The U.S. does pretty much everything differently than the rest of the world. Why? Who knows… but as an American, this makes things a bit more difficult in order to travel outside of the U.S.
Below is a list I have compiled while traveling to other countries of things I’ve noticed that are different from what I am used to as an American as well as what I think of in order to help me in the situation.
|What the U.S. Uses:||Most Likely For:||The Rest of the World Uses:||Specific Conversion:
[click link to convert]
||Gasoline/ Petrol||Liters||10l=2.6gal||2 liter soda bottles|
||Distance||Kilometers||10K=6.2M||A 5K race is about 3 miles|
|Miles per Hour||Speed||Kilometers per hour||10KPH=
|100KPH is average driving speed which is about 60MPH|
|Feet||Height/ Distance||Meters||1m=3.28ft||1 meter is about 3 feet.|
|* For long distances, try to think of an American football field… 1 yard is almost exactly 1 meter… so if someone says “it’s about 200 meters down the street,” you’re going to walk a bout 2 football fields.|
|Inch||Measurement||Centimeters||10cm=3.94in||1cm is about the size of your pinky nail|
|Pounds||Weight||Kilograms||1kg=2.2lbs||Kilograms are almost half the weight of pounds.|
|AM/PM||Time||24 Hour||X||Any time after noon, subtract 12|
|Fahrenheit||Temperature||Celsius||C°=(F°-32)(5/9)||0°C is freezing and 20°C is room temperature|
|Bathroom||X||“WC” or “Toilet”||“WC” stands for “Water Closet” which is most commonly used inEurope. InAsia, “Toilet” is the most simple and, therefore, the most commonly used.|
|* Even though I thought asking for a “toilet” sounded a bit crude, it’s the only way to communicate. If you ask for a “bathroom,” you will get a strange look – why would you want to take a bath in the middle of your meal in a public restaurant?.|
|120 volts||On all electronics||240 volts||There should be a tiny little button somewhere on your electronics to switch from 120V to 240V while traveling; be sure to do this or else it will fry!|
|“Locked” Cell Phone||X||Sim Card Cell Phones||Every other country in the world uses a sim-card inside the cell phone which can be switched out depending on the country you’re currently in.|
|* An unlocked sim-card cell phone from any country can easily be turned into a local cell phone of any other country… EXCEPT for theU.S.!* When traveling, buy a cheap cell phone [make sure it is UNLOCKED! Maybe US$40] and each country you go to, buy a sim-card for that country [US$1-US$20, depending on the country]… This way, you’ll always have a local cell-phone-number [cheaper for calling] for just a few dollars!.|
|“American” Coffee||to drink||Coffee made from espresso beans||The weakest cup of coffee in the world would be the best cup of coffee in the continentalU.S.|
|* While traveling abroad, I kept asking for “iced coffee made from espresso… not just cold coffee” and I kept getting REALLY strange looks and people telling me that they didn’t understand what I was saying… When in theU.S., I have to specify the difference between regular coffee and espresso-based coffee in order to get the strong taste… Overseas, there is no option – coffee is ONLY espresso-based and people don’t understand why there would be weaker coffee. I love this!|
*The ONE advantage about being an American , perhaps, is that English is the mother tongue – EVERYWHERE in the world, really, English is the unofficial travel language.