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Old 03-03-2012, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Mid Atlantic USA
12,334 posts, read 10,309,361 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 415_s2k View Post
I think that more than anything else, it has to do with money and vacation time. Countries in the EU, Japan, and Australia have totally different government-mandated vacation rules than the US does.

You're much more at the mercy of your employer's vacation and paid time off policies (PTO) over here than in other places; I've had coworkers and friends from overseas who were mindboggled at the scant number of sick days they were given, and at the notion of dipping into vacation time to make up pay for any days over your paid sick leave. Some places do it per hours worked, some places do it as a flat number of days per year... one place I worked at gave you 8 hours of PTO for every 40 you worked, and on the other end of the spectrum, another place gave you three days of sick leave with a doctor's note, two days bereavement for spouse or children only, and five days vacation per year.

It's not that we don't want to, it's just that we often don't have to opportunity to. People here often cite the desire to go on overseas vacations as reasons that they don't have children or postpone weddings
And it is because a particular major political party considers it un-American and socialism if the Fed Govt were to mandate a minimum amount of vacation time for all US employees. I happen to disagree, but it seems the majority of Americans don't agree with me. We will never get more time off until the govt mandates it. Plain and simple. Most Americans seem to enjoy their 3 day weekends for road trips, while everywhere else people enjoy 4 weeks off for a summer holiday. Just read international travel blogs for a comparison. Seems the only Americans taking long holidays are either retired, or students. Everyone else is working for their two weeks off, taken one week at a time.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Mid Atlantic USA
12,334 posts, read 10,309,361 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natural510 View Post
^This is very true. Most Americans would rather have "stuff" than experiences. They' prefer to save up for the next smartphone or flat-screen TV (and pay the bills which come with it), than an international vacation.

Tend to agree generally, but I know a couple of Europeans, some like stuff others don't. The diff is that their places are smaller, and they don't really seem to be into the whole McMansion on a large plot in suburbia with an SUV. Flat screen tv's and electronics they like.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
9,745 posts, read 14,187,609 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jm02 View Post
Money is not the factor that limits many Americans travel preferences. It's the choice of how Americans spend their money. I worked for a European-based company for over 25 years and have traveled in nearly 40 countries world-wide to date. In my experience, I've come to observe that Europeans tend to place more value on travel and social outings and Americans place more value on home and possessions. The result is that most Europeans live modestly compared with Americans - smallish apartments, one small car per household, no home theaters, small gardens, etc. This leaves money for travel. Many Americans, on the another hand, want to own fully-furnished McMansions on large plots, a large car or SUV for each adult in the household, and a wide-screen TV in every room. As a result, many Americans not only don't travel to Europe, they don't wander too far even in their own country.
In that way, it sounds like I live more like many Europeans. Smallest apartment I could find, no car at all, I own very little at all, actually. However, I still don't use my money for travel because there simply isn't enough of it. My last real trip was to Seattle and Bellingham in 2010, and that was mostly a scouting trip before moving here. Before that, my last real trip was in 1996 to NYC, and the only reason I was able to do that is because I went with a school group and my expenses were mostly paid for me. Travelling is just expensive unless you make decent money. A couple of years ago my brother went to England for a week, and his bank account still hasn't recovered.
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:02 AM
 
3 posts, read 3,960 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamplight View Post
This is is it for me. I'd love to travel all over the world if someone would be willing to pay for it. I've never been out of the country in my entire life, because I've never had the money to do it. Not to mention the fact that, even if I ever could afford it, I've never had an employer who was okay with employs taking more than one week of vacation at a time.
You live in Bellingham, WA and you've never been to Canada? You could practically walk there from Bellingham.
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:04 AM
 
732 posts, read 853,722 times
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once they can beam me over the pond like in star trek i'll go
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Center City
6,855 posts, read 7,802,585 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamplight View Post
In that way, it sounds like I live more like many Europeans. Smallest apartment I could find, no car at all, I own very little at all, actually. However, I still don't use my money for travel because there simply isn't enough of it. My last real trip was to Seattle and Bellingham in 2010, and that was mostly a scouting trip before moving here. Before that, my last real trip was in 1996 to NYC, and the only reason I was able to do that is because I went with a school group and my expenses were mostly paid for me. Travelling is just expensive unless you make decent money. A couple of years ago my brother went to England for a week, and his bank account still hasn't recovered.
These are generalizations which describe cultural preferences and do not, of course, apply to every individual within the culture. For example, before I retired, I typically took three week vacations and on two occasions took 4 week vacations. I was the only person in my department who ever took more than two weeks at a time, however, and most coworkers typically took a a week at a a time or less.

