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Old 03-11-2013, 08:31 PM
 
1,512 posts, read 7,270,507 times
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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.
Let's also remember that America consists of two continents.
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:15 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,072 posts, read 16,094,154 times
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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.
What percentage of Europeans travel overseas, and by that I mean outside of Europe. The US is very close to the size of Europe. Naturally we do much more domestic tourism than say the British.
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:05 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
6,562 posts, read 7,678,624 times
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I know this is a year old and some of this has been said in some ways, but I have to offer my two cents.

I travel overseas all the time for work... 5 or 6 times a year at least. Not always to Europe, but usually.

Europe is not that different from us. Most of the locals I have met, especially in working class areas (and thanks to my job I often meet), have not traveled long distances overseas. Just as many working class Americans don't either.

Now if you start talking to richer white-collar workers in cosmopolitan cities on both sides of the Atlantic... it is common, even if it is a after college or post-retirement vacation travel.

As for overall passport statistics. Some of the people I have met in Northwestern Germany have crossed the border to other nations. They do have a Passport, even though they don't have to pass border control in the EU...they need it. They only need to travel a few hundred miles to visit several countries.

Here you don't need a passport for domestic air travel at all. Most people still travel several hundred miles, but they stay within the US. Most people live far away from another country.

We also have special programs with both Mexico and Canada for land and sea crossings. You don't have to have a full passport. There are special IDs you can apply and get that are specific to US-Canada, and US-Mexico border crossings. So our most common international routes.... on land... don't even need a traditional passport.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:20 AM
 
Location: The City
22,331 posts, read 32,176,306 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
I'm assuming you live on the East Coast. Am I correct?

Anyway, there's a LOT to see between the east coast and LA. If you live on the east coast, you could spend a lifetime exploring just up and down the Atlantic seaboard and never run out of interesting things to do.

Without dealing with jetlag, international customs, passports, three hour check ins at the airport, and $1600 tickets.

Also, you mention that most of your trips overseas coincide with work, which means that either 1) your employer is paying at least part of the cost (airfare, some room and board, etc) or 2) your trip is tax deductible if you are self employed. This is unusual.

My husband and I are planning a trip to the UK in May. The round trip tickets alone are going to be $1600 each. The hotel in London is going to be around $400 a night. BritRail passes for 8 days are over $500 EACH. I haven't even added in subway and bus fares, meals, getting into attractions, etc.

It will be fun but it will also be very expensive. A couple of years ago we went to Europe and took two teens with us, for ten days. Total cost: $14,000. That's expendable income. Our economy isn't strong. Not many people have that much cash just laying around.

Yes I am from the East Coast and love US and International travel. I would miss either quite frankly and am lucky enough to do both.

London (though their hotels are outrageous but that said you can do far better than $500 a night, I recently stayed in Marriott property St Regis which is spectacular for less than $500 a night, you can do as well as 250 for moderate hotels) is really not much more expensive than say NYC or SF for example

Asn also places like Greece, Portugal, Spain can be had for much less with a great trip to boot

I am able to take advantage of some work trips (they pay my airfare and time there for work) and I try to extend the trips as you are correct it is more cost effective (Plus fly business class a nice perk) but I routinely travel abroad for liesure too on my freight

While I am huge advocate of US travel I would miss terribly Europe as it offers something different.

I would also suggest Montreal as a very close to Europe feel in NA

I need to get to Asia, this is one I am sorely in need of, embarresed to say I have never been
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:11 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,922 posts, read 36,220,301 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidphilly View Post
Quote:
Yes I am from the East Coast and love US and International travel. I would miss either quite frankly and am lucky enough to do both.
Yes, you are very lucky indeed! You're ESPECIALLY lucky to have your employer pick up most of the expense of many of your European vacations.

Quote:
London (though their hotels are outrageous but that said you can do far better than $500 a night, I recently stayed in Marriott property St Regis which is spectacular for less than $500 a night, you can do as well as 250 for moderate hotels) is really not much more expensive than say NYC or SF for example
To be fair, I used the figure of $400 a night in London, not $500 a night. I haven't been yet but my travel agent has told me that to get a room anywhere comparable to, say, the Marriott, will cost us around $400 a night. Which, as you pointed out, is less than $500 a night - but that was your figure, not mine!

Besides that, the expense is cumulative. It's not JUST the hotel, or JUST the airfare, or JUST the rail passes, or JUST the rental car, or JUST the taxi fares, or JUST the cost of dining out, or JUST the cost of admissions into sights, or JUST the cost of leasing a GPS or adding international services to one's phone - it's everything all together. Like I said, our family went to Germany a couple of years ago. Four of us for ten days. We stayed in nice but not extreme hotels. We rented a car. We ate out once a day at a nice restaurant, got breakfast free each morning, and ate street food for lunch if we were hungry. Our total cost came to about $14,000. That's well over $1000 a day.

We are lucky to be able to pull this off, and pay cash rather than borrowing this money. But that's really out of reach for most people - on either side of the pond.

