"The Italians Really Got This Figured Out": People Are Sharing The Best Practices And Norms They've Encountered While Traveling

One wonderful thing about traveling is how eye-opening the experience can be. Every new place comes with new traditions, customs, cultural norms, flavors, and more. So Redditor u/pelican678 asked, "What’s one thing you’ve seen on your travels that’s made you think: I really wish we had that back home?" Here's what people said.

1."When I went to Canada I was amazed that there were recycling and compost bins everywhere. I almost didn't throw anything in the actual garbage the entire trip. Time to step up your game, America."

A person's hand is placing paper into a recycling bin with separate compartments for cans, plastic/glass, and paper
Jeff Greenberg / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

2."A more vegetarian-friendly food culture. In Scandinavia, I noticed every restaurant, snack bar, convenience store, highway stop, etc. They had both vegetarian and vegan options."

Taco with onions, cilantro, and lime on a pink tortilla; additional taco and lime slice in background
Simon Mcgill / Getty Images

3."Big European plazas. I love grabbing a coffee and sitting on a bench in a plaza on a pleasant evening. We just don’t have that where I am from."

Historic village square with bustling market, people browsing stalls and terraced cafes under sunny sky
Fraser Hall / Getty Images

4."High speed rail like the one I saw in China. It was very fast, clean, reasonably priced, and made me woefully rue the awful 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?"

A tram on tracks beside a river with the Canton Tower in the background and cityscape
Bnbb Studio / Getty Images

5."Restaurants in Japan often have this little button on the table for requesting service. Coming from America (with an overzealous service culture), it’s so nice not dealing with repeated interruptions and servers constantly checking if you’re ready to order or whether you need anything else."

Japanese meal with noodles, rice, fried chicken, and sides on a tray
Francesco Riccardo Iacomino / Getty Images

6."Amazing bread everywhere you look. When I was in Germany, every sandwich was served on a high-quality roll that had a nice crust and good flavor. You find high-quality bread in the US, but it's certainly not the default."

A turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato on toasted bread, cut in half on a paper-lined tray
Mattslens / Getty Images/RooM RF

7."Street markets like the ones I ate at in Vietnam. I love wandering the streets and finding great eats at different stalls. Some of the best food I had in Vietnam was from these markets."

Person eating a traditional Asian meal with various dishes, including rice, vegetables, and meat
Golero / Getty Images

8."Long, leisurely meals, like how they are enjoyed in much of Europe. People hang out for an hour after eating without thinking of leaving because it's the cultural norm to actually relax and enjoy your meal and company."

Two children at a wooden table with empty plates and a pan of cooked food
Orbon Alija / Getty Images

9."Quality wine that’s cheap. In Europe (especially Italy, France, and Greece), you can get a decent bottle of wine for less than €10."

Glass of red wine on a table at an outdoor cafe with blurred background of buildings and people
Gary Yeowell / Getty Images

10."Bidets/high-tech toilet seats like the ones in Japan. Going home and wiping with dry paper is caveman-style."

Control panel of a bidet with buttons for various functions, close-up shot
Karl Tapales / Getty Images

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

Two people in robes stand by a barrel sauna near a body of water with trees and a house in the background

12."Affordable health care. I got sick in Taiwan, and my wife called an ambulance. I spent about eight hours in the hospital. All in, the cost for everything (including medicine) was about $250. It would have cost even less if I was a resident."

Empty hospital corridor with stretchers lined along the wall
Jackyenjoyphotography / Getty Images

13."Italian coffee bars. I endorse coffee-buying experiences where you basically share no language with the staff, you cannot order a 'mocha latte skim flat fat' with an alternative milk, and an espresso shot costs a Euro. The Italians figured out coffee culture decades ago."

Two cups of coffee on a table with a partially eaten croissant. A person's hands are in view
Negatina / Getty Images

14."A boulangerie or patisserie located every few blocks as they exist in Paris. It's lovely to never be far from a fresh baguette or pain au chocolate."

Bakery display with various breads and pastries on tables, a storefront in the background, and a person facing away
Stevenallan / Getty Images

15."The Spanish custom of eating dinner late (around 9 p.m.) where it is a social experience with friends/family. I'm a night person, so I love late dinners, but most people dine much earlier where I'm from."

People dining at outdoor restaurant in an alleyway with ambient lighting
David Tomlinson / Getty Images

16."The Italian happy hour. When I was in Italy, I enjoyed this every afternoon around 5 p.m. after sightseeing. A little wine, cheese, cold cuts. Then, I would relax for a few hours before going out for a proper dinner. I would love for this to be the norm at home."

A glass of iced drink on a table with napkins and small dishes in the background
Monica Iori / Getty Images

17."When I was in Italy visiting Livorno, I noticed that in the evenings, everyone just gathered in the streets. They pulled up chairs and sat together and chatted. Some people brought instruments and played music. It was so amazing. There was just such a strong feeling of community."

Outdoor cafe scene with patrons dining near a historical building at dusk
Gary Yeowell / Getty Images

18."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."

Crowded holiday market with festive lights and a large decorated tree, near a historic tower
Allan Baxter / Getty Images

19."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."

Person holding a sushi roll with visible rice and fillings
Irina Marwan / Getty Images

20."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."

Various Chinese dim sum dishes in steamer baskets and plates on a table
Hongjie Han / Getty Images

21."Japanese onsens. The 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, and I wish it were more popular back home."

Tranquil outdoor hot spring with steam rising, surrounded by rocks and greenery, and wooden buckets by the side
Tororo / Getty Images

What's something you've seen or experienced while traveling abroad that you wish were more common back home? Tell us in the comments or add it to this anonymous form.