And further to your post, naturally those little money overall will not be a able to spend lavishly on possessions or travel, regardless of where they live.

Last edited by Pine to Vine; 03-03-2012 at 11:44 AM.. Reason: correct typo
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:09 AM
 
3 posts, read 3,960 times
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I see people saying Americans don't get much vacation time.

You can't depend on the government to force your employer to give you more vacation time. You have to take things into your own hands. Next time you're negotiating terms for a new job, insist your employer gives you at least 3 weeks per year, and that you can take more than 1 week at a time.
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:52 AM
 
344 posts, read 867,895 times
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America is big and has a lot to offer. So it's easy to stay here and still have access to tropical beaches, snow-capped mountains, inhospitable deserts, forests, and even areas w/ a mediterranean climate like Southern California.

Another reason is most Americans are work-aholics. We get 2-3 weeks off from most junior level positions, and even senior level people often only got 3-4 at most. Career = everything for a lot of Americans. Certainly not me though.


So when you combine these factors, as well as others, most Americans simply don't go anywhere interesting outside of the US more than once or twice in their lifetime. When they go on vacations, they go to beach getaways or party spots in mexico and the carribean.

edit: another thing is geographic isolation. Aside from the places i mentioned above like the carribean, we're quite far from Asia, and also most of Europe. If I lived in the UK, it would be a lot easier to get to asia, africa, the rest of europe, etc. possibly without even getting on a flight if i didn't want to!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Alberta_Man View Post
I see people saying Americans don't get much vacation time.

You can't depend on the government to force your employer to give you more vacation time. You have to take things into your own hands. Next time you're negotiating terms for a new job, insist your employer gives you at least 3 weeks per year, and that you can take more than 1 week at a time.
That's the problem.. Americans are obsessed with work. Don't want to work 60 hours a week? your employer can easily find some miserable bastard who will do 80. Nobody works 40 hours these days, and if you want extra vacation time right off the bat, forget about it - they can find 10 other candidates who have no vacation aspirations whatsoever as long as they can afford a mercedes and get a cool new job title every 2 years.

The only way what you're saying would work is if you get a job, establish your value and make the company realize that they cannot afford to lose you, and then negotiate. Or I guess if you're already very experienced coming in and have been recruited for this position, then it would be possible. But as a regular applicant, forget it.
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Old 03-03-2012, 01:06 PM
 
Location: Edmond, OK
4,036 posts, read 9,196,631 times
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Yes for most of us it's very expensive. Just the airfare alone can be outrageous. For people living near major airport hubs, it can be less expensive, but for most Americans there is the additional cost of getting to these international hubs. While cheap flights to Europe can be had from places like New York, most Americans still have to get to New York, and often times those flights can be more expensive than the flight from New York to Paris. Also, one thing I've noticed is that many times Americans have higher standards for lodging than many (not all) European travelers. We made the mistake of staying in a European class tourist hotel in New York one time because it was a bit cheaper. Never made that mistake again. Many Americans are very picky about their lodging. My kids stayed in hostels a couple of times in Germany, but its not something most Americans, except for students, would be willing to do.
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Old 03-03-2012, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Guangzhou, China
9,779 posts, read 13,357,013 times
Reputation: 11309
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alberta_Man View Post
I see people saying Americans don't get much vacation time.

You can't depend on the government to force your employer to give you more vacation time. You have to take things into your own hands. Next time you're negotiating terms for a new job, insist your employer gives you at least 3 weeks per year, and that you can take more than 1 week at a time.
As Ronnie said, that works great if you happen to be a top-level applicant who's got multiple companies vying for them... if you're an average worker who's just trying to get a job in our rebounding but still-not-quite-there-yet economy, demanding three times the vacation offered, you can kiss the job offer goodbye. The next guy or gal who walks through the door will be happy to take one week vacation just to have a job, and chances are good that you would rather take the money to keep your rent or mortgage paid and food on your table, maybe catch up on the debt piled on while unemployed, than look forward to a three-week, pan-Australasian vacation next year!
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