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Old 03-02-2012, 08:52 PM
 
Location: Palo Alto, CA (formerly Berlin)
1 posts, read 6,883 times
Reputation: 29
Default Why don't Americans travel overseas?

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.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:08 PM
 
Location: The Magnolia City
8,937 posts, read 4,970,240 times
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How many Americans actually told you that they don't want to visit another country?

I've never met an American who had absolutely no interest in traveling overseas, but plane tickets are not cheap. Simply put, money is the main reason people do not travel more.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Chicago (from pittsburgh)
2,403 posts, read 1,863,899 times
Reputation: 1557
They/I do. Bye.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:34 PM
 
Location: The Bay and Maryland
1,363 posts, read 1,619,214 times
Reputation: 2016
Money is a big reason why American people don't travel. At this point in time, the mobility of the average American Joe six-pack is at an all-time low. Even young people, the group who is most likely to roam the planet, are staying put. This is because unemployment is at an all-time high, inflation is sucking up people's disposable income, and debt-bondage is the new American way of life with many people carrying heavy student loan debt, credit card debt as well as the nuisances of parking tickets and even speeding tickets. Many jobs nowadays don't even offer vacation days. Where I live in suburban Maryland, there are speed cameras on almost every street. If you drive a hair over the low-posted speed limit, you get a fat $100+ ticket in the mail. Stuff like this sets the average American back.

Also, Americans who can afford to travel outside the U.S. often don't do so because America is a huge country with tons of diversity. The opposite side of the country is like a different country. NY is like a different country from California.

Why more Americans don't travel abroad - CNN

In addition, it is no secret that Americans are very much hated in many countries around the world. A baseball cap wearing, hamburger eating, Nike wearing, monolingual overweight American is a target in dozens of countries around the globe.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:35 PM
 
5,309 posts, read 3,426,943 times
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Because Diving from Berlin to Lisbon is like Driving from Kansas City to Cleveland.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:36 PM
 
Location: Edmond, OK
4,011 posts, read 4,361,964 times
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While we (self, hubby & sons) have traveled to Europe (kids even did study abroad in Germany), my parents have no desire to travel overseas. Dad was in the military back in the day and lived in Germany for 2 years and did a bit of traveling then, but has never wanted to leave the US since he returned. My mother has never wanted to leave the US. They both say there is still much of their own country they need to see first. You can't drive to Europe and if they can't drive, they don't go.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:41 PM
 
Location: Chicago (from pittsburgh)
2,403 posts, read 1,863,899 times
Reputation: 1557
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldenchild08 View Post
Americans are very much hated in many countries around the world. A baseball cap wearing, hamburger eating, Nike wearing, monolingual overweight American is a target in dozens of countries around the globe.
Stereotypes are pathetic, yes even targeted to Americans. Many foreigners are ignorant to what America truly is. Maybe they CAN'T understand what it like to live in a country where one of our states is the size to their own entire country. I am as Liberal as they come and as worldy accepting as they come, but I find many country's stereotypes of Americans as ignorant as American's stereotypes of other countries. Lots of Americans don't travel abroad until they are in their 30s. Why should they? They can go from Miami to Seattle and feel like they are in and ENTIRELY different region of the PLANET. That does NOT mean they are ignorant to the world. Some of the smartest and most unbiased people I know are Americans, and I know people from Asia to Jordan to Wessex. Everyone chill the * out.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:43 PM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
8,577 posts, read 6,268,230 times
Reputation: 10900
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nairobi View Post
Simply put, money is the main reason people do not travel more.
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldenchild08 View Post
Money is a big reason why American people don't travel.
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.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:47 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,693 posts, read 15,657,508 times
Reputation: 11862
The main reasons are:

Compared to Europe the US is a bit more isolated. You can get from London to Paris by train in 2 hours. NY to London is 6-7 hours.

As has been said countless times before the US is as big as Europe so there's a lot see within the States.

Many Europeans are definitely interested, but as has been said they lack money.

Most Americans don't get a lot of vacation time off work.

The economic situation isn't helping.

Many Americans who do travel overseas also opt for cheaper destinations like Mexico or the Caribbean.

Australia is like the US, but there's arguably less to see (even though there's a lot) and distances between places are huge. It's cheaper to fly to Bali than it is to drive up north of our own state.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:58 PM
 
Location: Mid Atlantic USA
5,185 posts, read 2,314,833 times
Reputation: 2701
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.
What no one seems to mention is the fact that Americans get much less vacation time than just about every other industrialized nation. Other countries pass laws guaranteeing many weeks for workers. Americans by and large don't seem to think govt should play much of a role in that kind of thing, so you just get raked over the coals on vacation time by your employer. It sucks.
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