use water instead.
8. There are fake policemen on the streets of Italy.
Like in some other countries, there is a risk of bumping into “fake” police in Italy. They “check” tourists under various pretexts and steal money from their pockets. Sometimes, people in civilian clothes act like policemen (those are real police officers in the photo above) and show a fake badge.
Real policemen in civilian clothes don’t check documents from tourists because they have completely different tasks. If you encounter this situation, don’t rush to show your documents and the inside of your purse. It’s better to ask them to call the real police — usually, it’s enough to make these pseudo-police disappear.
9. There’s a chance you could accidentally “break” a taxi in China.
There are many schemes where taxis cheat tourists in different countries of the world, but it’s in China where you can be blamed for damaging a transport vehicle. It’s done like this: a sly taxi-driver glues the broken handle of their passenger door and when the unsuspecting passenger tries to open the door, the handle suddenly “breaks.”
The taxi-driver starts to shout and makes the passenger pay for the damage. In these cases, it’s better to get the police involved; it’s likely that you will be found not guilty. And, of course, it’s better to know how to get in touch with legal taxis in advance, so you don’t get involved in an unpleasant situation. For example, in Beijing, all registration numbers of legal taxis begin with the symbols 京 B.
10. Not everything in Australia wants to kill you. However, there is a pinch of truth in this joke.
Danger is present not only from the spiders and snakes in this country, but also from harmless-looking grass and a cute bird. The Australians themselves joke that with the coming of spring, which starts in September in the Southern hemisphere, there are 2 issues: bindi and magpies and we’re going to tell you about them in detail.
Australian bindi is not a sacred sign on a forehead, as you might think judging by the name. And it’s not even the daughter of Steve Irwin. It’s a harmful weed that looks like parsley. The grass itself isn’t dangerous, but the prickly seeds that furiously dig into the feet of people and the paws of animals are. Even shoes can’t protect you. Australians use a special herbicide in order to get rid of this troublesome stuff.
Australian magpies don’t look like European ones and even belong to a different type of bird species. Their main feature is aggressive behavior during their mating period. Birds violently attack pedestrians, as well as those who ride bicycles or motorcycles. Look at how persistent this magpie is in following an Australian cyclist who seems to be accustomed to these attacks.
Despite their bad attitude, some magpies treat people well, especially those who feed them. The birds will even sit on their arms and introduce humans to their baby magpies. The thing is that Australian magpies, just like our crows, are able to remember people’s faces as well as those people who were aggressive toward them. The Australian authorities advise citizens to not provoke the birds and, if possible, avoid the places where they nest.
Which specific rules of other countries are you aware of? Please tell us about them in the comments and perhaps they will help some of our readers to stay out of trouble when traveling abroad.