We’ve done a lot of traveling in Europe over the years, and constantly find ourselves making comparisons between this special continent and the United States. While we both loved growing up in the USA it’s impossible to acknowledge that some things aren’t equal, if not simply better in Europe! It’s not just the cheap cost of living in Europe that draws us, but how truly unique each country is from one another. From the European culture and customs to tasty food traditions, it’s no wonder so many people consider moving to Europe from the US! In this article we’ll explore why American travel in Europe is so popular, and how easy it is to fall in love like we have.
While it varies so much from country to country, there’s one thing we should all be able to agree on: European food is fantastic! They’ll definitely be some options that an American traveling in Europe would think are strange, but the majority of it is excellent once you give it a shot.
We once went to an international food fair in Europe, and America was represented by fried chicken and ribs. While we all love a good hamburger as much as the next person, that doesn’t really stack up against the delicacies of Europe. In addition, foods we may consider luxury items (and pay significantly more money for) are an every day part of European food traditions.
Incredibly Efficient Transportation
The transportation is faster, cheaper, and run way more efficiently in Europe. Not only is the cost of living in Europe cheaper, but it’s also much easier to get around.
Nearly every small town in Europe stays connected with either a bus or train, but the flights can also be extremely cheap! For just twenty Euros, you can quickly jet from Italy to Norway, or France to Ireland. In comparison with Europe, we’d have to say the transportation in the US is pretty terrible.
We would honestly consider moving to Europe from the US just to avoid riding the deathly slow green line train in Boston again! Anyone who’s tried to use ANY public transportation in Los Angeles, or had to navigate the incredibly confusing metro maps of New York City can surely attest to this.
While the developments of companies like Uber and Lyft have made things easier in the United States, it still pales in comparison. I mean, they even have a high speed train going under the ocean from France to England!
More Vacations and Holidays
In case you haven’t heard, they take their holidays very seriously in this part of the world! European culture and customs are different in each country, and it’s seen through many celebrations they have from year to year.
The European food traditions, lights, and parties may seem over the top if you’re moving to Europe from the US. Yet, you can’t say you’ve really lived until you’ve taken part in the festivities.
Couple this with the generous amount of paid vacation time Europeans receive, and you’ve got a completely different lifestyle. This also means more time to spend with your family, and to just live your life outside of work. Also, because of how easy it is to get around the different countries, there’s so many different places to explore!
Quality of Life
Which leads us to this! In America, we are living in a fast paced rapidly developing society. In the age of apps, smart phones, and on demand services, everything you need is accessible and right at your finger tips… But at what cost?
After moving to Europe and getting to know people on a personal level, you get the feeling that they put a lot of value into everyday life. What exactly do we mean by that though? Well it seems as if people live to work, they don’t work to live. The concept of “working for the weekend” simply does not exist here.
This means by moving to Europe you’ll likely have longer holidays, shorter work days, and more time to enjoy life. In many countries throughout Europe, all businesses literally shut down so employees can have a rest or spend time some extra with their family during the day.
It’s no surprise that Americans work more hours than any other industrialized nation in the world. Would it surprise you though if we told you Europeans work the least, but are still just as productive per capita?
After experiencing American travel in Europe we can tell you fitness and eating right is an everyday part of life. Sure we could give you hundreds of statistics to back this up, but just go and experience any European cafe.
See firsthand what they eat for breakfast, Fruits and expressos replace breakfast sandwiches and giant sugar filled iced coffees. Snacking on junk food is basically non-existent, and if you get hungry just pop into a local bakery.
It’s more common to grab something from one of the many street vendors where it’s being made fresh than a fast food restaurant.
Probably the biggest difference we’ve noticed in the eating department is the portion size of meals. European food traditions typically don’t provide more than you can eat, and it’s rare at most places to ask for a takeaway box.
Combine that with the many great health care systems and cost of living in Europe, and you can see why they are able to live such a healthy lifestyle.
Cost of Living in Europe
While the dollar may still reign supreme over other parts of the world, we are still a bit behind Europe in actual value of our money. As we’re writing this, the US dollar is actually .90 cents to the Euro.
Sure when the Euro first appeared we may have been even. Nonetheless, over the years the dollar hasn’t quite been able to keep up. In addition, the formation of the European Union has completely changed economics of the region, and the value of its currency worldwide.
While the US Dollar and Euro are somewhat close in value, there’s one thing that can’t be debated. The cost of living in Europe in most places is much cheaper than the US! Sure cities like Paris and Vienna aren’t cheap, but neither is San Fransisco or New York.
The everyday European culture and customs allow you to more easily dictate your spending. The low cost of food and drinks makes even popular cities like Venice Italy doable for an American traveling in Europe!
In no way are we ready to concede that sports are better in Europe. Still, one can’t deny the love they have for the game of football (or soccer as we like to call it). This one sport is a much a part of European culture and customs as anything else.
Imagine taking all the passion and energy you have for all four of our major professional American sports, and putting that fandom into one team or competition? Well, that’s what its like to be a football fan in Europe!
Listen, we consider ourselves huge sports fans. I (Jake) have been watching the Boston Red Sox since I was four years old, ride or die with the Celtics, and I haven’t missed a New England Patriots game in 10+ years.
Still, after watching numerous football games as an American traveling in Europe we can tell you that the love for the sport is unmatched to anything you will see in the United States.
Education is a completely different experience in Europe, with the most noticeable contrast being the actual cost of attending a university. Colleges are very inexpensive in most places in Europe, and some countries even make it completely free to enroll.
While many young men and women from the United States are placed into instant debt upon graduation, countries like Germany and Sweden have chosen to put their tax money towards free universities for all. This alone makes the cost of living in Europe cheaper than the US.
Another big part of European culture and customs is that children start working towards a specific profession at a young age. There is less going though years of school only to be more confused with what you want to do with your life.
That doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with that part of European culture, but it’s definitely interesting. Don’t worry, if you’re an American still planning on going to a university the majority of European universities accept international students!
Things you may take for granted as an American traveling in Europe are not always free. You will never get complimentary ice water at a restaurant, and you might find yourself paying to use public bathrooms.
At least in Europe you wont have to calculate 20% or more into your meal! Part of European food traditions are that most restaurant workers are paid a fair hourly wage. That means they don’t actually need to depend on your tips to make a living.
Also, you’d think in America if someone was working for tips the service would be infinitely better right? Well we can tell you firsthand that isn’t true. How many times have you received terrible service restaurant and still were required to leave a large tip?
Tipping etiquette in Europe varies between countries so do your homework. Of course, when in doubt you can always show your appreciation by leaving a couple euros!
European Culture and History
As a melting pot for almost every country in the world, America is filled with plenty of history and diversity. Yet as far as history goes so much of what we have in the United States is originally from Europe!
The food, languages, traditions, and many of the very names we go by originate from across the Atlantic Ocean. When you consider the fact that American history only goes back a few hundred years, seeing architecture that’s thousands of years old in Europe is quite remarkable.
Can you imagine if each US state had its own language, culture, and foods for you to embrace? There’s many things we love about this region, but the diversity is something to behold. For this reason, we are highly considering moving to Europe again if we finally settle down somewhere.
Have any questions on European culture and customs, or want to share your experience moving to Europe from the US? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
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