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Old 03-09-2012, 01:03 PM
 
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Why don't Europeans get a clue?
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Old 03-09-2012, 07:06 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eiserneBerlin View Post
I'm a German who has been living in the U.S. for the past year and a half, and I've met so many people here who have never been outside of the U.S. I researched the topic a bit, and only about 30% of Americans actually hold a passport. Why are so many Americans not interested in overseas travel? Back in Europe, travel is a big part of the lifestyle and is a very high priority for most. I understand how vast and diverse the U.S. is and that there are a lot of cultural differences from region to region, but it still doesn't have the same effect on personal growth and cultural awareness that travel abroad has. Americans on average are no more or no less well off than the average European, so I don't think it is necessarily a money issue. In fact, quite a few Americans I met who don't travel own quite nice homes and expensive cars. Obviously the U.S. isn't as close to other countries as European countries are, but Aussies, Kiwis, and Canadians are even more isolated yet they tend to travel more.

A lot of Europeans perceive Americans to be culturally ignorant because of their lack of travel and feel that Americans have no interest in learning about anyone but themselves. After living here, I do think Americans in general are a bit more culturally ignorant than Europeans due to a lack of cultural immersion. By this, I don't mean to say that Americans are close-minded, but that they just don't know much about the outside world. I actually find Americans to be extremely open-minded towards foreigners in the U.S. and they tend to ask a lot of questions to learn more about others which is truly wonderful. To be honest, Americans are actually much less xenophobic towards visitors and immigrants than Europeans are. I've noticed this in all parts of the U.S. that I've visited, so clearly Americans do have an interest in learning about foreign cultures which makes it even harder to understand why travel is not a priority.

The Americans I've seen post on this forum tend to be well-traveled individuals, so I'd like hear your opinions on why you think many of your fellow countrymen tend to not be interested in overseas travel.

By the way, I'm not trying to be disrespectful towards Americans in any way. I really like Americans and in many ways they remind me of people back home in Germany. I also really enjoy life in the beautiful Bay Area and have really loved exploring your wonderful country so far.
1. Lack of time. In the U.S., time is money. We do not have mandated, paid vacation time like you do, and many Americans - even those with no vacation - would be opposed to such a law on principle. Rather, employers offer it as a perk to attract employees. Ten days (2 weeks) is viewed as the standard number of vacation days after some years with a single company. However, some jobs, particularly a decreasing number of unionized jobs and any military job, have far more vacation time.

Travel while young is limited, at least for the middle-class and under, by the need (or perceived) to always hold down a job. I would think that a German 20-year-old has a lot fewer obligations than an American 20-year-old; most of their American counterparts have expensive college tuition (followed by expensive student loans once they complete their education), a car payment, car insurance, etc. and must hold down a job to pay these bills. However, studying abroad for a semester or so is quite common.

2. Lack of money. Those nice houses and nice cars cost money. Although Americans, on average, take home a fair amount more than the average Germans does, their "lifestyle expectations" partly counteract the income difference.

Travel abroad to most destinations is much more costly from the U.S. than from Germany. Cheap flights to foreign destinations (other than Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada) are virtually unheard of here, especially today with rising oil prices. Americans also may have higher expectations when arrived at their destination. They may demand a taxi rather than take public transportation; they may demand more amenities from their hotel; etc., etc.

3. Lack of interest. Though many Americans are curious about other cultures, others take a more indifferent or negative stance. And I wouldn't say "those" Americans are more interested in "learning about themselves" than Americans curious about the rest of the world - rather, they aren't "curious" about anything cultural whatsoever. I wonder if Germans (among other groups) aren't the same way. Just because you have to leave your country to have a "beach holiday" to Greece or Spain does not necessarily make you more culturally enlightened, especially when you pass the vacation, intoxicated, on the beach.
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:20 PM
 
Location: plano
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Ive been outside the US so maybe you missed asking me since I was out of the country. Nice places to visit but its always great to be home where ever that is.....Texas today.

