I have an American auntie. When she came home to New Zealand to visit us when I was a child, I remember her asking my Mum to take us all out to “the best breakfast buffet in town.”
Off we went, to the fanciest hotel in town.
I distinctly remember my auntie saying “this is what you’d get at a 3* hotel in the US.” I think she was just commenting rather than thinking she would offend us, but she did offend us, as evidenced by my remembering this incident 20+ years later.
Fast forward to now and last week, we experienced buffet breakfast at a 3* Airport Holiday Inn. It was in fact a very similar! There was masses of food that couldn’t possibly have gotten eaten, and unlimited amounts of all sorts of things, like 5 different options to sweeten your coffee with.
Fast forward to getting to Mexico and here we are dealing with things like moldy pillows, stained towels, sheets with holes in them, and busted light bulbs.
These are all the sorts of things I’m used to dealing with when traveling. However this time – after spending the last 6 months in the US – I’ve noticed I’ve got a bit of a snotty “Things are better in America” attitude. I’m like “where are my 8 giant pillows for my bed?” “Isn’t it annoying you can’t buy such and such here.”
What’s my point?
What’s my point? Just that I’ve come to understand that it’s a bigger thing for American travelers to get used to different standards than it is coming from other countries like New Zealand where the service level is lower, everything is a bit less standardized and expectations are different. It makes me understand how my American nomadic friends have made a big leap from typical American culture and expectations. I can understand better why international travel feels like it’s so far out of the comfort zone for many Americans.