Last week authorities in Italy announced that they would start fining beachgoers for prematurely snagging spots on the sand. Getting a prime location to set up your beach chair and towels can be a competitive sport on busy beaches. But it’s gotten so bad in parts of Italy that visitors are setting up umbrellas early in the morning, or even the night before to claim a spot.
To crack down on the phenomenon, officials launched operation “Safe Sea” which consists of confiscating beach gear left out overnight. According to La Repubblica, last weekend the coast guard seized 37 deck chairs and 30 umbrellas in the city of Livorno. In Ascea, 70 umbrellas and 50 deck chairs were taken into custody. As punishment, rule breakers are fined 200 euros ($222 USD) to get their stuff back.
In addition to new languages and foreign currency, travelers might want to brush up on local laws when traveling abroad. Here are some basic activities you’ll get fined for in other countries.
Wearing a bikini in Majorca
Majorca (also known as Mallorca) is a beautiful island off the coast of Spain and a popular destination for tourists looking to relax on the beach. A law reminds visitors not to get too comfortable, though. Men and women caught wearing bathing suits on the streets and away from a pool or beach will be fined 600 euros ($671 USD). The law, implemented in 2014, allegedly stemmed from restaurants, bars, and shop owners who were annoyed by serving underdressed patrons. So if you’re headed to Majorca, make sure you have a cover-up or be prepared to pay.
Showing too much skin in Dubrovnik
Taking a cue from Majorca, Dubrovnik, in southern Croatia, has also started to fine tourists who wear their bikinis and swim trunks outside the beach. Dubrovnik features medieval architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In an interview with Agency EFE, vice mayor Zeljko Raguz said the area’s historical significance deserves respect. “The old center is a form of museum, in such a way that it is unacceptable for tourists to walk on the Stradun [the main street in Dubrovnik] dressed incorrectly,” he said. Visitors who don’t abide by the dress code will be fined 500-100 kuna ($75-$100 USD).
Insulting Zimbabwe’s leader
Americans shouldn’t take their freedom of speech for granted when traveling to other countries. In Zimbabwe, police regularly arrest and fine people for insulting the country’s president, Robert Mugabe. In 2012, a Swiss tourist was fined $200 for dissing Mugabe during a border crossing. Other countries, like Turkey and Brazil, also have strict laws about insulting leadership. So when you’re traveling, it’s probably a good idea to keep public insults to yourself…at least until you get home.
Driving in Rome
Did you know that visitors need a special permit to drive on certain streets in Italy? The country has areas called Limited Traffic Zones or Zona Traffico Limitato (ZTL) in Italian. The areas are marked with a sign sporting a red circle, and are typically located around historical centers as a way to reduce congestion. It gets confusing because locals can drive in these areas, so if you’re following traffic, you can easily miss the sign. To make things even more confusing, each city in Italy has its own rules concerning ZTL’s, and fines vary, but you can expect to pay between 50 and 100 euros ($55-$111) if you approach one of the zones. And you can’t skip out on the bill: these areas are monitored by cameras so tickets are issued automatically and often show up on your rental car bill.
Kissing in the United Arab Emirates
While glamorous trips to Abu Dhabi and Dubai have become popular, the UAE it is still a predominately Muslim country with conservative rules.
The most obvious thing a tourist can get fined for is public signs of affection. This means no kissing, holding hands or hugging where others can see you. If caught in a compromising situation, a fine might be the least of your problems. One couple was sentenced to 12 months in jail for kissing on the beach in 2013.
Travelers often like to relax with a drink during vacation, but it is illegal for Muslims to consume alcohol, and you won’t find it around the UAE. Tourists are permitted to drink alcohol in certain places, like their hotel; but if you’re caught drinking in public, be prepared to pay a fine up to 1,000 UAE dirham ($272).
For the record, visitors can also get fined for taking photos of government buildings and military installations, taking photos of women or people without their permission, and publicly eating or drinking during Ramadan.
Brittany Jones-Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Finance.