Don’t scratch your butt on a sacred rock, and other ways to learn from celeb travel

8 mins read

By Kirsten Robertson

Research from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has revealed that one third of 18-24 year olds will be influenced by celebrities when preparing for their holiday this Easter break, with nearly one in three young people saying stars inspire their travel destination.

Since most of us don’t have a management team to get us out of bother, the FCO is encouraging young people to read up on travel advice to avoid getting into trouble abroad.

So, how can we learn from celebs when we travel?


Ora Skydive
Rita Ora skydiving in Dubai. Credit: Capital FM

Holidays are for escaping the mind-numbing confines of everyday life. Rather than being trapped at uni all day, why not start planning your next holiday to include skydiving, like Rita Ora?

Whether you plan to visit glaciers like Chris Hadfield, or row up the Amazon like Helen Skelton, make sure to get travel insurance! Celebrities may have millions for unforeseen circumstances, but the majority of young people do not.


McCartney Arrest
Paul McCartney’s arrest. Credit: BT.com

In 1980, Paul McCartney was arrested for bringing marijuana into Japan. The former Beatle spent nine days in jail before being released without any charges, but the sentence would usually be much longer. In 2013, a Brit was sentenced to ten years for attempting to smuggle drugs, as well as being fined £30,000.

In 2015, Snoop Dogg was arrested in Sweden on suspicion of using illegal drugs. There are heavy punishments for importing illegal drugs throughout the whole of Scandinavia.

Drugs are one of the most common ways Brits are caught out abroad. Even if you’re in a country where certain drugs are legalised, there are usually laws concerning where you can smoke substances, and how much is allowed.


Bieber glacier
Justin Bieber avoiding drowning in an Icelandic glacier. Credit: Guide to Iceland

Katie Price got into bother for her actions in the Maldives. Price went topless during her visit, an action that could have resulted in fines or even a prison sentence. According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office: “Nudism and topless sunbathing are not allowed anywhere, including on resort islands.”

Justin Bieber went topless with different repercussions whilst filming his music video for I’ll Show You. An Icelandic website warned future travellers not to copy Justin’s behaviour. Choosing to go topless in freezing glacier water could have resulted in hypothermia, according to the website. Chunks of ice could have fallen on or around Bieber causing him to get swept under the water. That would have saddened the entire world, I’m sure.


GoNOMAD has an extensive list of designated nudist beaches for you to visit. They also have a list of etiquette tips, such as the importance of applying suncream everywhere and leaving cameras at home.


During her trip to Abu Dhabi in 2015, Selena Gomez took some selfies for Instagram by the Grand Mosque. One picture was of her showing an ankle and lower leg while inside the mosque. This firmly goes against local laws and customs, in which it is a sign of respect to be fully covered in mosques.

Lupita Pool
I’d look like a drowning sea lion if I were to recreate this. Credit: Instagram/lupitanyongo


Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o continued making us all jealous with her photos from Bali. A radiant Nyong’o captioned this selfie from the Mulia Bali hotel ‘Restoration’.


Whilst on a lads’ holiday (celebrities have them too!) to France, Game of Thrones star Kit Harington had a bit much too drink on a rainy Parisian night. Harington was photographed weaving dangerously close to oncoming traffic before friends got him safely in a taxi.

Another example from Canada’s pop prince: during a visit to Mexico, Justin Bieber was stopped for attempting to bring beer into an ancient Mayan fortress. Bieber then proceeded to climb into an off-limit area and strip for a photo, on a site which many Mexicans believe to be sacred.


Harris Drunk
NPH enjoying a tipple. Credit: Instagram/nph

This Neil Patrick Harris method will leave you with far more enjoyable holiday memories than actually getting too drunk, and a larger social media following too.


Jennifer Lawrence caused headlines after a Graham Norton appearance where she admitted to using sacred rocks to satisfy an itch. During the scratching situation, one rock came loose, according to Lawrence. She said: “It was a giant boulder, it rolled down this mountain and it almost killed our sound guy. It was a huge dramatic deal and all the Hawaiians were like, ‘It’s the curse from our ancestors!'” The comments were seen to be disrespectful of Hawaiian heritage and culture, and Lawrence had to publicly apologise for her actions.

Back in 1982, Texans were outraged after a visit from eccentric rock star Ozzy Osbourne.

Osbourne was arrested for public urination and intoxication after relieving himself on the Alamo Cenotaph, a memorial for Texans who died during the Battle of the Alamo. Osbourne was banned from San Antonio for ten years, and made a public apology once he did return.

Radcliffe Dublin
Credit: Joe.ie


Celebrities who really tell the best travel stories are the ones that fully (and respectfully) immerse themself in the country they are visiting. TV Presenter Levison Wood highlighted the warmth of Sri Lankans he experienced in this Daily Mail article.

And who can forget Daniel Radcliffe, who, after bumping into a team of Dublin football players agreed to join them for a house party. Assimilation at its finest.

So, enjoy your holidays, and make sure to research better than the celebrities who embarrassed themselves abroad!  Check you’ve got your Travel Aware essentials here.

If we are likely to fall foul of anything whilst travelling, make sure it is something as harmless as Tom Daley’s holiday tradition: “On holiday I always eat too much and come back twice the size.”

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