It's easy to feel like the grass is always greener on the other side — specially if you've ever spent time in Europe. So redditor u/Specialist-Metal-458 asked, "Americans, what do Europeans have every day that you see as a luxury?" Here's what people had to say.
1."Affordable universities. Our daughter is going to university in Scotland. Our US friends always respond with shock at the 'luxury' of going overseas for school...until I tell them it’s half the cost of a similar US college. And that includes travel expenses."
2."Great accessible public transportation. This blew me away while traveling in Europe. It doesn’t matter where you are, even if it’s some middle-of-nowhere farm town, because you’re never far from a train station. You can just hop on a train and go anywhere you want. I would love to have that here in the US but we only have rail links between some major cities. I live in a more rural area and I have to drive four-plus hours to get pretty much anywhere, everywhere. In Europe, I was always about 20 minutes from a train station that could get me anywhere."
3."One thing I notice that Southern Europe has is cheap coffee and pastries. Cafes in the US are often marketed as very trendy and if you want a pastry and a coffee, you should be ready to pay around 10 bucks. In most of Italy, Portugal, and Spain, you can get coffee and an excellent croissant for like €3."
4.Guaranteed four-plus weeks of paid vacation every single year. And the fact that employees are encouraged to take said vacation instead of being made to feel that it’s a burden to the employer."
5."A more slow-paced lifestyle. I studied abroad in Italy and there was just so much less of a rush everywhere. Oftentimes the latest people to arrive at my classes were the professors. Everyone really took their time and I didn't really feel the bustle of constantly going or getting somewhere. In fact, the village I lived in all but shut down for a few hours in the afternoon so the shopkeepers could go have lunch."
6."The fact that Europeans can travel between different countries in Europe without spending days driving or flying."
7."A plethora of local bakeries that sell wonderful, fairly priced food that is readily available for people to enjoy on their walking commutes."
8."Open container laws. Being able to walk around a downtown area with a beer in hand is awesome."
9."The absolute best summer vacation spots. Europe is stacked with incredible beaches and while lots of Americans make the summer pilgrimage to places like the Côte d'Azur, the Algarve, the Greek islands, and the Amalfi Coast, these destinations constitute easy weekend trips for Europeans."
10."Street art all around. One thing I will miss when I move back to the US is that it is commonplace for European cities to have a lot of art in their streets. I have traveled to 12 different European countries this year for work and pretty much every single town I visited had street art, whether it was sculptures, well-painted graffiti, or light installations. And the art wasn’t destroyed or messed with. It was nice to see something beautiful and unique everywhere I went."
11."Cheap wine. I heard Americans talk about this and it's so true. Where I live in Spain, the standard price for a glass of wine in a cafe or everyday restaurant is about €1. In a restaurant I’ll usually order a half-liter of wine for €4 (and that’s 2/3 of a bottle of wine to be clear). Soda or water are, in fact, typically more expensive than a glass of wine."
12."Tipping culture. Europe has a completely different view on tipping than what we have here in the US. Tips should be given for exemplary service. If you loved the way you were served or if you just wanted to say thank you for doing such an amazing job. Being expected to tip every time makes it lose its actual value. More importantly, Europeans pay their service workers a living wage! These people have one of the hardest jobs out there and deserve to make a living before tips."
13."€1 espressos. Now that is a luxury."
14."Cities designed for walking. I don't really drive much and hate having to get around by car especially while traveling. Being able to walk or bike wherever I wanted to go was so great. Lots of people I've talked to just assume Europeans like to bike more but they don't understand the layout of American cities just make it unfeasible. People bike and walk more in Europe because their cities are designed differently and make it easy to do so."
15."An emphasis on fresh, local food. In the South of France, every Saturday morning you can walk to the local market. Most of the fruits and vegetables are grown a mile away. Locals are on a first-name basis with the butcher and his wife is a baker who sells fresh bread at the market. The town's fishmonger has what's in season, which was swimming about 20 miles away. On top of all that, everything costs less than supermarket prices."
16."Schools that teach foreign languages effectively and from a young age. In the US, we don't teach languages from an early age alongside English but that would be so wonderful."
17."Universal, government-run healthcare. Here in the US, most of us pay out of pocket for healthcare and insurance that is tied to our company. If you don't have a job, having health insurance gets very expensive."
18."History everywhere you look, all around you. Europeans know where they come from. In many places, there are thousands of years of history all around to ground you. Down the road is a castle, your pub has been in that location for 200 years, your church building for a thousand, and there are Roman ruins under your grocery store."
19."A huge offering of budget airlines that can fly you pretty much anywhere on the European continent for cheap. Vueling, EasyJet, Wizz Air, the list goes on and on. In the US, flying is generally very expensive, even if you book far in advance."
20."Much cleaner, higher-quality food with fewer chemicals, preservatives, and other junk in it. The EU has stricter food quality standards and a wide selection of American food cannot be imported into the EU because it contains chemicals, additives, and preservatives that are on the banned list. European food tastes better and after a week, the difference in how you feel is very noticeable. Much of American food is trash."
21."Bread that doesn’t have the sugar content of cake. European bread is just next-level good."
22."The fact that being bilingual or speaking multiple languages is so common. I wish that was the norm here in the US. I feel like an uncultured oaf when I travel abroad and can't even attempt to speak the languages of the countries I visit."
23."The whole European attitude toward work. People in Europe generally have a much better work-life balance. Here in the US, so many employees are expected to be readily available to work even after hours, on weekends, or on vacation days. In Europe, there's much more of a separation. This attitude permeates so much of European society, like the fact that workers take leisurely lunches even on workdays. Here in the States, employees hustle to grab a fast-casual salad or bowl that they proceed to scarf down at their desks."
24."Playgrounds all around. They seem to be everywhere you look in Europe, which is just one of the many ways they accommodate the needs of children and their families."
What is an aspect of everyday life in another country that feels like a luxury or something extraordinary? Tell us in the comments!