30 Luxuries Americans Took For Granted But Missed When Travelling Abroad

Published 2 weeks ago

Many people don’t realize how fortunate they are until they travel and see how others live. Recently, a Redditor asked what luxuries most Americans don’t realize they have, and people from the US shared their thoughts. It’s interesting to learn about the different perspectives, so feel free to read through, and share your own thoughts in the comments!


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#1 As an American who now lives abroad, air conditioning .

Image source: ZeleniChai, varyapigu / Envato

#2 Space. We have so much space. Lived in Japan for 2 years and space is what I missed the most. Bigger cars, houses, trees, cities (more area), businesses, etc… other places mostly seem so cramped. Even bigger cities like Chicago have so much more room comparatively.

Image source: jiu_jitsu_

#3 That at school your child can get free services like speech therapy.

Image source: 1throwawayjustaques, CDC / Pexels

#4 Dryers that actually dry clothes. I’m American but my new apartment has a European style 2 in 1 washer/dryer which i thought was cool at first until I used it and it takes 4 hours for a dry cycle, is soooo loud, and the clothes still come out a little damp. I miss my American sized washer dryer separate units

Image source: sugarface2134, Max Vakhtbovycn / Pexels

#5 Hot water. Grew up off grid, and hot water from the tap meant you had to have the water pump working and you had to have water in the catchment. Plus propane for the water heater, so hot water wasn’t a guaranteed thing. Been living in “real” houses for the last 15 years and everytime I turn on a hot shower I’m still thankful .

Image source: ChipotleLaw

#6 The single family home.

The vast majority of people live in apartments or row houses/townhouses.

Image source: hadapurpura

#7 Windows with screens. When I lived in Geneva, I was in a sixth-floor walk-up flat with no A/C. I was in for a very unfortunate surprise when the weather got warm and I opened the windows only for bugs to swarm in. No screens! How was I supposed to sleep in a hot bedroom and I couldn’t even open my tiny window for some air flow?!

Image source: emmers28, felixwong

#8 Excellent water pressure in showers. When abroad, showers are like a flower watering pot. I like to feel my shower. Make the pressure strong enough to tear my skin off, then back it off like 10%.

Image source: petertmcqueeny

#9 Access to all types of climates and natural wonders in a single country. You like mountains? Go west. Beaches? There are lots of American cities located right by the sea. Like the cold? We’ve got Alaska! Deserts, canyons, waterfalls, geysers, forests? Got you covered all in one country where people speak one language and use one currency.

Image source: HrabiaVulpes

#10 We essentially bathe in drinking water.

Image source: Mr_Lumbergh, Bluewater Sweden / Unsplash

#11 The public education system, like having the ability to go to a school that’s covered by taxes; sure, it’s not perfect, and there’s always issues, but there are many people throughout the world that have never had this sort of opportunity that I think we in wealthier nations often take for granted.

Image source: chibinoi

#12 While it’s true that you will have to drive great distances to get where you want to go, the interstate highway system and the rest areas are a unique feature of the American landscape. In other countries they do not exist, or have been replaced by commercial enterprises. A gas station with a donut shop on the side of the road is not the same as a rest stop.

Image source: SamanthaSass

#13 School facilities. As a rural Canadian, I grew up watching American TV and was always seething with jealousy over American schools. I was especially jealous that Americans could sign up for the school play and meet a teenage heartthrob. We didn’t have school plays, or a theatre in general, or band, or football, or a swimming pool, or art classes.

Image source: Crow_away_cawcaw, RDNE Stock project / Pexels

#14 Garbage collection. When I traveled a little bit, one of the things that struck me most was the amount of garbage in the streets and piled in fields. There is no municipal collection in some parts of the world.

Image source: universalrefuse, Jack Blueberry / Unsplash

#15 In the early 2000s I asked a refugee from Somalia what if she liked it here. She said yes. “What’s your favorite thing?” I said.

“If my house starts on fire I can call 911 and someone will come put it out.”

“Oh. Yeah. That’s awesome.”.

Image source: 1block

#16 Regular street-sweeping. You won’t notice it until you go somewhere without it.

Image source: emoyer68, Adit Prabowo / Pexels

#17 Vegetarian and vegan options.

Image source: smar82, Lina Kivaka / Pexels

#18 People obeying traffic signals. Guy I used to work with who was from an African country I cannot recall(this was 15+ years ago) said one of the most suprising things he saw when he immigrated was that people actually obeyed traffic lights. He said where he came from they were treated more like mild suggestions.

Image source: bigloser42

#19 The ability to use restrooms without charge.

Image source: callipygianvenus, Hafidz Alifuddin / Pexels

#20 Unless you truly live in the middle of nowhere, access to good Mexican food is basically guaranteed.

Image source: brief_interviews

#21 Back yards! Even if it’s small, a patch of land attached to your residence that no one but you has access to is something most people in cities in east, southeast, and South Asia can only dream of.

Image source: Pemulis_DMZ, Marianne / Pexels

#22 Owning a separate car for every driver in a household.

Image source: AllenRBrady, Adrien Olichon / Pexels

#23 Flushing toilet paper in the actual toilet.

Image source: Dr-Mumm-Rah

#24 Clean drinking water. My folks traveled the world quite a bit and said that they were amazed every time they returned to the US that there is (or was, a couple of decades ago) clean water out of almost every tap or water readily available nearby. We don’t realize how incredible and rare this is, and so we take it for granted.

Image source: jeremyjava

#25 Our cheap gas.

Image source: Amiiboid, Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

#26 Great disability access. I can go to any place — theatre, store, office, school, whatever — with confidence that I’ll be able to navigate fine in my wheelchair, and they’ll have ramps and/or elevators.

Image source: 5AgainstRhodeIsland, Jakub Pabis / Unsplash

#27 Controlling the temperature of your home to whatever you want 24/7/365. Most other developed countries are either good at heating or good at AC, but rarely both.

Image source: Joystic, anurag upadhyay / Pexels

#28 Libraries. The American public library system is very advanced. It’s also, general speaking, free to use.

Image source: cashmerecat999, Clay Banks / Unsplash

#29 Drinks with ice ‼️Apparently Europeans don’t like ice. Room temperature drinks don’t quench my thirst.

Image source: salonpasss

#30 Traveling to other countries without an approved visa.

Image source: James_p_hat, nappy / Pexels

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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abroad, American, American norms, luxuries, tourist, travel
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