Topless tourism: The naked truth

Topless tourism is trending, but there are traps for the unwary traveller. We uncover a few possible pitfalls.

Choose your time and place to avoid causing offence to locals or embarrassment to yourself. Photo / Instagram
Choose your time and place to avoid causing offence to locals or embarrassment to yourself. Photo / Instagram

An Instagram website page celebrating "topless tourism" has been a hit, with more than 30,000 online followers getting behind the social media trend that sees travellers baring their bosoms to the world.

But it's not to everyone's liking.

In Peru, the ministry of culture has put up signs at Machu Picchu warning visitors who get naked are committing a "crime against culture" and will be kicked out of the area. Police recently detained four male tourists who had taken nude photos of themselves at the famous Inca site.

Travel Insurance Direct safety specialist Phil Sylvester provided a word of warning for those considering joining the "Topless Tour".

"It is important to be careful with these sorts of social trends, what is 'fun' to you might be really offensive to another culture. After all, experiencing new and different cultures is a big part of the joy of travel.

"In various countries for cultural, religious or just legal reasons, this act could be seen as a serious offence. So although that insta pic might get 20 likes, the photographic moment could also equal a serious fine, or jail time.

"Think of it this way, if you're uncovered you're not covered."

Phil Sylvester's tips for taking part in the "Topless Tour" ... without getting in trouble

1. Know the law: Research the laws and regulations of the country you're visiting. If there are strict clothing rules in place (in the UAE, for example) and imprisonment is on the cards, it is probably best to keep your top on.

2. Respect the culture: Some countries are fine with public toplessness and a bit of cheeky photography. Others, not so much. Do some research about the culture you're travelling to and don't do anything that is likely to cause offence.

3. Pick somewhere remote: Bit of a no-brainer, but worth pointing out all the same. The more secluded your location, the more interesting your photos will be. You can also take your time getting the perfect shot instead of snapping away in a desperate, paranoid rush.

4. Choose a suitable time of day: Unless you're a total exhibitionist, you probably don't want a busload of tourists to roll up in the middle of your shoot. In other words, stick to early morning or late at night when fewer strangers are around.

5. Less is more: Convey your toplessness without actually showing anything rude - there are plenty of other ways to be creative.

- NZ Herald

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