Home Away From Home

One thing I have learned about travel – it is actually pretty hard to get away from home. What? You may ask. It seems to me wherever you go you seem to find the same restaurants, the same fast food places and the same hotels and motels.

If I remember correctly, the first place we actually ate when we got to China was a McDonalds. Please understand, we had a teenager with us. I did try a dish that was vaguely Chinese, though I have never seen it before or since.

The first American fast food chain to reach China was KFC. They appeared on the scene in 1987. As of 2013 there are about 4200 KFCs in China. The second chain to reach China was McDonalds. KFC and McDonalds are still the top two fast food franchises in China.

Holiday Inn Sarajevo by Damien Smith via widimedia commons

Pizza Hut came to China about the same time as McDonalds. Interestingly, Pizza Hut is considered upscale. Even Papa Johns has made its way into China.

KFC, McDonalds and Burger King are the top three fast food chains in Europe. You will also find Domino’s and Starbucks in abundance.

Rick Steves has this to say

We usually talk about food, and the conversation sometimes shifts to what I eat back home. It can come as a surprise, but Europeans don’t always have a dim view of American cooking. After all, McDonald’s is the number one fast-food chain in Europe — the one on the Champs-Elysées is the most profitable in the world.

Do you want to travel the world but still feel at home? Your choices for hotel chains are going to feel very familiar. Among the top worldwide hotel chains you will find Radisson, Westin, Sheraton, Wyndham, Marriot, Hilton and of course Holiday Inn.

Planning on going shopping? You will feel pretty comfortable at a local Wal-Mart in many places worldwide. If you travel to Canada or Mexico, you should not be surprised to find a Home Depot. You might be surprised when you see that Aldi when you get to Europe, but don’t be since that is where it started. Same goes for IKEA. If you shop at IKEA, you are probably already aware of its origins.

Italy Chrysler Jeep by Pavavia via wikimedia commons

Going out for a drive? You are going to recognize a lot of the automobiles on the road. Ford, General Motors and Chrysler all have a presence worldwide. Of course, the United States has many foreign makes on our highways, so you will be seeing a lot of those makes when you travel.

The object of travel is to broaden your horizons. If you travel with the aim to experience the country you visit you will be able to enjoy many things that you just can’t find at home. But if you are getting just a little homesick just look around a little bit and you are sure to find a touch of home close by.



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