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