Surprised older woman.

15 Totally Normal Things in Europe That Americans Are Clueless About

Ever wonder what life is like across the pond? People took to the internet to share totally normal things in Europe that Americans are missing out on. 

Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.

1: No Tax Surprises 

Man thinking.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Unlike Europeans, Americans usually do mental math before they hit the checkout line to calculate taxes. One commenter said, “I never thought that was weird until I heard that other countries do include the tax, and now I’m trying to figure out why it’s like that in the US in the first place.”

2: Gap-Free Bathroom Stalls 

Bathroom stall gap.
Photo Credit: Jan H. Andersen via

The saloon-style stalls in US public restrooms are one unsettling experience Europeans don’t have to endure. One traveler said, “I loathed American public toilets. I was always extremely stressed when I had to use them. What’s the point of even having a door if you can still see someone through it?!”

3: Votes Count 

Happy young woman.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

One European claims that parliament offers true power to the people, unlike our two-party system. “Imagine a country with five major parties and where every vote truly counts. Now, THAT’S democracy!” 

4: Tips Are Included 

Money in a tip basket.
Photo Credit: Tongpatong via Depositphotos.

In Europe, you’re much less likely to get an iPad in your face prompting you to tip. One commenter said, “You don’t have to tip people for doing their job.” Another agreed. “Yes, because we pay them a living wage by law. Including health care!” 

5: Reusable Bags

Grocery store aisle.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Hauling dozens of plastic bags inside after your grocery trip is unheard of in European countries. One commenter was surprised by our lack of reusable bags, “[There were] heaps of plastic bags, even in so-called ecological stores like Whole Foods.” They also said bagging your own groceries is the norm. 

6: Lots of Vacay Days 

Woman holding a summer hat.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

One American project manager is shocked at the difference in vacation time between him and his European colleagues. “It baffles me that my European team gets an entire month off in the summer.” Another US commenter agrees. “I’m over here saving my vacation days in case I get sick.”

7: Train Transportation

People on public transportation.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Taking a train from place to place is more for cargo than people in the US. This is not the case in Europe, where 2,500 users agreed that trains are an everyday thing Americans don’t experience. 

8: Reverse Dates

Woman holding June calendar.
Photo Credit: Amixstudio via Adobe Stock.

One European said it’s normal to write the date as “dd/mm/yyyy,” and a fierce debate ensued in the comments. “YYYY-MM-DD. I’ll accept nothing else. Don’t @ me.” said one dissenting commenter, thwarting the American way of writing dates MM-DD-YYYY.

9: Booze in Broad Daylight 

Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

One American was surprised by how much “day drinking” they saw in Europe, and Europeans responded. “It’s a whole different culture around alcohol.” Another person backed them up. “I believe in the States it’s viewed like an addiction to alcohol rather than a regular daylight hours thing to see.” 

10: Online Privacy

Man on a laptop.
Photo Credit: Ron Dale via

Americans are often in the dark about their online privacy. But, one commenter said Europeans have the right to decide what happens to their information, including their likeness and who’s allowed to have it. “Even if you’ve given it before, you have the right to demand to have the information about you erased.”

11: Paying to Use a Toilet

Plane toilet.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Imagine whipping out your wallet whenever you want to use a public restroom. It’s a common occurrence in Europe. One commenter said, “There are often free toilets around (think on par with American park toilets), but the nice ones are pay to enter as they are regularly cleaned, and considering they’re hardly much at all, most people prefer to use the paid ones.”

12: Low-Key Wildlife 

Hiker on a rock.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

You can leave the bear spray at home if you’re enjoying the great outdoors in the EU. One European says it’s normal not to worry about wild animals when hiking: “Our ‘wildlife’ such as it is is pretty tame, and sadly any wilderness we have isn’t really…wilderness on the scale of North America.”

13: Metric System 

Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Quick: Ask an American to convert their highway speed limit to kilometers. It may take a moment (or a Google search). A few commenters discussed how Europeans (and pretty much everywhere else) use the metric system, but the States put it on the back burner. 

14: Affordable Health Care

Doctor holding globe and a sethescope.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Every American knows that just one hospital visit can rack up a bill that hurts more than what you came in for. One thing Europe does that America doesn’t? “Providing healthcare to sick people without bankrupting them,” according to one commenter. 

15: Walkable Cities 

Rothenburg Germany downtown.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

While walkable cities are few and far between in the states, one American transplant finds them at every turn. “I knew coming to Europe that the cities would be like that, but living here has shown me that it’s everywhere where people live.” 

Source: Reddit

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