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How To Avoid A Disappointing Vacation Experience While Traveling In Europe

Are you planning a vacation in Europe? No doubt you have some hopes for the future.

Perhaps you are the type of person who is looking forward to spending your days admiring the amazing design and walking around the world-famous museums with great art. Or maybe you go to Europe to meet up with loved ones, relax on the beach until the sun goes down, and then dance the night away at a local club. No matter what your priorities are on your European vacation, you certainly expect it to be great!

But wait. Have you ever considered your cultural expectations?

Many European holidaymakers plan their jobs and accommodations with the expectation that everything else will be “as American.” If so, think again! Just as Europe and the US differ in geography, climate, and history, they are also significantly different in culture. Europeans and Americans have differing opinions about customs, time, personal space, personal care, and language.

So for anyone planning a vacation trip to Europe, here are a few “cultural” places Americans often encounter in Europe. Making yourself aware of these differences can help you to enjoy a wonderful, enjoyable, and educational holiday in Europe that is free of cultural misunderstandings!

Take a look at a map of the world. Which is smaller: US or Europe? That’s right — Europe. But there are still a lot of people there, which means they are used to small spaces!

The standard of living in America is very high. We are accustomed to king-size beds and toilets that can take several people at a time.

But unless you live in a large French chateau or an Italian villa, be prepared to have smaller spaces than you are used to. Bedrooms and bathrooms will be more compact, such as the size of the beds. One and two beds alike will be smaller. Kitchens will not be able to accommodate your whole family!

So think about this opportunity to get closer to your traveling companions. Consider sharing a toilet in Italy as an act of cooperation. Be friendly with your partner in that double French bed. Be willing to laugh as you prepare. Have fun and have fun!

A common misconception among Europeans is that they are “cruel.” They just think the same thing about us!

Remember when you travel to Europe that being green is especially a cultural perspective. A person who seems dull and sympathetic may express affection and concern for your well-being. The waiter who tells you what to order may try to help, because you do not know the language. The difference in “personal space” means that the person cutting in front of you may not even understand you and that you were in line!

Also, lessons that are relevant to your community can be discussed freely elsewhere, and vice versa. In the US, we consider it an astonishing disrespect to comment on a person’s weight. This is not true everywhere!

So when you travel to Europe, stay calm. The best way to achieve this is to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Just make a choice not to get angry. If you can roll up your sleeves, you’ll really enjoy your vacation- and you’ll be a better partner.

I have to admit that I get impatient when I have to wait more than fifteen minutes at a US restaurant. After the meal arrives, I can walk out the door in half an hour!

In Italy, however, a dinner full of conversation, laughter, and delicious food can last for two hours! I smile when I hear some Americans ask why the food has not yet arrived. Unbeknownst to them, the waiter gave them a chance to taste the meal.

Similarly, shops and businesses in Spain close in the evening. In the UK, a hands-on manager might want to talk to you before you fix that pipe.

The majority of Europeans do not share the American pressure to “save time” by doing everything quickly. So when you are on holiday in Europe, leave your watch behind. After all, this is a holiday!

I often hear complaints, especially from those who rent a house or apartment, about the quality of goods and services in Europe. I would be a millionaire if I had less money when I heard someone say “The furniture is old!” or “The plumbing needs to be replaced.”

In today’s world, it is easy to expect things to look new, to feel new, and to behave in a new way. If not, we discard it.

But think of all those who have grown up under stress. My grandfather kept rows of old coffee cans full of safety nails and pieces of wire. He sat in the same chair every night until his death. Nothing is discarded, and nothing is thrown away if not repaired.

So if the furniture looks a little worn out, or if the sink closes, think before you complain. Is quality the result of neglect and correction, or is it the result of careful, conscientious effort not to use anything?

Treat this as an educational experience; you can learn even from the most economical way of life.

As an American, I am often jealous of Europeans picking up languages ​​like taking a bottle of milk to the store. To me, it’s a war going up all the way!

Since learning three or four languages ​​is not a cultural need or a need for education in our country, many Americans feel the same way. And some Americans still think that everyone in Europe should speak English!

In the same way that you or I would be offended by French tourists who expected everyone in the US to speak French, Europeans are often annoyed by Americans who have no idea.

While you may not be able to learn a new language before your vacation, you can learn some useful phrases. This is considered respectful, and is guaranteed to get friendly responses. If you are trying to use their language, Italians or French who probably pretend to be ignorant often help you pronounce the words — and then talk to you in English!

Lastly, keep in mind that the standards and customs you may have acquired while traveling to Europe are wrong. They are just different. If you walk in the right direction, you will have a rich, realistic, and eye-opening experience. Who knows? Your European holiday can change the way you view the world.

Originally published at on April 8, 2021.

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