By Lindsey Galloway
From mineral water to water slides, things that are free in some countries often cost in others, sometimes much to the surprise of travellers venturing out of their homeland.
To find out what bargains can be had abroad, we looked to question-and-answer community Quora.com to ask, “What are some things free in your country that you have to buy when visiting other countries?” The answers not only revealed good deals, but a fascinating insight into the local culture.
Northern India and Pakistan
Pretty much every grocery shop in this part of the world offers a free and generous side of fresh coriander and green chillies, common local ingredients in curries and chutneys.
“In most of northern India… dhaniya-mirch (coriander and chillies) is synonymous with groceries,” said Khusrau Gurganvi from Varanasi. So much so that he explained that “Kal dhaniya-mirch lana hai” translates into “I need to buy groceries tomorrow.”
An anonymous answerer echoed the perk within Pakistan. “Whenever you go to buy vegetables, the shopkeeper will give you a handful of free coriander and green chilli,” the person said. “If they don’t, then all you have to do is ask.”
Not every free thing mentioned was a physical object. It seems that in India, people enjoy an unlimited supply of advice.
“In other countries, there are wedding planners. Here, we have aunts, uncles, uncle’s uncles to give us advice for free,” saidMehul Manot from Calcutta. “In other countries, there are counsellors. Here, we have the ever-poking neighbours: ‘You shouldn’t take up Arts, it’s for girls. Do engineering, you’ll earn lakhs per month.'”
He added that travel agents are replaced by jet-setting cousins, and trendy friends step in for fashion consultants.
Advice doesn’t always have to come from just friends and family, either.