36 Mistakes That Can Get You Arrested Or Worse When Touring These Countries

Published 6 months ago

Travelling to other countries is a privilege because you get to observe different cultures, integrate with different kinds of people and learn about their societal values etc. However, not everyone who travels seems to be aware of the appropriate traditions of the country they are planning to visit leading to tourists often getting a bad rep in many places. 

One way to combat this ignorance is to brush up on the topic beforehand. So Redditors got together to share their personal tips and advice on what tourists should know before visiting their countries to avoid any accidentally offensive gaffes. As usual, folks delivered with valuable insights and we’ve shared the best of the lot in the gallery below. 

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Image source: Foxtrot-Uniform-Too, Maltesen

There are two places in Norway where the borders of 3 countries meet. One is between Norway, Sweden and Finland. So you can walk around the border marker and say “I am in Finland, now I am in Sweden, now Norway”. It is by a lake, so they have made a wooden walkway around the border marker so people can do that.

Norway also have a point where the borders of Norway, Finland and Russia meet. If you try to do the same there, you will be arrested. If you throw a rock or pee over the border with Russia or even just in that direction, you will be arrested.

While the Nordic countries are like brothers, Russia is the unstable psycho living next door.


Image source: Material_Ambition_95, Mediocre Studio

When visiting Denmark, don’t sit next to people on public transport, unless there are no other seats available. And don’t speak to strangers on said public transport also. Danes are incredible sensitive about their personal space and privacy. Also, not big on small talk.


Do not mess with the Tomb of the Unknown soldier.

Image source: tex83tex83


Image source: hartywhalers, Goutham Ganesh Sivanandam

Do not touch the bison. I don’t care that they’re herbivores and look fluffy. They are incredibly strong and will k**l you if they’re in a bad mood


Image source: valthorgallifrey, Gabriella Clare Marino

Don’t walk the bicycle lanes.



Don’t go to Madam Tussauds – it’s c**p

Don’t fall for the shell games near Waterloo. The person who has just won in front of you looks exactly like the guy who’s running it and his sister has just picked your pocket.

Learn to read a map, I have no idea where your hotel is but I will confidently give you directions to Covent Garden as I think you’ll like it there.

Don’t complain when people step into your photo. Your attempt to capture big ben on an iphone is just a waste of everyone’s time and data.

Walk faster you dawdling f*****t

Stand on the right, walk quickly on the left

If you must go to a local pub read up on how to behave in one. Queue, order beer, wine or a simple drink and mixer and leave the bar area.

Yes it’s busy on the train at 17:00, that’s why it’s called rush hour. Complaining that I’m standing too close to you is not going to have any effect. I live this hell every weekday.

Image source: Wastoponcene


Don’t go for a nice walk in the hills without checking the weather, taking suitable clothing, and telling someone your intentions.

We lose a few tourists from this every year in New Zealand.

Due to our geography it’s easy to get lost and the weather can change very quickly.

Image source: thomasbeagle


Image source: DistantLandscapes, Sven Mieke

If you’re visiting Brazil, specially a big city, avoid using your smartphone while walking on the streets, as you become more prone to being robbed.


Americans need to stop trying to bring their guns into Canada.

Just stop it.

Image source: Bigpoppacheese14


Image source: TheIrishninjas, A. Strakey

Order an ‘Irish Car Bomb’ shot. Doesn’t exist here, and the name has roots in The Troubles, a dark time in our history that people north and south of the border who are still alive lost people to.


Image source: EmperorOfNipples, Samuel Wölfl

Don’t touch the King’s guard.


Image source: thethreekittycats, Daniele Nabissi

Don’t go for a drive in the outback without making sure you’re properly prepared if you get stuck. There’s a reason you see so many abandoned cars on the highways out there.


When visiting the US, do not have any Healthcare related issues. You’ll lose every penny you have and then some.

Image source: Kittehmilk


Image source: ThrowRadayne, Iurii Ivashchenko

Don’t ask where the animals are in South Africa, we do not have lions walking in the streets, you are more likely to run into wildlife in America.