I enjoyed most places Ive been outside the USA but had no urge to live there. Worst part of europe to me is the high unemployment rates of their young people. I am not a fan of Paris other than to see ii which I have, other parts of France were friendlier and more interesting but I am not a CBD van as most on CD seem to be.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:42 PM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
17,250 posts, read 19,550,442 times
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I travel overseas fairly frequently. I try to go to a place I've never been at least once a year. It's part of my lifestyle and interests, and I highly recommend it for anyone.

I really don't understand why more Americans don't travel overseas. Perhaps, its because of a lack of interest or imagination, or perhaps it's because they feel intimidated.

In any case, if you can afford to buy a car or a house, then you can afford traveling overseas. It's as simple as that. You just have to get out there and do it.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:47 PM
 
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Yeah, I would say MOST Americans choose to vacation within the United States, which is fine. I was once this way. Then I discovered Europe.

I go to Europe every other summer.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Toronto
3,338 posts, read 5,794,735 times
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Who is usually being compared to the US when it comes to overseas travel?

Is it Europeans, British, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, or other generally developed countries (lots of developing, poverty-stricken or politically troubled countries don't do much traveling and if they do it might be involuntary, if lack of money is the reason, then lots of non-Americans would also lack the finances, since few countries are richer than the US!).

I'd be curious to see some statistics to see if it's justified (the idea that Americans travel less compared to many countries' citizens).
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Center City
6,855 posts, read 7,804,484 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumbler. View Post
I'd be curious to see some statistics to see if it's justified (the idea that Americans travel less compared to many countries' citizens).

http://www.enduringwanderlust.com/wp...most-chart.png

39 Countries That Take More Vacation Than The U.S. (PHOTOS)
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:22 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,087 posts, read 54,581,442 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
I travel overseas fairly frequently. I try to go to a place I've never been at least once a year. It's part of my lifestyle and interests, and I highly recommend it for anyone.

I really don't understand why more Americans don't travel overseas. Perhaps, its because of a lack of interest or imagination, or perhaps it's because they feel intimidated.

In any case, if you can afford to buy a car or a house, then you can afford traveling overseas. It's as simple as that. You just have to get out there and do it.
I have a car and a condo. I can't afford to go anywhere. I last took a vacation where I flew someplace (Las Vegas) in 2009, and that's only because my friends had extra space in their suite at the Venetian and asked me to join them.

I have a kid in college, and that's where my "Europe money" goes. I do hope that I can scrape something together for a trip for the two of us when she graduates. I would like to go to England. Not just London, but other parts, since I am a medieval history lover.

At least my daughter has traveled--she just spent four months in China, studying, and took side trips to other provinces while she was there.

I would also like to go to the Netherlands, since that's where most of my ancestors came from. (The rest came from Manchester, England.)
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Old 03-11-2012, 08:47 PM
 
801 posts, read 395,632 times
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Quote:
I really don't understand why more Americans don't travel overseas. Perhaps, its because of a lack of interest or imagination, or perhaps it's because they feel intimidated.

In any case, if you can afford to buy a car or a house, then you can afford traveling overseas. It's as simple as that. You just have to get out there and do it.
I'm extremely interested in geography and exploring other places in the rest of the world but I've never once been overseas. It really is ALL about money, money and a lack of time due to having to keep working to pay the bills. For me a road trip 4 states away is fairly "exotic" and a huge treat. I can speak for a lot of Americans in saying that in general we're quite glued down and rooted in place due to our economic situation. Anyone who assumes that the reason is something other than money is out of touch and really doesn't know many poor people.

Last edited by Wambatown81; 03-11-2012 at 09:09 PM..
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
32,378 posts, read 59,846,787 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
I travel overseas fairly frequently. I try to go to a place I've never been at least once a year. It's part of my lifestyle and interests, and I highly recommend it for anyone.
Not everyone is like you. 'nuff said.

Quote:
I really don't understand why more Americans don't travel overseas. Perhaps, its because of a lack of interest or imagination, or perhaps it's because they feel intimidated.
More like a lack of money.
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