Thirsty American backpackers claim Europeans ‘don’t believe in water’ in viral TikTok

Traveling to new countries can expose you to many different things, from new people to new cultures and customs to new experiences.

And while you may think that things such as water — which covers 71% of the entire earth — would be a universal experience, even the way people drink water around the world can differ widely.

For instance, TikToker Brenna (@br3nnak3ough) and her friends shared a video about how they took to chugging water whenever they found it in Europe because they learned that “Europeans don’t believe in water.”

While it may not be exactly true that Europeans “don’t believe” in water, it is true that the water habits of Europeans can differ from Americans.

For instance, Europeans typically drink more sparkling water, tend to drink water only with meals and don’t carry water bottles with them on a regular basis.

“I felt like a SOCIOPATH taking my water bottle out of my bag in Paris, but like, I don’t enjoy suffering,” admitted @fraidyghost on another TikTok.

“I was so dehydrated when I went lol, the heat + lack of ac and water/ice had me dying,” commented @hellbaby66_.

What’s up the water difference?

Travel expert Rick Steves’ guide to Europe explains that Europeans are infamous “water connoisseurs,” meaning that they prefer to order and pay for bottled sparkling water with meals for taste, not just to quench their thirst.

“Do you mean like flat water? Because water is basically all we drink round here, but usually sparkling,” commented @wedonttalkaboutjosie on Brenna’s TikTok.

Additionally, unlike in America, free water isn’t automatically given with meals in Europe — nor should you expect it to come to your table cold or with ice if you are able to ask for it. If you simply ask for water in Europe, you will most likely get bottled water sent to your table, along with a bill for it.

If you don’t want sparkling bottled water or the additional fee, Steves notes you have to know how to ask for tap water if you want free water. It’s not common, but they can bring a carafe of tap water to your table.

Hydration habits

Brenna’s video may be representative of a shifting trend in younger generations who drink more water on a daily basis than their older counterparts, especially in the U.S.

Adults aged 20-39 drink the most water every day, averaging 51 ounces per day, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Hydration is so popular with younger generations, in fact, that Rolling Stone admitted experts are “concerned” with Gen Z’s obsession with water.

“I definitely feel better when I drink water. But tell me how my grandma has made it to 80 years old exclusively on diet soda and coffee!!” said @rebofo.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen my mother drink water,” admitted @michellekemperr.

“My mom drinks Diet Coke and coffee, all day. In 25 years, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her drink a full glass of water!!” agreed @simply_keelann.

Accessibility to clean drinking water — thanks to advances in things like fridge filters, reusable water bottles, water flavors and more knowledge about the importance of proper hydration — may be behind younger generations’ move to drinking more water, even if it hasn’t completely caught on with everyone.

All hope is not lost for thirsty travelers, however. Europe is also known for its plentiful free drinking fountains and water refill stations that abound in public. Paris even has free sparkling water fountains if you’re feeling particularly fancy.

“Lollllll not europe having free water taps all over the cities,” noted @catrosin.

Plus, you can get free water at most places if you ask for it — it may be tap water without ice and a smaller portion than you may be used to, but it will still be water.

“You can ask for a cup of water at every bar (even in fast foods) FOR FREE in France, they have to give it to you so…,” said @spiritbold.

And in the end, if you happen to find yourself traveling in Europe and unable to access water, Brenna and her friends came up with a solution that could work for you too:

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