India. Don’t try to pay attention to people staring if you’re white or black. People here just aren’t used to different ethnicies. Most of us see only Indian/Asian/brown people most of our lives. Seeing tourists just peaks interest. People are not being rude. Don’t wear those awful “Indian” clothes and jewellery. Idk who told tourists that it looks good, but there seems to be a costume of loose tunics and bead necklaces amongst tourists here. You stick out like a sore thumb and look like your fashion sucks. It also shows you’re clearly a tourist so shopkeepers and vendors WILL try to scam you. You’ll be better off in just basic tshirt and jeans. Haggle and bargain prices everywhere, unless it’s a fixed price type store. Do not talk about Pakistan, or say how similar India is to Pakistan. Just don’t say anything about it altogether. People will not be kind. The political situation is delicate rn, so tread carefully there also. Don’t do the entire “seeing the poor people here made me so grateful for what I have” etc BS. You come off as snooty and entitled. Yes, we know the country is overpopulated, and with that comes the inevitable repercussions. The government is working on it. We don’t need others to poverty p**n us. Don’t compare to other countries. Don’t mush the entire country into one. If you travel to North India, your experience will culturally be very different from South India, or East or West. It’s almost like a different country. Food, language, clothing, weather… everything changes. India is like lots of different countries brought together in one. On the same note, plan your trip to one or two areas. You cannot cover entire India in a week. Learn about the culture. You’ll be surprised to know how much of the west has adapted from different countries. Have the chai (if in the North) and the filter coffee (if in the south). Try the local cuisines of the places you’re in. If you really do want to try out Indian clothing, ask some locals to help. The handcraft and fabric industry here is amazing. Buy natural fibres if you can. Cotton, silk, khadi, linen. It’s amazingly cheap. You can find local goods here for a lot of similar stuff: try it all. It’s a refreshing change of pace from store bought, packeted, mass manufactured stuff. Even food, footwear, clothing, etc have local goods. If you can find the good stores, you’ll see that the quality is far superior than mass manufactured stuff. The embroidery is stunning and most of it is done by hand, which you can get at unbelievable prices. There’s a reason Indian clothing is so rich and intricate: we have artisans who make these locally. My foreign relatives like to stock up on just good fabric when they come here. If you know where to go, you can even get custom leather goods made. My father has his shoes and jackets made custom by a local guy. They last him forever and he gets them repaired by the same guy. He says it’s much comfier than store bought stuff. I can’t say to this, i haven’t gotten anything made. I am planning to have a leather bag made for myself in the design of a popular designer bag (LV neverfull). The food is mostly free of preservatives and the fresh spices and veggies are something else. Don’t miss out on this. Despite the stereotypes, Indian lifestyle is much healthier and wholesome. Don’t be surprised if your vegetables don’t look “perfect”. Most of the stuff here is locally sourced or produced. It won’t look like supermarket stuff, but thankfully it won’t taste like that either. Take advantage of how cheap and good things are. Once you get over your initial bias and the fact that stuff here isn’t as shiny, you’ll soon see WHY it’s not shiny. Buy good fabric and get your clothes tailored. It’ll be a steal for you. You can get entire outfits stitched for like 50 dollars. Also, getting clothes made to your size (in natural fibres!) is soooo much better than ones given by the fast fashion. Definitely buy khaadi. It’s like linen, except that it’s hand spun. It’s cheap, lasts really long, isn’t really available anywhere else, and is amazing for both summer and winter. Also looks very “old money”. Buy fresh spices. Not the ones in packets, but ones at local stores. You can even buy raw stuff and grind it to make your own spices. The food made from these home grinded spices is out of the world, and a secret Indian mothers like to keep to themselves. Ditch the ginger garlic paste and make your own. Same for other industries. Like healthcare (sorry Americans, but I’m looking at you). If you have a skin or dental concern that needs to be looked at, GO NOW. And go to the biggest, fanciest place you can find. India has really good doctors which won’t cost you a kidney. My relatives who live abroad like to get a full body checkup, dental work, eye checkup and new glasses, skin treatments etc done every time they come here. They also buy all sorts of medicines etc. My appendectomy cost me about 300-350 USD total, without any insurance plan or benefits. Even if you go by Indian standards, that’s not a lot, as it’s lesser than a lower middle class person’s monthly salary. As an upper middle class person, it’s about 2-3 days pay for me. (But I should still get insurance, don’t be like me). You can also get specialists available very quickly. I get annoyed if I have to wait more than a day to see a specialist, so you can understand how spoilt we are. I think I’d throw a tantrum if I had to wait over two weeks to see a doctor, idk how y’all manage. I like to just barge into the doctor’s office and then wait for them to see me. Labour in India is REALLY cheap. So cheap that most middle class families don’t clean or do dishes or laundry themselves, but have hired help for it. You’ll rarely find houses where people are doing the dishes or broom/mopping the house themselves. This is really common here. I personally have a maid who cooks, cleans, does laundry and dishes, washes bathrooms, and dusts the house. It’s a huge privilege we enjoy. These maids get paid okayish as per the PPP. I like to overpay them to get good service. The same extends to carpenters, electricians, etc. You can find services here for ANYTHING. So if you’re here for longer and staying in a rented place or an Airbnb, do not fret over getting stuff done. There will always be someone to do all these things. The upper middle class here enjoy a very leisurely life. And for god’s sake, get used to using a “bum gun” or “jet spray” or whatever you call it. Indians do not use toilet paper, we wash ourselves. It’s much cleaner, and I will not argue about this. You’ll be hard pressed to find toilet paper in most local households. But once you start washing, you’ll probably never be able to go back to using TP. I did not expect this answer to go on for this long. I guess I just had a lot to say about our lifestyle here! The experience of living like a true Indian is very different from the life in the western countries.

