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Old 10-25-2010, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,653 posts, read 15,342,391 times
Reputation: 6670

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Quote:
Originally Posted by J-CityRelo View Post
tvdxer: I think you may be going overboard with the generalizations there! I would consider myself to be middle class (not upper-middle) and I will soon be going to an all-inclusive resort close to one of the American locations described, however this will be my first resort style vacation (I'm trying it out!) I do like to experience other cultures when traveling, but sometimes it's nice to get away and simply relax. I think you can do both, not one or the other. But I purposely chose a resort that had a variety of local-style food options and no, I have no interest in senor frogs or chain restaurants in general, especially when traveling! I actually went on a family vacation on a cruise a few years ago and hated every second for the sheer generic-ness of it. I hated being shuffled out of the boat for a few hours and then back in without time enough to truly explore. Perhaps cruise travelers are more suited to your generalizations. But it's not everybody who stays at an all-inclusive!

I think the idea of backpacking, staying in hostels and generally traveling cheaply is intimidating to a lot of people. So they feel like they have to spend a lot of money to stay in a semi-fancy hotel to be reassured that they will be comfortable and that's where the I-don't-have-money-to-travel excuse comes in.
Notice how I said "most" people. If I said "all" people, I'd be generalizing, certainly. But most normal working folk I've conversed with or heard about tend to fit the description I provided. There is, however, a significant minority interested in other cultures and lifestyles who want to have a more "educational" experience traveling. This minority (which includes myself) is over-represented on this board, simply because forums like these tend to appeal to those who make travel a real hobby and not a simple activity. Some of these people, for whatever reason, stay at all-inclusives. And of course individuals within this group simply want to relax at times. However, I would wager that most of the non-business foreign travel conducted in the U.S., or any country for that matter, consists of generic vacations.

...and don't get me started with chain restaurants. Personally, I only frequent them when traveling when the chain isn't in my home area or I want to eat quickly (fast food). I usually go to local restaurants both away and at home. Not the case for most other people, I've discovered. A lot of people - probably the majority of people - like to know what they're getting most of the time They don't like to take risks at the table. They want familiarity. That's why Red Lobster, Ponderosa Steakhouse, and Old Chicago are the most prominent restaurants in Duluth's Canal Park (tourist) district. That's why the influx of college students that come up here every fall choose to spend their disposable money at Applebee's, Olive Garden, and Outback, and not local restaurants of equal quality and price. That's why Olive Garden, Chili's, and Applebee's (among other chains) have outlets in Times Square, or near there - and tourists flock to them in droves, and probably why an old friend of mine, visiting Chicago, took his college investing club to "Old Chicago" (which originated from Boulder, Colorado!) - despite a plethora of other dining options, at all budgets, in those cities. That's why the American tourists I encountered on the Barcelona - San Sebastian train were eating McDonalds, not a similarly-priced (and much tastier) bocadillo. That's why chain restaurants thrive so much in exurban areas and the Sunbelt, where most residents there were not born. And so on.

For a significant minority of travelers who enjoy ventures into local culture (and that includes me), this behavior is beneath contempt, but the majority don't even think twice about it.

Last edited by tvdxer; 10-25-2010 at 12:03 PM..
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Old 10-25-2010, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
1,300 posts, read 3,090,596 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvdxer View Post
Notice how I said "most" people. If I said "all" people, I'd be generalizing, certainly. But most normal working folk I've conversed with or heard about tend to fit the description I provided. There is, however, a significant minority interested in other cultures and lifestyles who want to have a more "educational" experience traveling.
Well, I guess I thought most people did want the experience, or at least most people my age (25-35)...? I'll say this: most everyone I know does! And I wouldn't exactly call my friends world travelers! On the other hand there were a lot of people on the cruise ship I went on that seemed to be having a good time, so maybe you have a point.
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Old 10-25-2010, 08:03 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
758 posts, read 1,379,532 times
Reputation: 938
Quote:
Originally Posted by J-CityRelo View Post
I travel to see friends a lot like this. Especially for birthdays or holidays. I don't want to have to take off work so I'll find a cheap southwest (or other airline) flight and leave on a friday at 6pm and come home sunday, late afternoon. It's perfect because I don't have to take off work and still have a little time to catch up with friends and have fun!
Definitely. I think I misunderstood the original poster's statement. I know people who do the same thing, and I'm always on the lookout for a quick, cheap getaway (unfortunately, the best deals seem to come when I CAN'T get away).

