Trespassing is frowned upon—except, perhaps, in Scotland: you just have to ask for permission first. So says a sign one traveler photographed on a local Edinburgh street. Too bad it doesn’t specify whom to ask.
Signs can be our biggest allies; they can also lead us far astray. Either way, we rely on signs heavily—especially in unfamiliar places—so we take care to read every word. And sometimes, what we see is, well, hilarious.
Whether the language is unintentionally misleading or lost in translation, or an illustration isn’t quite right, it makes for a shareable moment. So the camera comes out and the photo goes up—on our social media profiles, Flickr pages, blogs, and the community section of Travel + Leisure. We pulled the ones from our community members that made us laugh, in hopes that they’d work the same magic on you.
Sometimes the humor comes in the use (or lack) of questionable punctuation, such as one sign that reads caution pedestrians slippery when wet. A couple of commas would clarify that it is not, in fact, the pedestrians that are slippery when wet. (We hope.)
Others are intentionally funny, like one posted to deter would-be parking violators from taking a reserved spot: air will be taken out of tires and license plates removed from unauthorized parkers. If that doesn’t stop you, nothing will. In Beijing, meanwhile, a road sign shows friendly, cartoon-like cops and suggests that traffic tickets will be served with a smile.
Then there are those that are just downright strange and leave you scratching your head. One triangular street sign bears no words, but dramatically illustrates a person in a wheelchair speeding down a hill toward the open mouth of an alligator. Another photo captures a store with conflicting “closing” and “now hiring” signs—so much for job security?
See these and other funny signs in our slideshow. And if you’ve come across any in your travels, don’t keep them to yourself. Leave a comment below and let us in on the joke.