Imagine this scenario: you’re looking forward to a trip you’ve been planning for months so you can take photos of scenic destinations and post them on your social media accounts. But then when you lift your camera up to take a selfie an angry cop or guard stops you and says, “Hey, hide your phone!” For every travel buff and an Instagram addict, this is a horrifying scenario. So we offer up our travel advice at where to avoid so you’ll not become disappointed.
It’s easy to spot a tourist. The selfie shoot has pretty much become a routine for every tourist, that’s why they make sure they have their selfie sticks with them. But if luck is not your friend and you find yourself in these places holding a selfie stick, you’ll probably be called out.
Most of these places impose the rule because of past incidents where people taking selfie got into an accidents, which in some cases, even took their life. One example was in 2014 where a Polish couple who visited the Cabo Da Roca cliffs in Portugal died after an attempt to take a selfie. There was a Russian woman who also died after falling off a bridge in Moscow while trying to capture a photo of herself.
Here is a list of places in the world that banned both taking a selfie and basically the presence of selfie sticks.
1. Pamplona, Spain
Spanish government has banned selfies during Running of the Bulls Festival where thousands of foreign participants and tourists join every year. Officials in Pamplona do not want to see a any one being carelessly murdered or trampled by an angry bull while trying to take a selfie. Anyone caught violating it would have to pay up to $2,050.
In 2014, a photo of a British man trying to take a failed selfie while running away from the bull that was only inches away from him went viral. Since it was strictly forbidden, Spanish officials fined the perpetrator $4,100, whom they only caught after they investigated an international manhunt.
2. New York
The new law regarding taking photos with tiger, lion, and other big cats was first advocated in New York. The act was made illegal after an agitating number of “tiger selfies” appeared on Tinder, an online-dating app.
Linda Rosenthal, a Manhattan Assembly member who proposed the bill preventing animal abuse, wanted to increase public safety at county fairs and traveling circuses where big cats are seen having close contact with visitors.
In New York, anyone caught cuddling with a little cub or even touching any big cats will be fined up to $500. For the last fifteen years, there were already seven reported cases where a tiger escaped from its cage and went on to attack sightseers.
3. Lake Tahoe
Taking a selfie with playing bears in the background might be a little impressive and would make you appear a little adventurous. But the Taylor Creek Visitor Center will stop your attempts as photos with wildlife is not allowed, especially with bears within the Lake Tahoe’s premises. Should we have to say this? No selfies with Bears?
According to Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit’s spokesperson, Lisa Herron, the rule was born when an alarming number of people started approaching bears to take a selfie with them, but the animals were scared,thinking they were attacked. In other words, selfies are prohibited because barging your way near wild animals and turning your back against them to take a supposedly candid selfie is simply not a good idea.
Any member of Iran’s soccer team, from players to coaches and even staff members, are banned from taking selfies with their female fans. It has even become a significant part of the rule to have women prohibited from attending men’s sporting events in the Islamic republic. But in countries where getting giddy over your favorite soccer player and running toward them for that one-in-a-million photo is not a violation, millions of women and effeminate male fans come out to show their support.
Despite the obvious rule that wants to separate women from men, photos of Iranian football players with female fans during the Asian Cup were shared online, driving the head of the moral committee in Iranian Football Federation, Ali Akbar Mohamedzade, to issue a warning January this year. He feared that other Iranian players might not follow the rule, and the viral photos might be used as a political tool or could be misinterpreted. Punishment for not following this rule was not clearly established.
5. Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Since Mecca is considered a holy place by millions, it is somehow expected that taking selfies here is forbidden. Instead of taking selfies in every corner of this spiritual venue, pilgrims are encouraged to be engaged solely in self-reflection. Usage of cellphones is permitted for safety reasons, but Muslim leaders ask people to stop taking pictures during the hajj.
But for whatever purpose, the younger generation’s urge to document every bit of their journey in the Grand Mosque and in other sacred places continues to rise as a new trend. An Islamic Studies Teacher, Zahra Mohammad, does not fit the peaceful environment and humble behavior that is expected at Mecca. It also distracts other worshipers.
6. Garoupe, France
There are portions of a popular beach in Southern France that are pronounced selfie-free zones. When a research study came about revealing that around 67 percent of the visitors in the beach are too focused on taking selfies to brag about how their vacation goes, the staff of the beach decided to ban the activity. Now there are even “No Braggie Zone” signs scattered around the area. The management says that they want their guests not to get distracted by their gadgets and just enjoy the soothing experience the beach offers, that is why they made it selfie-free. Holiday Spam Police, a group of enforcers that patrols around the beach, gives out punishments to anyone caught to violate their little rule.
However, only two portions of the area are tagged as anti-spam; in other parts of the beach, selfies are not really prohibited.
7. South Korea
Because they are believed to be probable “communication equipment,” the selling of selfie sticks is cracked down by the government. Every stick is thoroughly tested and has to be certified according to federal regulations before it can be used.
Pretty much, selfie sticks are not just ordinary sticks. They are connected to smartphones via Bluetooth and can be used to look into personal data. Another thing that concerns officials is that Bluetooth signals causes interference in nearby devices like cellphones and hospital equipments. A fine of $27,000 or three years of imprisonment is waiting for anybody caught selling un-certified selfie sticks.
8. Voting Booths in United Kingdom
Countries around the globe have a divided stand on whether taking photos inside voting booths is proper or not. The Netherlands encourages their people to share in social media the photos they took during the voting process. But this “boothy,” the Netherlander’s name for this controversial selfie trend, is a no-no in South Africa and Belgium.
In the two countries, it is illegal to reveal which candidate you have voted for and the security number of your ballots. The Electoral Commission warned that anyone who violates the rule and continues to upload their selfies will be fined up to €5,000 or 6 months in jail. The aim of the whole system is to maintain the privacy during every elections.
9. Music Places Worldwide
In many parts of Britain, including O2 Academy Brixton, London’s O2 Arena, and SSE Wembley Arena, selfie sticks and devices such as tablets and iPads are already banned since they are considered as visual destruction. Just recently, same rule is imposed in Lollapalooza and Coachella.
Coachella lists selfie sticks, totems, and laser pointers as banned items because according to them, they’re “narcissistics.” Only blocking the view with a three-foot pole is not allowed, so fans can still enjoy the live music and take photos with their smaller cameras at these venues.
10. Disney Land
Disneyland may not be the happiest place for those visitors who look forward to taking selfies at every corner. Disney has just issued a prohibition on selfie sticks all over the theme park as of July this year.
This issue has taken effect immediately after a passenger pulled out a selfie stick in the middle of a roller-coaster ride at Disney California Adventure Park. The selfie stick got caught in the ride’s machine, and from there, things got worse, forcing the operators to stop the roller coaster for almost an hour. The unexpected situation left the riders trembling.