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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 keep reading to find conversations with travel experts Alyse of The Invisible Tourist and King Siu of Travel, Eat, Drink!

#1

"Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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.

AmIDoingThisRight14 , Rajarshi MITRA/Flickr (not the actual photo) Report

To learn more about this topic from a travel expert, we reached out to Alyse of The Invisible Tourist. Alyse was kind enough to share her thoughts on things she's come across around the world that she wishes her home country of Australia had.

First, the traveler mentioned Japanese toilets. "If you know, you know! Having the luxury of a heated seat in the cold months, the 'privacy' music option in public toilets to mask less desirable sounds, the famous bidet, automatic flush and lid lift... Doing one's business has never felt as luxurious as it does in Japan," Alyse explained.

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    #2

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries Protected bike lanes. And effective public transit.

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    kirstin-peter avatar
    Shark Lady
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    When I visited Germany the pavements were split wirh a line down the middle, with bikes one side and pedestrians the other. It was a great system and kept everyone safe.

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    #3

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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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    pethmantonya avatar
    flower petals
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    The vast differences in the cost of health care between the US and all other developed countries are infuriating as well as sad. Americans deserve so much better! ❤️🇺🇸

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    We were also curious if Alyse expects to find any of these fancy toilets in Australia any time soon. "Toilets with bidets are certainly hard to come by in Australia," she noted. "You can purchase an expensive Japanese-style lid as an add-on to your current home toilet, but the downside is it requires a power point nearby to function."

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    "Our home bathrooms and public toilets haven't been built with this requirement in mind," she explained. "The result is power extension cables stretching across our bathrooms (as the case with one of my friends recently!) or bathroom renovations. Hopefully with more and more fellow Australians visiting Japan each year, they will embrace this cultural toilet difference, and soon it won't seem weird to install power points beside toilets."

    #4

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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.

    -lover-of-books- , Mark Fowler/Flickr (not the actual photo) Report

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    axlef avatar
    axle f
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    ...we *had* that here before we sold that out to auto and petroleum company $$$ influence in the early 20th century. Facts

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    #5

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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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    #6

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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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    aileengrist avatar
    Aileen Grist
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    We went to a cafe in Leicester, England that had one of those. You could press a button to order food or just a drink, or the bill

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    On the other hand, we wanted to know if there's anything Australia does well that Alyse might miss if she were to permanently move abroad. "I do think Australia does really well with our road markings and traffic signage," she told Bored Panda.

    "Within our massive country with no high-speed rail, driving long distances interstate is very common so good signage is important. Highway exit signage is large and clearly marked, double white lines down the centre of more rural roads to warn not to pass, ample overtaking lanes," she explained.

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    "In contrast, when driving in other countries, I found some intersections to be confusing at times, as the traffic lights are placed after the intersection instead of before it. Or, highway exits aren't clear and it's easy to miss the turnoff, and other kinds of warning signs we have in Australia to aid driving aren't found abroad," Alyse noted.

    #7

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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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    lmm-kuiper avatar
    Sanne
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Does this person think only the US is 'the West'? Because Europe is 'the West' as well and we hug, hold hands, kiss on the cheek and touch each other without it being sexual, too. Especially in southern European countries.

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    #8

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries A boulongerie or patisserie every few blocks so I can have fresh baguettes or pain au chocolate.

    glacialerratical , France Bon Appétit/Flickr (not the actual photo) Report

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    #9

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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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    suuspuusje avatar
    Susie Elle
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Yes and no, because it stems not only from respect but also from fear of what other people think of you or how society perceives you.

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    "Separately, when abroad, I do really miss the diversity of cuisine we have in Australia, especially in our capital cities," Alyse says. "Most people think of Aussie food as sausage rolls and meat pies, but we have cuisines from every corner of the Earth."

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    "Cravings for Indian, Greek, Vietnamese, South African, Turkish, Japanese, Nepalese, Brazilian and everything in between can easily be satisfied. In some countries, the option is the local cuisine without many alternatives, which is fine of course! But if traveling for an extended time or living abroad, it's nice to mix things up once in a while," she explained.

    If you'd like to learn more about Alyse's travels, be sure to visit The Invisible Tourist or check out her book How to Not Look Like a Tourist!

    #10

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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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    #11

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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 s**t I needed decades ago. It is a solved problem

    terminal_e , Wendy Wei/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

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    #12

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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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    quentariel avatar
    quentariel
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    These are everywhere in Finland too. We pay that 0,15€ to 0,30€ extra when we buy bottled drinks (it's already included in the price so no calculating) and we get that "deposit" back when we return the bottles. If you don't return bottles very often, there's a nice little pile of extra money when you do. And after some festival or market there is usually some bottles left in the vicinity, but people collect and return them for free money, so it's basically fool-proof cleaning method too.

