The crazy European holiday rules that have cost my family hundreds | The Sun

MY family and I love making a splash at the pool, so one essential that you'll always find in our luggage when we head abroad is swimwear.

But in lots of European countries, we've ended up having to fork out on added extras just to be able to take a dip on our trip, because their pool rules are more stringent than Brits are expecting.

Whether it's swim hats in Spain, Speedos in France or armbands in the Netherlands, we always seem to end up having to splash the cash.

Here's what you need to know when it comes to foreign pool rules.

One of our most memorable moments was when my husband and sons needed Speedos to swim at a holiday park on the Normandy coast in France, and we had to drive to the nearest Decathlon to buy some as they couldn't go in the pool otherwise.

The rule seems to be that men can't wear baggy swim shorts for hygiene reasons, but of course, this had never occurred to us, so we'd only brought the normal trunks that men usually wear at UK pools.

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My husband was less than impressed at being squeezed into the biggest budgie smugglers we could find, as French men tend to be a bit more on the petite side.

He certainly wasn't in a rush to wear those trunks again when we got home.

We've also fallen foul of Spanish pool rules in the past, where you need swim hats and often your own lock for the changing rooms, as well as flip flops for poolside.

We were at a caravan park near Barcelona when we wanted to go for a swim.

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Bare hair was fine for the outdoor pool, but when we wanted to head indoors, we ended up having to buy several fetching brown swim hats at the park shop.

The irony was that they weren't even made of latex or silicone, like the hats we usually wear here.

Instead they were flimsy Lycra which struggled to cover and contain my long hair. I'm not sure the hat made much difference to the amount of hair that ended up in the water.

Meanwhile, when we visited Duinrell holiday park in the Netherlands, we had to buy armbands for the boys, even though they could swim.

The problem was that they were under a height restriction that said they either needed a Dutch swimming certificate or swimming aids.

The novelty factor of being buoyant without any effort soon wore off when the boys realised they couldn't move their arms or dive to the bottom.

But if they tried to sneak them off, the lifeguards would immediately get them to stand against the height charts on the poolside and make them put the armbands back on again.

We decided to wait until they were big enough to swim without armbands before returning to holiday there.

I can only think of one occasion when we actually ended up needing less swimwear rather than more, when we visited a spa/sauna/pool in Germany.

It was only once we'd paid and were on our way to the changing rooms that we realised that everyone inside was naked.

Once we'd got over the initial surprise and apprehension, it was quite liberating, although I can't see it catching on here. I think swimming costumes are here to stay in the UK.

One lesson I've definitely learnt before venturing to a new country is to find out the pool rules before we set off, to avoid being turned away when we want to swim or having to find a shop that will sell the stuff we need.

It's definitely a case of when in Rome, do as the Romans do, even if that does mean swimming nude or sticking on a hideous hat that you wish wasn't in your holiday snaps.

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Meanwhile, wearing the wrong swimwear in certain parts of Spain could also land you with a big fine.

Places in Italy have also put strict swimwear rules in place for visitors.

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