11 Things About Europe That Shock American Travelers

11 Things About Europe That Shock American Travelers

Mark Wolters is a big favorite with UpTourist.com visitors and he’s just recently released another one of his insightful videos about European travel and the effect their culture has on American travelers.

Check it out:

The 11 Things About Europe That are Bound to Shock and Awe You:

1. Toilet Prices: Some places will in fact charge you for the privilege. Some toilets will be just a “hole in the ground.”
2. Poorer Customer Service: Your service will vary, but the upside is tipping isn’t even expected in a lot of locales outside major tourist hotspots. Essentially, you’re not paying extra to get good service in Europe like you would in North America.
3. There are lots of bilingual folks: While this is shocking, it’s shocking for all the wrong reasons. What’s wrong with us America?
4. Europe is not a country: I lol’d at this one. Some people actually think Europe’s a country instead of an entire continent filled with several countries — all with different languages, cultures and history behind them.
5. Hotels and beds: Twin beds are the standard in many European hotels. Don’t expect queen sized or king without paying for the privilege. The rooms are rather small too in many places.
6. The Coins are actually worth something: If you’re Canadian like me, you’ll note that we just phased out the copper penny last year — the soft metal’s worth more in scrap than as a coin. The coins have a lot of value, compared to North America where you won’t find a coin worth more than 25 cents in the states or $2 in Canada.
7. The amount of beggars and kid beggars: There are a lot of beggars. As Mark pointed out, you need to be really careful in some places as the beggar you see and give money to is often just a lookout, searching for people they and their team can rob once you’re out of sight.
8. Awesome public transportation: This is a wonderful shock that will make you sad to leave. You can go anywhere in this country by train or bus (heck, planes in Europe cost as much as a short bus trip in America.
9. How worldly and educated the people are: Yes, they know plenty, though I’ve found several who have a lot of misconceptions about our country. So they know a lot about what’s going on, but expect to also hear some things about your own country that you probably won’t agree with too.
10. The food & meal times: Lunch and supper times are extended. They treasure meal time throughout the continent, but there’s lots of American fast food if that’s your bag.
11. The countries aren’t spread as far apart in Europe: If you’re envisioning traveling for a week to get from Ontario to Alberta in Canada, or traveling to New Mexico to Lousiana on I10 through Texas — that won’t happen in Europe! In fact, Texas is twice the size of Germany and about 10-percent bigger than the whole of France.

Of course, not all of these are universal truths in every Euro country, but you’ve been forewarned nonetheless!





Main Photo: I’m Shocked by Nathan Rupert



  1. Excellent tipping note Chad! I haven’t done Europe but live around many Europeans quite a bit in SE Asia and in other parts of the world. Tipping is not required nor is it….well….done 😉 So service with a smile I garner is not big in Europe and even though I’m spoiled by this in the USA – though not always in NJ lol – I don’t mind. Different culture. Different vibe.

    I also am amused by the more direct Russians and Germans I see in places like Phuket.

    “Give me a beer.” LOL More of a mix; language barrier and personal friendliness is not as big but in truth I’ve met a ton of friendly folks from all over Europe too.

    Fab points here! Thanks for sharing the smart list 😉


    • Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment Ryan! Glad you’ve found the points I made agreeable. Isn’t it funny how our upbringing forces us to make unfair assumptions about people raised in more direct cultures? As a Canadian, I’m the worst for thinking someone is rude, when in fact they’re just answering a question — or making one, without the slightest intention of being off-putting.


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