Most Americans love traveling to Europe, and many have unforgettable tales of adventure to go along with it! Unfortunately, even the most exciting trip overseas can have some down moments. Recently, travelers met in an online discussion to reveal everything that bothered them about traveling in Europe.
1. The Feeling of Being Unwelcomed
All it takes is a handful of aggressive incidents to sour anyone from visiting Europe. “Nothing like being yelled at for being American and visiting the country,” one man who recently visited Germany said. “It really bothered me to feel so unwelcome.” I'd hate to feel excited to see a new country only to feel like someone didn't want me there.
2. Europeans Pretending They Don't Speak English
Many travelers are confused about this phenomenon. Do Europeans enjoy playing the “I don't understand English” game? You rarely see the inverse happening on American soil. “The French pretending they didn't speak English bothered me greatly,” says one woman. “We had a local friend who could help, but we found it frustrating that folks wouldn't speak to us, despite us being quiet, respectful, and friendly.”
3. Lack of Public Restrooms
In Europe, most bathrooms are for paying customers only, whether you're in a shop or a restaurant. It gets worse depending on which region you visit — during a recent trip to Sicily, I was shocked to discover that most restaurant bathrooms don't even have toilet seats or toilet paper!
4. Many Stores Are Closed on Sunday
In America, we're used to Chick-Fil-A being the only thing closed on Sundays. However, it's an entirely different story overseas! “My friends and I had to wander all over town looking for a place to eat before settling on a bowling alley (which we also found was different than ours),” reports one man. “This was in a small-ish town in Austria, but I've read that it's a common practice across much of Europe.”
5. Not Needing To Tip
Despite many Americans appreciating that European servers and bartenders make a livable wage without needing to solicit tips, most people still feel like the situation is awkward. Service in many European cities rivals that of United States service, so not needing to tip overseas is often accompanied by guilt.
6. Europeans' Tendency To Be Blunt
Not only is sarcasm lost on most Europeans, but they also tend to be pretty blunt in how they talk. From being brazenly direct toward females to not shying away from excessive cursing, they certainly have a way with words — if you can understand their native languages, of course.
7. The Beer Scene Is Different
As someone who appreciates craft beer in all its flavors and styles, I was disappointed by the European beer scene. Popular beer styles like India Pale Ales lacked flavor, bitterness, and malt. Granted, some European-style beers like lagers, stouts, and pale ales tasted great, but I ultimately left Europe feeling disappointed in the beer scene.
8. Small Cars
Americans are spoiled by the oversized cars and trucks we drive on this side of the Atlantic. When you visit Europe, you'll be lucky enough to find a vehicle larger than a small crossover sedan.
“We packed for a camping trip on the southeast part of a country, and trying to pack so much stuff in such a little car wasn't easy,” laments one woman.” It also made driving such a long distance uncomfortable as the car was packed with five people.”
9. Small Meal Sizes
Much like their vehicles, portion sizes in restaurants are also much smaller than Americans are used to. Europeans like to take small, sensible bites of their meals and are careful never to overeat. This is in direct contrast to the American way of eating — also known as “Stuffing our fat faces until we feel sick.”
10. Lack of Modern Plumbing
Europe is a beautiful, historical, and culturally-significant place that gives any visitor an immense sense of joy every day – except when you have to shower or use the bathroom. Unfortunately, many European cities utilize plumbing and sewer systems that have not been modernized. As a result, stinky smells are far too common — if you know what I mean.
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I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.