Cultural Musings, For Foreigners, Travel

5 reasons why traveling in Europe is better than in America

I have a confession to make. I’ve been to more European countries than States. That kinda makes me feel like a bad American but I think it’s a proximity thing. You know, like when you live near something cool, the chances of going are often smaller than if you’re visiting a place for the first time. For instance, I’d never been to Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral until last year when my boyfriend urged me to take him there. And it’s 40 minutes away from my house in Orlando.

Here’s some reasons why traveling in Europe is the best:

1. Proximity to other countries

This year alone we’ve traveled to Italy, France, Germany, Austria (3 times), and Croatia. France was 16 hours by car and Croatia was 10, so, ok, not that close. However, these are all different countries! It’s worth the drive if you get to eat their yummy food.

2. Old cities

Sometimes people see pictures of where I live and their reaction is funny. “Oh, you live in a city?” Yeah and it’s 750 years old. There’s a church here, still standing, from the 13th century. The only thing that old in America? dirt.

Belvedere in Vienna / Annecy, France

3. Public Transport/Cheap Air Fare

Typically it works like this. Fly to the airport, take a train or a bus to the center, get off the bus and onto a tram which takes you directly to where you’re going. Don’t get me wrong, America is spread out and gas is cheap, so I understand why we don’t have good public transport. At least they’re trying in Florida with the light rail system. That’s progress!

About air fare, this February we flew roundtrip to Bologna with RyanAir for 200 zl, that’s a little more $50. That’s peanuts for air travel. Having cheap airlines like WizzAir and RyanAir is a freaking godsend.


Pendolino, Polish high speed train / On the way to the Dortmund Weihnachtsmarkt

4. The chance to practice a foreign language, but knowing you can speak English anywhere

People always look down on Americans for not speaking other languages but I think the reason is we just don’t have the pressure to do so. Living in Europe, you are exposed to other languages all the time. When you travel, you feel like an ethnocentric jerk if you don’t speak at least a few words of the local lingo, which for me is super motivating.

5. Castles!

I love visiting random castles, like Moszna Castle, the one at the beginning of the post. For Americans, only in fairy tales. For us, a short drive away!

So if you’re on the fence about visiting Europe, take a flight across the pond. I’m always delighted to show friends around Poland!

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  • Reply Christina 1 October 2015 at 17:35

    “Austria (3 times)” … I’m so jealous.

    • Reply Leah Southers 12 October 2015 at 20:27

      Austria is my happy place.

  • Reply Diva 1 November 2015 at 03:25

    YES YES YES!! since I’ve moved to Poland from America, I mostly spend my free time traveling too!! Austria I adore but Croatia has my heart. A country so beautiful and magical, and very underrated. My philosophy is to travel now while I’m studying here and see all of Europe that I can! ? I feel you on this one! ??

  • Reply Deepshikha M 2 December 2015 at 17:41

    Nice article and good pictures..

  • Reply Gość 16 December 2015 at 20:26

    Didn’t you mean Scrotum Castle? 😀

    • Reply Leah Southers 16 December 2015 at 20:46

      lol exactly!

  • Reply 妮卡 Veronica 1 February 2016 at 03:26

    I exactly know what you are talking about! I’m Polish but last year I moved to Shanghai where I found a job (and a boyfriend :D). From China, same as from Poland, I can see so many different countries and it’s really cheap. I already went to Malaysia this year and I’m planning to go to South Korea soon! I also love Chinese railways because high speed trains connect most of the big cities (1300km from Beijing to Shanghai in just 5 hours!) but I agree that Poland made really big improvement in the past few years especially by buying Pendolino 😉

    • Reply Leah Southers 2 February 2016 at 07:11

      Veronica – wow you went East. that must be fascinating. High-speed trains must be a nice change 🙂 I’m so jealous you get to travel around there. that’s my dream!

  • Reply Madame Bonheur 8 August 2016 at 00:55

    I live near Annecy. It’s a beatiful city !

  • Reply stephen earl 22 November 2020 at 18:18

    I know this is an old post but here is my view. Go to Barcelona in Spain, best city in Europe. One of the prettiest cities is Porto in Portugal and while you are there go to Lisbon, you will love both places. Porto is where Port comes from and you need to do a tour of the wine cellars alongside the river, Porto is fabulous ! Spectacular views also!

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