Whenever you travel somewhere new, there are invariably a bunch of local customs or behaviors that you encounter that are completely opposite to those back home. I try to keep a mental list in my head such that I can try to seem less out of place when I return to a location a second time. Here’s a partial list of things that I’ve encountered on my travels that are different in various locations:

  • In the United States, soft drinks are called “Soda”, not “Pop”. Most people will either giggle when you say the latter, or not know what it means
  • In Oregon, all gas stations are full service. You’ll get in crap if you try to fill up your own car
  • In San Francisco, you need a ZIP code to fill up with gas. If you don’t have one, the machine won’t work. I suspect 90210 is pretty popular, even up there
  • In Japan it’s generally rude to fill up your own drink when it’s empty. Typically if you notice someone’s beer is about to run out, you grab the communal bottle and fill it for them
  • In Montreal most convenience stores carry beer and wine, and are open 24 hours
  • In Massachusetts it’s illegal to sell alcohol on Sundays. So if you’re there for a weekend, stock up early. Strangely enough they still sell beers at Fenway on Sundays

I’ll try to think up some more. If you have any, feel free to drop a comment and I’ll add it to the list.