Image source: Ok-Bridge-1045


Image source: fearthe0cean, Samuel Regan-Asante

UK here. Always queue. Even if there isn’t a queue, just look around politely and ask whoever’s around if they’re queueing. I know this reads like a joke but it really isn’t. There’s always a queue, and tourists always ignore it, and that’s usually why tourists get a bad rap in the UK.


Image source: annadaso, Tim Depickere

If you are hiking through the austrian mountains with a dog, put it on a leash. The cows will hurt you if they feel threatened. In General don’t disturb the cows and keep away from them.


Image source: ImmediateLaw5051, esrageziyor

Italy. The amount of morons (mostly tourists) climbing, scratching and desecrating monuments is stupidly high. Do these people really think it makes them cool to scratch their idiot name on someone else’s millenary heritage? Beside being barbaric and ignorant, Italian taxpayers pay millions each year for monument restoration. I am a meek man, but any time one is caught in the act, I would instantly shoot them in the face with a rifle.


I’m a foreigner living in China. I feel pretty grateful to live here.

The thing is, especially for teachers, foreigners are treated REALLY well, revered, even.

So, perhaps it might be easy for a person to start thinking others are fortunate to be around them, who knows…

Either way, I’ve met enough foreigners who do nothing but talk down about Chinese people, s**t talk their country, make fun of them, or just talk about how disgusted they are by them.

If you come here, remember, it’s not your country, things can be pretty different here. They’re not as mindful of how their own actions are perceived by others in public. On the same account, they’re also not judgemental of how YOU act in public, they’re very “live and let live” towards others.

Basically, don’t come to China and be a huge d**k towards people who will, by default, be nothing but overly nice to you. They’re not nice because they’re weak, stupid, or lesser than you, they’re extremely nice because they feel fortunate to meet and engage with you.

It should go without saying but, if you have the chance to spend time with someone who is that happy just to know you, perhaps you could also try to feel grateful to have that kind of person in your life.

Image source: caidicus


Image source: YoruNiKakeru, whoislimos

Compare everything and anything to your home country and complain how it’s “so much better back home!”


Image source: Lawndemon, bearevay

Try to pet/feed bears. For some reason tourists to Banff seem to think bears are mascots or something.


If you are in Central Europe around the alps in countries like Switzerland, Italy etc. don’t underestimate the mountains. Don’t think stupid things like “We are near civilization, it’s no problem, we can’t get lost and it’s easy to go back anyway”. This can end in a deadly disaster.

Weather can change quickly, even when the report says it should be stable. If you get caught in a snow storm in winter, you’ll lose navigation and you won’t see even your hand in front of your face. You can even miss a SAC building that would save you because you can’t see it. If you don’t have the equipment and experience, you can die there.

Also, keep in mind that not all glaciers are that stable: Some have deep holes in the surface of the ice, you can fall down there. Even when you survive the fall, you die quickly by hypothermia. If you are alone, you are done. But even with friends and with the rescue by chopper, it’s a run against time. These holes can sometimes be covered with fresh snow, so don’t walk there when signs are warning you, it’s a minefield.

Image source: Diacetyl-Morphin


Image source: yapper5013, Blue Bird

i’m from the czech republic originally, and something every tourist should be aware of is privacy. if you’re some american influencer, DON’T GO TO CZECH REPUBLIC. you will get arrested if you push yourself into other people’s lives. us czechs are not tolerant of that kind of behavior.


Image source: MolagMoProblems, Jessica Tan

Not a “country “ exactly but we may as well be, while in Louisiana remember a SWAMP IS NOT A LAKE. The sheer amount of tourist and northerners I see trying to swim in a swamp filled with swamp dragons is mind blowing. People have died, a Chinese tourist had her arm ripped off and another guy lost his dog throwing a ball into the water. We also have bull sharks


Image source: durants, Amine M’siouri

I live in Barbados. Don’t wear camouflage. It’s illegal unless you’re a part of the Defense Force.