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    We were also lucky enough to get in touch with Canadian globetrotter King Siu of Travel, Eat, Drink to hear his thoughts on this topic. As far as things he's been a bit envious of when traveling abroad, King shared, "The public transit system in most countries is better than what we'd find in Canada. While in the major cities, like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, you'll find decent systems, it doesn't compare to major cities like NYC, London, Paris, or Hong Kong. And if you look at the inter-city train systems, especially when it comes to high-speed rail, we really don't do well there."

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    "Protected bike lanes are something that I've seen in many other countries that we are only starting to do in Canada," the traveler added. "There are so many benefits to getting more people on bikes and out of cars, but many like myself are hesitant because of the safety concerns of riding in open traffic."

    #13

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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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    Kate Koppen
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Oh yes! The spice and veggie and fruit shops and the ché vendors in Vietnam ! Although I am more skeptical about the open meat vendors on hot days >.> And the street kitchens in China! So comfortable. I also want a mobile kitchen to stop by in the evening and I just have to point and stuff and have a cheap, varied, healthy meal. Although I needed to learn how to do it. I know one of the first evenings in Shanghai I just wanted to try out stuff and I must have chosen a _horrible_ combination in views of the vendor because he put like.... three to four bushels (!) of cilantro on it. I love cilantro, didn't object XD

    #15

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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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    cerinamroth
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Yes, my husband gets travel sick easily and he really appreciated the smooth Shinkansen with its forward-facing seats in Japan!

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    King has also noticed that, in some countries, residents are able to pick up alcohol from corner stores. "In Canada, until recently, alcohol could only be purchased in special government stores, so it was not nearly as convenient," he explained. "They have since expanded the sale of wine and beer to selected grocery stores, but one definitely has to plan in advance. I know this isn't really an important one, and we should all probably drink less, but it is definitely a convenience I enjoy when I'm abroad."

    "I found that most places do a much better job of preserving the history of their cities, and I'm speaking mainly about buildings/architecture," he added. "In Canada, we've mainly just knocked down old buildings and put up new glass boxes. This might be a hot take, but while I love my hometown of Toronto, architecturally it's not an attractive city when compared to other major cities of the world - unless you're a fan of glass boxes."

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    #16

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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.

    FormicaDinette33 , Fineas Anton/Pexels (not the actual photo) Report

    #17

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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.

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    boredpanda_83 avatar
    Mia Hamsa
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Garbage disposal units (like insinkerators) are very useful for the odd food waste that you wash off.. People though tend to put all the food garbage into them and it is a massive problem for sewer systems and the environment. Installation of new ones have been banned in a lot of Canadian cities. I love them too, but I don't use mine unless there is debris from the plate we just ate and need a quick wipe before putting into dishwasher. Larger sinks, agreed.. don't what it is with tiny sinks over 60cm or go home.

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    Great urban green spaces are another thing King appreciates when traveling abroad. "While we have them, I don't feel they are often spaces that really draw people in and keep them there," he noted. "NYC and London are top of mind for having great park spaces of all sizes throughout the city that are destinations."

    "In Canada, we tend to just add some grass, trees, and maybe just throw in a playground," the traveler says. "And while that's better than nothing, the equivalent in NYC or London would likely also include a cafe or a restaurant to make the space more inviting and functional, not to mention that the lease for that business likely provides funding to help improve and maintain that park space."

    #19

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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.

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    pethmantonya avatar
    flower petals
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    This is common in many European countries as well, as well as in many other countries around the world.

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    #20

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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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    David
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    The hotel I stayed at in Korea for my layover had one inside the building (also had an outside entrance). As described above it had a variety of things. But another cool feature is you could use it even when it was "closed". Daytime it had a human employee. But after hours you could gain entry with your credit card, then scan your own items and pay with credit card.

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    #21

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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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    Jack Burton
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Definitely some 3 euros wine could be great if you know wich if them chose.

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    We also asked King if he expects these things to become more prevalent in Canada. "The transit and bike lane situation is slowly getting better, and I do feel it will get there eventually, but it will take many decades," he told Bored Panda. "Besides the enormous costs, attitudes around car use need to change. The younger generations are definitely more accepting of using public transit and even not owning a car, so once they become the decision makers I think we will see more progress there."

