32 Travelers Share The Best Things They’ve Seen Abroad That They Wish Their Home Countries Had

Traveling abroad can be a life-changing experience. You might enjoy the best meal you’ve ever had, find architecture that absolutely blows your mind or realize that it’s time to start learning a new language to be able to form deeper connections with friends from another culture. You may also find out that there are some things your country is totally missing out on.

Travelers on Reddit have recently been discussing the things they’ve encountered and experienced around the world that they wish their home countries had. From bidets to well-paved bike lanes, enjoy scrolling through this list, and be sure to upvote the things you’d be jealous of too!

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Street markets in Asia. I love wandering the streets and finding great eats at the stalls. Some of the best food I had in Vietnam was from them.

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German roll shutters for my house windows.

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Group dining in China. When you eat out in China, everyone shares the meal family style. Your table orders a bunch of plates of different dishes, then everyone just grabs pieces of whatever they’d like to eat. I love this style of dining.

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Good wine that’s cheap! In Europe, especially Italy, France, and Greece, you can get a decent bottle of wine for less than €10. Sometimes you can get good wine for less than €5 depending on where you are!

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Scandinavian saunas! I would pay for a monthly sauna pass in a heartbeat, especially if it was on the waterfront. Stinky YMCA saunas just don’t compare.

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Health care, I got sick in Taiwan and my wife called an ambulance. I spent about 8 hours in the hospital. All in cost for everything including medicine was about $250 usd. It would have been less if I was a resident. Also my doctor went to school in California.

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Bidets. Wiping with dry paper is caveman style.

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Protected bike lanes. And effective public transit.

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When I went to Canada this summer I was amazed that there were recycle and compost bins everywhere. It was to the point that I almost didn’t throw anything in the actual garbage the entire trip. Time to step up your game America.

Image credits: drtypete

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The amount of stress that left my body after each onsen visit, even in a hotel with a deep soaking tub in the middle of the city was astounding. Bathing culture has huge mental health benefits. Also that heated seat at 3 am when it’s cold.

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German Christmas Markets. I was in Germany during December, and each town had Christmas Markets that ran the holiday season. There was food, shopping, activities, and more. These markets were places where everyone gathered to hang out in the evenings. Christmas Markets seem like they would be perfect for the US, but there are very few here.

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Korean convenience stores. You can find some kind of convenience store on every corner in South Korea, and they always have so many more options than just snacks and bottled drinks. You can get healthy premade meals, hot beverages (kept in a separate ‘hot fridge’ that I was obsessed with), many kinds of ramen, and even freshly steamed sweet potatoes. Every day for lunch, I would just grab a roll of kimbap for a dollar. I miss that so much.

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When I was in Piombino, Italy in the evening everyone just gathered in the streets, pulled up chairs and sat and chatted. Some people brought instruments and played music. It was so amazing, there was just such a strong feeling of community and being welcomed.

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Japanese tatami mats and the chairs without legs they put on them. So comfortable and so great for eating, socializing, reading, etc. Wish we had that more.

French sidewalk cafes – in Paris there are tons of beautiful cafes with little tables out on the sidewalk. You can have a coffee, drink, or snack and people watch, read, or chat with friends.

Also, the Spanish custom of taking eating dinner late (e.g. 9 pm), and having it be a social experience with friends/family. I’m a night person so I would love late dinners.

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A boulongerie or patisserie every few blocks so I can have fresh baguettes or pain au chocolate.

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Good bread by default. When I was in Germany, every sandwich was served on a high-quality roll that had a nice crust and good flavor. In the USA you absolutely can get that, but it sure-as-hell not the default. You have to go to a place that does it and/or ask for it.

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High speed rail. Saw it in all its glory in China – very fast, clean, reasonably priced and made me woefully rue the godawful British train system where it costs hundreds of pounds to travel sub high speed on a packed and dirty train with no seat! Not to mention they rotate all the seats to forward facing before the start of every journey – why do we still have those awful backward facing seats that make you feel sick?

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Long, leisurely meals. People hanging out for an hour after eating without a thought to leaving because it’s the cultural norm to actually relax and enjoy your meal and company.

Nonsexual physical touch and intimacy between men. This has all but disappeared in the west, but other parts of the world men hug, hold hands, kiss each other on the cheek, and show a kind of physical closeness that you just don’t see in the US.

An abundance of well populated third spaces and people with the time to fill them.

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So many comments about Japan here, but no one’s hitting on one of my favorites. I’m actually there right now and often they have this little button on the table at restaurants for requesting service.

Coming from America’s overzealous service culture, it’s so nice not having repeated interruptions checking if you’re ready to order or how your food is or whether you need anything else. It’s great.

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In Vietnam, the traffic lights count down the seconds until the light is going to change.

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Most grocery stores in Germany have these machines where you insert your empty bottle, it gets scanned, and after you’ve inserted all your empties you press a button to get a stub for the bottle deposit. It’s so satisfying returning those things!

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Smaller portions.

Currently in South East Asia, I was craving Skittles something fierce. They have the perfect portion size package of Skittles. Bigger than Halloween size but not as big as the standard North American size. Was absolutely perfect and satisfied the craving without gorging myself.

Everything here is smaller and our North American diets could hugely benefit from this.

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In Scandinavia I noticed that every restaurant, snack bar, convenience store, highway stop, etc. had vegetarian and vegan options. Cool if you’re into that.

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The amount of open (i.e. unlocked/not boarded up) and reasonably clean and safe feeling public toilets in Australia compared to the UK is amazing. I hate going walking here knowing that you’ll almost certainly not be able to find a toilet anywhere.

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I’m American and public transportation!! High-speed rail between cities but also innercity public transportation!!

Beautiful city centers with beautiful architecture and beautiful streets to just walk around.

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Italian coffee bars. I endorse coffee buying experiences where:

You basically share no language with the staff
You cannot order mocha latte skim flat fat with whatever
Espresso shots approximate 1 Euro

I don’t need lightly roasted 3rd wave cold brew. The Italians figured out all the shit I needed decades ago. It is a solved problem

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Currently in North America. Developing countries in Asia, South America, and Africa all have extensive wet markets and farmers markets. Wish we have more of those versus the big box stores.

From progressive countries We need School meals like they serve in Japan and work cafeteria food like S. Korea. Kids could benefit from adapting the Asian discipline and early access to chores they teach in school as well as the creative approach of the Finland school system.

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My friend and I had our “Italian happy hour” every afternoon around 5 after sightseeing. A little wine, cheese, cold cuts. Then we would relax for a few hours and then go out for a proper dinner.

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Plazas. I love grabbing a coffee or a drink and sitting on a bench in a plaza on a pleasant evening. We just don’t have that where I am.

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I just came back from Japan. I really wish that people back home would behave more like the Japanese do. They are polite and always take other people into consideration. How you act and what you do affect other people – therefore you should be aware of your behaviour and not think about yourself only. Don’t litter, don’t be noisy, wait for your turn. The society is well organised and safe.

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Tilt-and-turn windows.

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American style kitchen sinks that are huge, have that waste mill thing, and an “agile” water tap… you know? Very useful when you actually get used to them. Greetings from Norway.

EDIT: also, the possibility to buy alcohol (any abv) at pretty much any time of the day. The regulations here in Norway are even stricter than in Finland.

Image credits: yesthisisarne

Source: boredpanda.com

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