Travelling abroad is an exciting thing. You get to explore new places, meet interesting people and experience different cultures. However, one thing that most travellers dread when going abroad is the possibility of getting a fine, and it’s easy to see why – they can be as high as hundreds if not thousands of dollars, depending on the country they’re issued in.
Although the European Union has a standardised system of fines that apply to all member countries, every country has its own rules and charges when it comes to fines that are issued. Some countries only fine for specific offences, while others fine for everything from jaywalking to littering. Even when travelling within the same country, you could receive a fine for doing something that is not illegal in another region.
So how can you avoid fines while travelling in Europe? The best way is to simply be aware of all the rules and regulations that apply and know what could happen if you break them. Below, you will find information on common offences, fines, and potential consequences you might face when travelling in Europe. Read through it carefully, and you’ll be able to avoid the most common fines!
Fines for Smoking in Public Places
One of the most common fines you might face when travelling in Europe is a fine for smoking in public places. In some countries, such as Greece, Spain, or Hungary, smoking is allowed in designated areas only. In other countries, like Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom, smoking is banned in all public places, including private establishments.
Fines for smoking in public places vary from about £50 for smoking outside in England to over €1,500 for smoking in public places in Germany. You may also want to check vaping regulations; in some countries, such as Slovakia or Poland, vaping e-liquids such as these from Double Drip, Riot Squad, Big Tasty, or any other brand is considered the same as smoking conventional cigarettes; thus, the same conditions apply. In some other countries, the legal status of vaping is not clear, so it’s best to check with the authorities before vaping in public.
Fines for Jaywalking
Jaywalking, crossing the street in a non-designated area, is one of the most common offences tourists commit when travelling in Europe. This is an offence in most European countries, and the fines for jaywalking vary from country to country, but they are usually low (less than €100). Jaywalking can be extremely dangerous, and if you’re involved in an accident while jaywalking, the person who hit you is often not responsible for the damage or injuries you might suffer.
Some countries, however, are more lenient when it comes to jaywalking. For example, in the United Kingdom, jaywalking is legal in most places, except for motorways and most major roads. Of course, if you cross the street in a way that endangers your life or the lives of others, you may be fined. But as long as you safely cross the street, you’re not likely to get into trouble there.
Fines for Littering
Littering is not only disrespectful; it’s also against the law in most European countries. In France, for example, you can be fined up to €135 for littering in public, including cigarette butts and, much prevalent during the pandemic, face masks. Many places also give fines for incorrect waste disposal in public places, so if you see a garbage can with a recyclable sign, don’t throw anything into it that doesn’t belong there and look for another bin to dispose of your waste.
Fines for Driving Offences
It’s also easy to get a fine for driving offences when travelling in Europe, especially if you’re a tourist. One of the most common offences is speeding. Speeding fines are pretty high in most European countries, and they’re usually issued after being caught on camera or by using laser speed guns. In the United Kingdom, for example, the minimum fine for speeding is £100, and it can go up to a staggering £2,500 if you are caught speeding on a motorway.
Germany is known for its no-speed-limits highways, but it doesn’t mean you can go as fast as you want – there are many limitations, and you can get a fine for speeding there as well. Speeding is not the only driving offence you might commit while travelling in Europe. You could also get into trouble for driving without your lights on (and they are required to be always on in numerous EU countries), crossing a red light, making a U-turn in the middle of the road, or any other driving rule you might break.
Fines for Public Indecency
Public indecency may not be considered a criminal offence in most European countries, but it could still cost you quite a bit. If you’re caught urinating in public, for example, you can get a fine of several hundred Euros. That, or public nudity, are not the only public indecency offences, but they are the most common. You should be aware that even much less offensive acts, such as making obscene gestures or swearing in public, can get you fined. For example, in Poland, while people generally turn deaf ears to swearing, if you push your luck, you may be fined up to about €300.
There are a few more offences that can get you a fine when travelling in Europe, like making too much noise in your hotel room, leaving your pet unattended in the car while going on an errand, or filming in a museum. Although fines may seem unfair and intimidating, they are sometimes necessary to keep things under control so that everyone has a chance to have a good time.
So next time you’re travelling to a country in Europe, make sure you know the rules and regulations, and you should be able to avoid fines. It is also important to be aware that the fines listed in this article are just a general guideline – they may vary depending on the severity of the offence and many other factors. If you’re unsure about anything, it’s always best to ask an authority figure or someone familiar with the law.
How To Avoid Fines While Travelling in Europe? is a feature post