Quote:
Asn also places like Greece, Portugal, Spain can be had for much less with a great trip to boot
Those countries have been in a state of societal upheaval for the past few years - which can be pretty intimidating to travelers who are unfamiliar with those countries. But yes - they're cheaper. So is Latvia, for that matter. So is Azerbaijan!

Quote:
I am able to take advantage of some work trips (they pay my airfare and time there for work) and I try to extend the trips as you are correct it is more cost effective (Plus fly business class a nice perk) but I routinely travel abroad for liesure too on my freight
Do they pay for your hotel (while you're conducting business) as well? If not, then that's a tax deductible expense for you to take. This is a nice perk that, once again, most Americans don't have access to.

So in many cases you've had your flight over, and at least part of your hotel expenses - two of the biggest chunks of expense - paid for by someone else. Be honest - would you travel overseas as often as you do if you had to bear all of the expense each time?

Like you said, you're very lucky and I am genuinely happy for you - what an opportunity! Take 'em for all they're worth! Sounds like fun!

I'm not trying to argue with you. I'm just pointing out that your situation is not typical of most Americans' situations when it comes to international travel.
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:28 PM
 
Location: The City
22,331 posts, read 32,176,306 times
Reputation: 7739
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Yes, you are very lucky indeed! You're ESPECIALLY lucky to have your employer pick up most of the expense of many of your European vacations.



To be fair, I used the figure of $400 a night in London, not $500 a night. I haven't been yet but my travel agent has told me that to get a room anywhere comparable to, say, the Marriott, will cost us around $400 a night. Which, as you pointed out, is less than $500 a night - but that was your figure, not mine!

Besides that, the expense is cumulative. It's not JUST the hotel, or JUST the airfare, or JUST the rail passes, or JUST the rental car, or JUST the taxi fares, or JUST the cost of dining out, or JUST the cost of admissions into sights, or JUST the cost of leasing a GPS or adding international services to one's phone - it's everything all together. Like I said, our family went to Germany a couple of years ago. Four of us for ten days. We stayed in nice but not extreme hotels. We rented a car. We ate out once a day at a nice restaurant, got breakfast free each morning, and ate street food for lunch if we were hungry. Our total cost came to about $14,000. That's well over $1000 a day.

We are lucky to be able to pull this off, and pay cash rather than borrowing this money. But that's really out of reach for most people - on either side of the pond.



Those countries have been in a state of societal upheaval for the past few years - which can be pretty intimidating to travelers who are unfamiliar with those countries. But yes - they're cheaper. So is Latvia, for that matter. So is Azerbaijan!



Do they pay for your hotel (while you're conducting business) as well? If not, then that's a tax deductible expense for you to take. This is a nice perk that, once again, most Americans don't have access to.

So in many cases you've had your flight over, and at least part of your hotel expenses - two of the biggest chunks of expense - paid for by someone else. Be honest - would you travel overseas as often as you do if you had to bear all of the expense each time?

Like you said, you're very lucky and I am genuinely happy for you - what an opportunity! Take 'em for all they're worth! Sounds like fun!

I'm not trying to argue with you. I'm just pointing out that your situation is not typical of most Americans' situations when it comes to international travel.

Well I do try whenever possible to take advantage of them. More frequent recently as my job responsibility has changed a bit with more european activity though still not that frequent

On your other point I have been traveling to Europe since my teens (pretty long ago) and most of these trips have been on my own freight

On the societal upheaval, those places are perfectly fine, honestly Latvia sound interesting to me. The Czech republic and praque may be the most beautiful city I have ever been too. Honestly Europe is not scary at all, in all honesty you should no more afraid of there than anyplace in the US. But maybe that comes with some comfort via traveling.

Maybe I have been lucky, I have family in Italy so it has always sort of felt like home

I can see your points on cost though but in most cases a substantial US trip can be just as expensive, though if you drive etc you can definately save

Also youth can travel pretty cheap as well (not my cup of tea these days and my youth is well, past tense in this perspective)

Also family travel is not cheap, I can attest. Look at how much a week at Disney costs (heck a week at the Jersey shore is pretty pricey too), I think that is why places like the Riviera Maya and their All Inclusives have become so popular - good bang for the buck and you sort of feel like you are at Disney in way with how separated the resorts are from he real Mexico

Lastly, hope you enjoy the trip to London (probably my favorite city) its a great city

Also sorry on the 500 (misread) even said I just did a quick search on Expedia and found numerous hotels in the 180-220 range at 4-5 stars, most are not US brands and may a tad smaller room wise than you may be used to in the US, but are not bad at all and in very good areas. Maybe look into some other options. While in London the majority of the fun will be outside on the streets. Even at 100 dollars a day saving for 7 days - well not insignificant
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:00 PM
 