    "As much as it's important to me, I don't think alcohol purchasing is high enough on the radar for politicians just yet to become a priority," he added with a laugh. "There has been a more strategic effort in Canada to preserve our historical buildings, so going forward, I'm hopeful that our cities can retain more architectural personality."

    "I feel that most of the things I spoke of earlier are generational issues that will slowly resolve themselves as the younger generations become more influential," King explained. "We're more accepting of change and in a world where it's not crazy to not own a car and instead use public transit and car share services like Uber."

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    #22

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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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    Cee Cee
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Be careful what you wish for. We have them here in Bristol, they are a nightmare. Tacky wooden sheds crammed together selling useless tat plus naf food stalls and glüwein sellers. Open plan displays of hideously coloured sweets handled by assorted kids. Yup you guessed it I am not a fan.

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    #23

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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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    Szzone
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Finnish and Estonian were my favorite. If you csn, try traditional Eatonian suitsusaun. It's a separate little shack that you have in the yard if you have a cabin in the woods.

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    #24

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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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    David
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    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    A traditional Japanese in I stayed in had an onsen. Fed by a hot spring, it was indoors but done in a natural rock style. It was really relaxing. I don't know that it was particularly more relaxing than my own hot tub but my house is secluded. So I can sit in my hot tub and stare at the stars, listen to nature etc.

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    But of course, there are plenty of things that Canada does well too, so we asked King to share some of his favorites. "I do like the conveniences of having things open later, and in some cases 24/7," he noted. "Not having to worry if my tap water is clean. I really miss air conditioning sometimes when I'm away, as it's pretty standard everywhere in Canada."

    "I appreciate free public restrooms in Canada, which isn't always the case abroad," King continued. "I love coffee, and in particular brewed coffee. This is a bit trickier to find outside of North America as espressos are usually the norm. So, it's comforting to know that any cafe I go into in Canada will have brewed coffee."

    #25

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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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    Thomas Hunt, Jr.
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    You can get small bags of candy. They're everywhere. No idea where you've been shopping.

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    #26

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries In Vietnam, the traffic lights count down the seconds until the light is going to change.

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    szaszi-uto-zoltan avatar
    Szzone
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Seen that in various places in Europe too, very practical.

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    "Universal healthcare is something I took for granted growing up in Canada. It's not perfect, but it's nice to not worry about going bankrupt if I get sick," King added. "Courteous drivers are something I miss when I'm driving outside of Canada, and it always takes me a minute to adjust from polite Canadian driver to less polite Canadian driver in order to survive the local driving customs."

    King also loves the good natured rivalry at sporting events you'll find in Canada. "You can go to an opposing team's arena/stadium and cheer for your team without fear of death," he noted. "There may be some trash talking, but it's generally done in good fun. This isn't really the case in many places, especially when dealing with soccer/football matches abroad."

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    #27

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries Bidets. Wiping with dry paper is caveman style.

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    tabbygirl04152020 avatar
    Tabitha
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Thing is, you still need the paper to dry yourself off anyway. While I can see that the clean water would help you clean up better, it’s not necessarily going to do a complete job (it’s not a power washer set on high, and some people have digestive issues if you know what I mean) so you probably still need to scrub somewhat, and you do need to dry off when done.

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    #28

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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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    Finally, King added, "I know most of what I said is really just an inconvenience, and that there are more important issues in the world. But, of the ones that can make a difference to helping people live happier, healthier, and more balanced lives, let's try to make them happen!"

    If you'd like to follow King's adventures and keep up with his travels around the world, be sure to check out his YouTube channel Travel, Eat, Drink!

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    #29

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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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    #30

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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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    Cee Cee
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    My city (Bristol) shut most of its public loos a while ago and asked businesses to sign up and offer access to their facilities. Trouble is you need the Internet to find out where you can go. Surprisingly wild weeing is on the increase.

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    #31

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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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    szaszi-uto-zoltan avatar
    Szzone
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    That social dinner has been a thing in the Mediterranean since at least antiquity.

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    #32

    "Tilt-And-Turn Windows": 32 Things Travelers Were Impressed By In Other Countries 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.

    Yei_2021 , Andy Rogers/Flickr (not the actual photo) Report

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    tabbygirl04152020 avatar
    Tabitha
    Community Member
    3 weeks ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Yeah, but here’s a huge caveat: Wet markets tend to be relatively loosely regulated and can be very unhygienic, and have been the ground zero for several diseases that pass from animals to humans, including the recent pandemic. Keeping them well-regulated, well-monitored, and strictly hygienic might be a solution, otherwise they should become a thing of the past.

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