Do's and Dont's of Drinking When You're Abroad

Maybe it’s your first time leaving the country or maybe you are a regular backpacker. Either way, you are going to come across quite a few differences from your own country, food, cultural norms, different religions, language, but most importantly the drinking age.


It’s like your first semester in college all over again; you have the freedom to do whatever you want in a new public place. At first you approach it fearfully unsure about what to order, how much to drink, the rules of drinking in a bar. But after one or two shots that fear is long gone and it’s like riding a bike.

If you are anything like me when you are trying out something new you have a million and one questions and instead of talking to real people you may resort to Internet advice. Well I am here today collegiettes to lay it all out on the table for you, everything you need to know about drinking “underage” in a foreign country.

What to order: Now there are some standard drinks that you can’t go wrong with such as...

  • Vodka Raspberry/ Vodka Cranberry
  • Jack and Coke
  • Lemon Drop
  • Pitcher of whatever is cheapest on tap
  • Whiskey Sour
  • Gin and Tonic
  • If you are feeling adventurous then try out one of the cocktails on the bars list it’ll put a dent in your wallet but chances are you won’t care.

What not to do:

  • Don’t be that person that gets turned down for being over served, if you are going to pre-drink then don’t plan to drink as heavily throughout the night. No bartender wants to turn you down, but trust me they will.
  • Dancing on elevated surfaces still isn’t cute even in a different country, just don’t do it. 
  • Ordering only shots throughout the night is probably not your best plan; break it up with a cocktail or mixed drink. You’re paying the extra money to go out so might as well have it taste good.

What to do:

  •  Tip! If you are in a country that tips then be sure to do it, and do it early on. Nothing makes a bartender more attentive than if they know you notice good service.
  • Chat up the bartender, everyone has to have that one story where they tell their life story with the bartender and who knows they could turn out to have some wise advice.
  • Before you go out try to figure out what the local lingo is for different sizes of beers. This may seem unimportant but I promise when you mean to order a normal size beer and come back with a pitcher it’s embarrassing.
  • Be nice to the bouncers, they determine your night.  
  • Find out what the local drunchie is and make sure to try it out, you will never regret it. 
  • Meet new friends, whether you go on a pub crawl or are just having dinner at a pub put yourself out there you might meet some amazing people.
  • Dress up, I promise there will always be one person dressed nicer than you so don’t be afraid.
  • Try out new drinks! The best way to do this is to go with friends and each order something different, there is no other way to learn what you like so be adventurous.
  • Lastly make sure to be safe!


So there you have it, whether you are studying abroad this summer or road tripping to Canada these tips should get you started on the right foot!