It can be intimidating to travel overseas, but there are a lot of great things that other countries have that you can’t experience from home! From superior health care to flight compensation laws, no GMOs, free wifi everywhere (shout out to Estonia), to some basic ‘rights of nature’ that make the water cleaner (and the air too!), there might be a few pleasant surprises in your travels that will lessen your stress.
Health care in other first world countries can be a little bit better (or at least cheaper) than what you are getting at home. You should still wrap it, but if you are a first world traveler wanting to ‘get to know the locals’, there less of a chance of something red and itchy coming your way, which is pretty awesome. Plus, knowing that if you break both of your legs, you’ll still have access to affordable health care can be an enormous relief. With single payer health care: broken bones, STD worries, diabetes treatment which is a real concern for the almost 1 in 10 Americans with the disease– all change from catastrophes to very manageable issues. More manageable than back home in some cases.
In America, when your flight gets delayed until the next day, or you get trapped in an airport for a long period of time, it can feel like you’re stuck, or like it might be time to start laying down your plan of attack -get hotel room, find food, call family, re-arrange the rest of the trip. Luckily, if you’re traveling in the European Union, there are flight delay compensation rules for what you are entitled to if your flight gets delayed for a certain amount of time, what classifies as a delay, and how to file for those benefits. Flight insurance is a great thing to get when traveling, but the fact that a flight delayed until the next day won’t put you out a hotel room and food is very comforting.
It’s great for inexperienced travelers who assume that when they purchase a plane ticket they are paying money for the airline to take them from point A to point B at a certain time. But that isn’t true, if you read the fine print, the airline (at least domestically) can change the times and dates around without returning or giving you your money back.
No Chem-ed Food and Makeup
There are different methods of approving things for the market in the US vs. the EU. The US uses proof-of-harm methods, meaning that in order for a food additive or makeup product to be banned, it must be proved that it causes harm. The EU uses precautionary principle, meaning that if it is suspected of causing harm (but not certain) the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls to the those taking the potentially harmful action.
That means that there are 10 banned makeup additions in the U.S. and 1,372 in the E.U., it means MSG is banned, some artificial sweeteners, GMOs, Bovine Growth Hormone (in the meat), and a whole slew of other things. MSG isn’t that terrible for you, but as a ‘super-salt’ cutting it out of your diet while you’re on vacation means dropping a few pounds of water weight, and eating (and drinking) Bovine Growth Hormone could maybe cause cancer and some crazy insulin activity. So, eating like you’re on vacation may not have as many consequences as you think and if you lose some weight, it could even counteract some of that vein damage you got on the plane there.
There’s a lot of questionable additives in American food. Most of it makes no significant health difference but has some potential to cause cancer. One nice part about traveling to countries with stricter food regulations is not having to worry about eating Red Dye #5 or swallowing too much formaldehyde.
When traveling unless you have T-Mobile-you probably don’t have the best service when traveling. If you’re a really lucky traveler and want to see some out of the way not touristy stuff, Estonia is wired. The whole country. Even if you’re not going to Estonia, the speed of wifi around the globe can astound you. From the super fast streaming in South Korea (twice as fast as the U.S., soon to be 79X faster) to Japan trying to outpace Google Fiber, depending on where you go, you might be able to do more, faster.
Water Could be Extra Drinkable
Of course, it totally depends on where you go (clean water is still an issue in a variety of places), but there are a lot of places with much better tap water. Plus, you might be from a place in the U.S. either without clean water, or where the water isn’t properly tested. Luckily, when you visit other countries, it is pretty homogenous about whether or not you can drink the water. Iceland, drink away. Mexico, no-way-jose.
Traveling is rough. Traveling can be crazy. But it can be a little easier if you go somewhere that leaves one of your home stressors at home. There might be, better health care, less of a chance of getting an STD, better water, better food, faster wifi, or just more care around your travel experience. Take the down out of travel, and look at what you won’t have to worry about when going abroad.
About the Author
Mary Grace is a freelance writer based out of the beautiful Boise, Idaho. She loves hiking skiing, and all things travel and adventure. Comment down below or tweet her directly @marmygrace with any questions or suggestions.