Well That's Odd: 10 Unusual Travel Warnings from the State Department

If you’ve ever checked out the travel section on the U.S. State Department website – Travel.State.Gov – you’ll find tremendous amounts of useful, practical information. Plus some unusual warnings.

The following quotes can be found in the site’s Country Information listings. It’s a fun read and includes some important things to watch out for – but don’t let this deter you from visiting these nations; all are wonderful and well worth a trip.

Click the country name for more information.

Unusual Warnings by Country

Some of the odder warnings on the site.

Belgium: “Banks and exchange facilities may refuse U.S. dollar denominations of $50 and $100 if they are not equipped with devices to identify counterfeit currency.”

England, UK: “Air travelers to and from the United Kingdom should be aware that penalties against alcohol-related and other in-flight crimes (“air rage”) are stiff and are being enforced with prison sentences.”

France: “Thieves often time their pickpocket attempts to coincide with the closing of the automatic doors on the metro, leaving the victim secured on the departing train.”

Germany: “Under German law it is illegal to bring into, or take out of Germany any literature, music, or paraphernalia that glorifies fascism, the Nazi past, or the ‘Third Reich.'”

Ireland: “You should view with skepticism any unsolicited invitations to travel to Ireland to collect winnings or an inheritance.”

Italy: “If a resident of a non-European Union country [like the U.S.] violates a traffic law, the violator must pay the fine at the time the violation occurs to the police officer issuing the ticket. If the citizen does not or cannot pay the fine at the time, Italian regulation allows the police officer to confiscate the offender’s vehicle (even if the vehicle is a rental).”

Norway: “Tourism [in the Svalbard archipelago settlement] Ny-Alesund is restricted due to its status as a research facility and the danger of polar bear attacks.”

Poland: “Riding a bike while under the influence is illegal and can result in being jailed, paying steep fines and banned from riding a bike in Poland for half a year or more.”

Spain: “[A common scam] starts with a caller impersonating a grandchild supposedly arrested in Spain, asking the grandparents not to inform the parents [this is then followed up by an email request for money to help the alleged grandchild get out of jail]. If you receive such an email, we recommend that you not send money.”

Sweden: “There is no bail system in Sweden, and U.S. citizens who are arrested may be held in custody until the trial is complete.”

More from Rick Seaney:

Some Odd Things the U.S. Wants Travelers to Know About Other Countries


Published: March 10, 2014