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8 Surprises for First-Time-Travelers to Europe

8 Surprises for First-Time-Travelers to Europe

The reason people travel is to experience new cultures, see things they don't see at home, to try new foods, and to see and do things that are new to them.  So when we travel, we want to know what is different between the land we are visiting and what we are accustomed to.  Here are 7 things travelers, especially first-time travelers, are most surprised about when they visit Europe:

Hotel Rooms are Small:  A typical hotel room, even at a 3 and 4 star property can average about 15 square meters.  That means about 150 square feet.  

Not All Rooms Have A/C:  This is especially true in Paris.  When traveling to Europe during summer months, make sure rooms have A/C.  Another thing regarding hotels that people are surprised about is how different rooms can be, even at the same hotel.  This is because some buildings, like in Florence, Italy, are 500 years old.  They have been modified and retro-fitted into an old design to accommodate rooms that now have plumbing and electricity.

You Can Get Just About Everything in Europe You Can Get in North America:  There are supermarkets and grocery stores that sell just about everything we have here.  The only thing we had real trouble finding was Gatorade, of all things.

How Friendly the People Are:  All it takes is a "bonjour", "buongiorno", "hello", "guten morgen" or "zdravo" to get the conversation going.

How Many People Speak English:  On everywhere we go on our small group tours, English is spoken by about 95% of the people we meet, especially younger people.  This was not so true when The Professor first went to Europe in the '90's, the age before the internet was as prevalent as it is today.

There are Starbucks All Over the Place:  Except in Italy.  McDonald's is everywhere.

Tipping is Minimal or Non-Existent:  North American are used to tipping restaurant servers, for instance, 15%-20% of the bill. Not in Europe.  Just a few coins are fine when leaving a tip.  Many Europeans don't tip at all.  The Professor has actually been to places where tips are not accepted.

Leave the Key at the Front Desk:  Instead of taking your room key along, it is common to leave it at the front desk.

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