Travel

Things Europeans do differently

As an American staying in Europe, you’re bound to hit some cultural differences. Especially when Airbnb-ing it and staying in people’s homes, you notice the small differences that may not be as apparent at a nice hotel.  Some are hard and some are hilarious. Here’s a few that we noticed Europeans doing differently on our trip last fall!

  • Ice: This one is probably the most well-known distinction, but there’s no ice to speak of. You can sometimes ask for it, but you’ll be immediately pegged as American (and difficult). I didn’t have a huge issue with this one mostly because I don’t drink soda. But the win is that you don’t need ice for wine, so just go that route and you won’t miss it!
  • Keys: so many cool keys! This is a little thing, but many places gave us old school skeleton keys. They were often big and occasionally cumbersome, but so much fun!
  • Tissues: I ended up getting sick while we travelled, and tissues were hilariously hard to find! One of our Airbnb hosts gave me a few travel packs, but they’re not readily available in grocery stores or pharmacies. So if you know you’ve got allergies or catch colds, bring some tissues along with you.

There's lots of small things that Americans and Europeans do differently. Here's a few we noticed!

  • Paying for bathrooms: many places in Europe charge for using their toilets. Restaurants don’t, but many museums and tourist attractions do. Make sure to keep some change with you for times like these.
  • Top sheets: Most of the hotels and all the Airbnb’s we stayed in didn’t have top sheets. You slept under the blanket. Not to worry, everywhere without them used duvet covers so they were easily washable!
  • Blinds: Europeans don’t seem to use blinds the way we do. Instead of fabric, they use metal roll-up blackout “curtains.” We stayed in several places with wall-sized windows complete with fantastic views (hello, Sacre Coeur!), but those summertime evenings mean it doesn’t get truly dark until 11pm. So those metallic curtains are a godsend.

img_2053Those are just a couple things we noticed. What  culture shocks have you experienced between American and European lifestyles?

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15 thoughts on “Things Europeans do differently

  1. Doorknobs are Not Boring! There are all kinds and shapes! And dogs go everywhere with their people. Trains, buses, restaurants (especially outdoor ones, but even indoors). And repair people who are men just go right ahead and work on whatever they need to in the women’s bathrooms. Even if there are women in there doing … you know.

    1. Hahaha I love it. Now that you mention it, I also noticed that hotel/hostel/Airbnb room keys had so much more variety than American ones!! I wish I’d taken a picture of every room key we had on our trip: so many different ones!

  2. As a European, I know what you mean. Now I live in the USA and I could list so many things the Americans do differently too. 🙂 The language although English is not like British English.

  3. As a European I notice the differences when I visit the US. Portions are HUGE as are the cars, I remember being amazed at how big all the cars are, makes the fiat 500 look like a toy car! Also, what’s with shared bathrooms in hotels? Find that such an odd concept! My favourite difference in any culture is always the supermarket. I can lose myself for hours looking at the different products and packaging, so cool!

    1. YES SO TRUE!! I’ve never had shared bathrooms in US hotels – that sounds unusual to me! The supermarkets are SO different: one time I took a Canadian friend to a US supermarket and she couldn’t get over the soup selection!

  4. As someone British this is really amusing to read! You are right it’s really hard to find tissues! And yes our bedding is often different to yours, I always love it when we go to America because the beds are always huge in hotels over there….

  5. There are a lot of funny differences! I noticed that many European places don’t use dryers! I had to air dry my clothing on a rack. They always ended up crunchy lol

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