Image source: stolenfires, Rosemary Ketchum

I am in the US and apparently it is common in other countries when a cop pulls you over, to take your papers out of the glove box yourself and walk it up to them.

Do not do this. It is a great way to get shot or tazed.

Due to the gun culture here, the cop has no way of knowing if you are or are not armed. Getting out of your car without being ordered to do so will be perceived as a hostile act, and the cop will pre-emptively defend themselves.

Stay in your car, roll down your windows. Keep your hands visible (resting on the steering wheel is good). If you need to reach anywhere, tell the cop exactly what you’re doing, aka, “My passport is in my jacket pocket, I’m getting it right now.”

If the cop asks if you know why they pulled you over, you don’t. Be polite, be apologetic, and you’ll probably get let off with a warning.


Image source: leopard_eater, Dylan Shaw

Do not go for a hike or drive your hire car to ‘the outback’ as a person who has never done either of these things in Australia before. Ways you will die: 1. Fatigue – underestimating the distance between places and then running off the road or crashing into another vehicle due to exhaustion 2. Exposure and dehydration – people have a car break down and then leave their vehicle to find non-existent help. If you leave your vehicle the chances of being alive by the end of the day are almost zero. There’s no mobile reception. There may be 1-2 cars passing by your location per day if you are lucky. The nearest hospital could be literally 1000 km away. Temperatures can be 50 degrees Celsius in the day and/or -10 at night. If you break down in a place like this, you’ll will possibly die of heat exhaustion whilst waiting for help in your car. If you leave your car? Yeah you’ll definitely die. ——— Other dumb s**t to do in Australia that can and will k**l you: 1. Jumping or diving into water bodies without testing their depth. Most are shallow and many tourists have been harmed or k**led doing this. 2. While we are on the subject of water bodies – stay TF away from water bodies north of the Tropic of Capricorn unless you fancy a crocodile encounter. Most Australian wildlife risks are greatly exaggerated. Crocodile risks are not. 3. Swim in the Ocean between the f*****g flags for f***s sake or don’t even put your f*****g foot in the f*****g water. Every f*****g year, multiple tourists drown because they’re f*****g idiots who do not understand ocean swimming in Australia. Most people over thirty can recall at least one story here of an *Australian* person that they knew or was from their region who was lost at sea or drowned due to unexpected conditions, and these are *experienced* people. So don’t expect that you know what you’re doing, or that the flagged zones are all part of our socialist nanny state for you to ignore. Just f*****g don’t, mate. Our people have been traumatised too many times by your f*****g stupidity.


Image source: KamikazeDrone, Paul Crook

You don’t want to drive out in the desert in the southwest. That dirt road might not have had a car in ten years and if you blow a tire where it’s washed out you gonna be a pile of bones faster than you think.


Be aware of the drugs law of the country you are visiting. For example, someone from my country accidentally had a single pill in glove box of his car. This pill is legal in my country but not in the neighbouring one. So when he crossed the border, the customs discovered the pill and he ended spending 6 months in jail over there.

Image source: 3legcat


Image source: spastikatenpraedikat, Nils Lindner

If you are in Berlin and come across a monument, art installation or similar, treat it with respect. There is a 2/3 chance that it is some kind of world war 2/ holocaust/ german separation memorial. You would not believe the number of tourists that climb or even picnic on the concrete coffins of the memorial of m******d jews in Europe


Image source: ClickWorthy69420, Pixabay

If you come across Canada, don’t ever dare touching our geese, thanks.


Image source: nightlightened, Karl Fredrickson

If you’re not a strong swimmer, please don’t wade out into our ocean expecting that you’ll be okay. If you want to swim at our beaches, stay between the flags where there are lifeguards on duty.


Image source: TurnMeIntoAGameCube, Aidan Bartos


US cops are *not* your friend.

If you get lost while touring, ask a native or a firefighter.

All my homies love the fire department


Image source: GingerMeTimberMate, ?? Janko Ferlič

Approach wildlife, especially when they’re with their offspring.

The amount of idiot tourists I’ve seen outside their cars within mauling distance of a bear or moose is mind boggling.


Ladies, do NOT lift a man’s kilt to find out if he’s commando. And if you insist in a grope, be aware you’ll only find sweaty and hairy

Image source: Velvy71


Image source: Aggravating-Bus-1556, Jopwell

In the USA, don’t haggle retail prices, especially at local one-owner stores. You can ask for better prices at flea markets.

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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Countries, Culture, customs, home country, touring, Tourism, tourist, travel, unwritten rules, vacation
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