Save your bikini for the beach! While men walking around topless and women wearing Daisy Dukes and a bikini top to hit the shops may be accepted in your local town, not covering up abroad could get you arrested. Majorca recently introduced a bikini ban meaning tourists caught topless or wearing swimwear on the streets could be fined £500.
Most people like to relax with a drink on holiday but when you find yourself running through the streets naked or hanging off the hotel balcony, you know you've had too much. Drinks tend to be a lot stronger in other countries too and in some places the alcohol isn't even measured. A recent study by sunshine.co.uk found that 37 per cent of Brits have their first holiday tipple within an hour of checking in to their hotel.
We get that most tourists like their home comforts and slip a few tea bags in their hand luggage so they can sip a nice brew as they watch the sunset from the hotel balcony, but is it really necessary to pack a potato peeler and sardines? A British Airways survey found that other silly things holidaymakers pack for a holiday abroad are kettles, Marmite and tomatoes.
You don't want to be the tourist who damaged a 500-year-old sculpture so follow the 'Do not touch' rules. A Chinese tourist who etched his name on an ancient Egyptian monument last year caused outrage in China. The 15-year-old boy wrote 'Ding Jinhao wuz here' on the almost 3,500-year-old Luxor Temple. Then there was the time an American tourist visiting Florence's Museo dell'Opera del Duomo accidentally snapped a finger off a 600-year-old statue of the Virgin Mary. Patrick Broderick, 55, who happened to be a surgeon, was trying to compare his finger to one on the marble statue when it broke off. Cringe!
How difficult is it to remember to leave the animals alone? Some of the most embarrassing things tourists have done to local wildlife include riding manatees, getting drunk and charging at an elephant, manhandling a dolphin for a photo and even catching and cooking a rare octopus! The woman who thought it was a good idea to touch and ride a protected manatee in Florida was forced to hand herself in to police when photographs of her were taken. Luckily the harmless animal wasn't hurt, but the holidaymaker could have been locked up for 60 days.
Ivory, knock-off purses and exotic animals are some of the souvenirs that could land you in trouble at the airport. In 2012, a British holidaymaker was stopped at Cardiff Airport when she returned from a trip to Morocco with a handbag made from a WHOLE iguana. The bag, which included the animal's head and claws, was quickly confiscated by custom officers as iguanas are on a list of endangered animal skins and is illegal in Britain. Alex Lawther, assistant director of the Border Force in Wales, warned tourists about not buying animal skin bags at markets and bazaars on their exotic holidays. "My message to holidaymakers is simple - don't do it," he said. "At best, you will have these items taken off you and at worst you could face a criminal conviction."
Getting arrested while on holiday is one way to make a bad impression and it often happens when tourists don't make the effort to find out the local laws. A Foreign Office poll found that two thirds of Britons don't find out the laws of the country their visiting, putting themselves at risk. Wearing camouflage in Barbados, making satirical jokes about the Thai royal family and wearing a bikini in the streets of Barcelona are all crimes that could get you arrested.
Carrying a bumbag, wearing a visor and talking loudly are all signs that shout 'tourist'. Taking your behaviour down a notch and adopting a country's style with your clothing, will help you blend in. If you don't want to look like a typical tourist, you might want to avoid carrying your massive backpack everywhere and leaving the socks with sandals look at home.
Innocent hand gestures at home don't always mean the same abroad. For example, the okay sign with your thumb and forefinger are highly vulgar in Greece and Turkey. Be careful where you're pointing when asking for directions too as it's rude to point in so many countries that you may just want to use an open hand instead. And don't use the thumbs up sign in the Middle East as in many countries it means 'up yours!'