Location: Seattle
6,962 posts, read 9,057,027 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwkimbro View Post
As for overall passport statistics. Some of the people I have met in Northwestern Germany have crossed the border to other nations. They do have a Passport, even though they don't have to pass border control in the EU...they need it.
They don't need a passport. They only need an ID if they fly. Also, there are no borders within most of the EU anymore when you travel by car. You just see the sign for the other country and there is nobody there. You just cross it.
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Seattle
6,962 posts, read 9,057,027 times
Reputation: 3793
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Those countries have been in a state of societal upheaval for the past few years - which can be pretty intimidating to travelers who are unfamiliar with those countries. But yes - they're cheaper. So is Latvia, for that matter. So is Azerbaijan!
Comparing Spain, Portugal and Greece to Azerbaijan is a crime. You should compare them to California and Florida because they are as nice if not nicer.
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,922 posts, read 36,220,301 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidphilly View Post
Quote:
On the societal upheaval, those places are perfectly fine, honestly Latvia sound interesting to me. The Czech republic and praque may be the most beautiful city I have ever been too. Honestly Europe is not scary at all, in all honesty you should no more afraid of there than anyplace in the US. But maybe that comes with some comfort via traveling.

Maybe I have been lucky, I have family in Italy so it has always sort of felt like home
You probably didn't mean to direct this at me PERSONALLY - I am not intimidated by international travel at all and have been to some pretty dicey places (and would go again if the opportunity arose!). My husband even moreso, with his work in oil and gas. In fact, he was in Saudi Arabia when 9/11 went down! A bit tense. He was in Liberia during some sort of revolution as well, and the American Embassy had to go find him! But I digress.

I'm not intimidated at ALL by traveling anywhere in Europe, especially, but I was talking in generalities about Americans. When researching where to go on vacation, for instance, American citizens will find this sort of thing regarding southern Europe:

Messages for U.S. Citizens | Embassy of the United States Athens, Greece

http://photos.state.gov/libraries/gr...age_greece.pdf

Greece

Spain and Andorra

It can be intimidating. There's a reason these places are less expensive!

Quote:
Also sorry on the 500 (misread) even said I just did a quick search on Expedia and found numerous hotels in the 180-220 range at 4-5 stars, most are not US brands and may a tad smaller room wise than you may be used to in the US, but are not bad at all and in very good areas. Maybe look into some other options. While in London the majority of the fun will be outside on the streets. Even at 100 dollars a day saving for 7 days - well not insignificant
LOL believe me, I've been looking, but let me give you an example of the differences:

My travel agent just called me and told me that if we want to stay in the Picadilly area (our preference), the rooms are probably going to be more than $400 - and that's with a double bed. Not a queen size bed. Certainly not a king size bed.

Now - granted, we're spoiled. But comparing what we'd spend on a hotel room on one of our American vacations, vs what we're looking at spending in London - amenity for amenity - we'd have to pay $500 or $600 a night - or more - to be in the thick of things in London (as opposed to in an outlying suburb).

As for Expedia - well, let me just put it this way. I love Expedia for airline tickets and rental cars, but my experience with hotels on international trips using Expedia has not been positive, which is why I use a travel agent instead for hotel bookings when going overseas. Last time I did the Expedia thing for two nights in Germany (we were in an outlying area and thought we wanted to explore so our travel agent didn't book those two nights) we ended up forfeiting the costs and reservation and going to another (much more expensive) hotel - the rooms and location were so bad! The movie "Children of the Corn" came to mind...

But to each his own.

Thankfully we are going to be spending only two nights in London and the rest of the time in Harrogate and York. So we're just going to bite the bullet and spend the money. It's the first leg of our trip and we want to be as well rested as possible after the flight.

I've still got her looking at a wide variety of hotels however. We haven't settled on one yet! That's a pretty boring way to spend money. My husband is the spoiled one by the way, not me. He says he's spent so much time in **** holes in crappy countries for work, that he's not going to settle for discomfort when on vacation!
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:27 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
6,562 posts, read 7,678,624 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botev1912 View Post
They don't need a passport. They only need an ID if they fly. Also, there are no borders within most of the EU anymore when you travel by car. You just see the sign for the other country and there is nobody there. You just cross it.
Kind of....

The Schengen agreement is an agreement to try to remove border controls... not completely remove them.

Each member state can still stop people or do checks at their borders if they choose to. They just don't near as much.

I have been pulled by border patrol crossing the Netherlands German Border several times before.

Air travel can function domestic, like ours, but many of their flights are mixed up with international flights that still require border checks. Many choose to have a biometric passport just to get through the check points faster.

Not all of their airports have separated the terminals and concourses between domestic Schengen and international travel, quite as much as we have. It is hit or miss.

Europeans using their passport within the Schengan area for various reasons is very common, even when they can use a national ID, while Americans within our borders just about never use theirs.

Even then, I'm sticking with my original point... There are enough non Schenegan area countries nearby.

Countries are left open to create their laws and regulations to various extends.

Hotels are still required to register visitors of foreign states (including those from other EU countries). So, while not always required, passports are handy and common.... yet in certain places and situations... still required, so many choose to use a passport often just in case.
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