Americans sometimes humiliate themselves when visiting European countries mainly because they do not try to adapt to the local culture. Of course, there is nothing wrong with keeping to your roots. But part of responsible tourism is taking responsibility and being “friendly” with the locals. Here are ways to travel Europe like a pro and to prevent humiliating yourself.
Language – Europe is a vast continent with different languages, so do not expect everyone to speak fluent English. Even spoken and written English in the UK is a bit different. Be more flexible when communicating with European people. Try to learn a few words of the local tongue.
Packing – Do not bring too many stuff or too large pack. It can get difficult going around with a giant luggage, despite having wheels. If you should have so much to pack, bring a day-trip size bag, which should have enough space for your tour or sightseeing stuff.
Dining – When eating at restaurants or cafes, keep from complaining about portions. Huge servings are so American. In Europe, they do not usually serve large or extra large portions, or single-order meals. Simply try a dish or two, and if they are not enough, order another dish to sample several of the diner’s specialties.
Tipping – Refrain from giving tips. Tipping may be a custom in America, but not in Europe. Tips and taxes are included in European prices in the form of service charge. So you really do not need to leave a few bills or coins on the table.
Dressing – If you do not want people staring at your, try not to wear like a true blue America. Do not dress up like you are desperately trying to blend in. You might as well tour around in low profile. Wear your most comfortable clothes – casual ensemble, slippers or sandals, and maybe a pair of sunnies.
Buying – When purchasing stuff, refrain from asking prices in US dollars. Remember that Euro is more or less of the same value as US dollar. If you want to be precise, bring your own currency converter or calculator.
Photos by: Garry Knight, jonmcalister, Dave Dugdale, LWYang