I went back and re-read the original statement. I think I first read it as "fly 1000 miles to go to a ball game and come back the SAME day" (instead of next day)



Quote:
Originally Posted by tijlover View Post
I've never bought into this excuse: no time and money for foreign travel.

You can go to a foreign city, and just spend three days there, and it's amazing the territory you can cover in even one day.

Just like traveling to any city in this country. Fly in, rent a car, and you'll be astounded at all you can see/experience in just two days!

Ain't buying it, now or ever, particularly no time for foreign travel. There's other hidden reasons most people refuse to discuss.

Fess up!
I had stated the "no time or money" because that seemed to be the resounding reasons. I happen to agree, to some extent. Do I have truthfully have the money to travel? Yes. Do I have the money to travel and stay at a place that I would want to stay in? Probably. Do I have the money to travel without making me feel uncomfortable about wracking up debt on air, car, hotel and food or without making me feel guilty about taking my savings that could go to buying a new car, fixing an emergency, or staying in my 'rainy day' money? No.

As far as a two or three days is concerned, aside from North American travel, getting anywhere else takes up a decent hunk of time. Do I want to travel 8-20 hours, deal with a 5-18 hour time change, spend three days there (probably more like 2 days, after getting to and from the airport) and then fly back and go straight to work? Not at all. I feel I should not spend a similar amount of time in route that I spend in my destination.
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Old 10-26-2010, 02:30 AM
 
2,879 posts, read 6,839,182 times
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The best thing you can do when visiting a foreign country is to go to a well known tourist' area; then start walking in the opposite direction. Usually about 1 mile. You will meet the real people; not just the travel agent scammers, and other snake oil salesmen. I am currently in Thailand, and I follow some general rules. If there aren't thais drinking in the bar; I don't go in. Same for restaurants. If you only feel comfortable eating western food at western prices--stay home.

An since I am on a rant. Maybe look around and see if the locals wear bare sleeves before you go parading around in tanktops and beachwear. This can be greatly frowned upon, even in modest restaurants.
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:04 AM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,653 posts, read 15,342,391 times
Reputation: 6670
Quote:
Originally Posted by J-CityRelo View Post
Well, I guess I thought most people did want the experience, or at least most people my age (25-35)...? I'll say this: most everyone I know does! And I wouldn't exactly call my friends world travelers! On the other hand there were a lot of people on the cruise ship I went on that seemed to be having a good time, so maybe you have a point.
I'm not saying that most people positively do not want that experience, only that it is far down on their list of priorities. It's more of a speculative wish than an actual desire, and certainly does not come into play on most people's limited vacation itineraries.

College students and those around them in age (in my experience) do have a lot of curiosity about the world and are less insular than others, though.
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Old 05-28-2011, 01:54 AM
 
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
5,899 posts, read 8,419,380 times
Reputation: 4366
Very interesting topic and read!

I want to give my 5 cents to this discussion. I am of the idea that Americans do not care much for what happens outisde the US , and its actually a popularized notion in some countries (including Argentina) that USA is a country where people seem to be ignorant about everytinh non-american. I have a few experiences myself living there (in the U.S) that might prove this. AND, there is also this same thread, that states that Americans dont seem to travel abroad as much as other countries/cultures.
BUT, theres an everyday experience of mine that says the contrary. I live in Buenos Aires, i dont know what the h... happened in USA or between USA and ARG, or maybe it was some massive marketing campaign that im not aware of, but, let me tell you, in a city of 13 million people like Buenos Aires, i see Americans (and i mean people from USA) ALL THE TIME!!!!
They are in the subway, speaking with their "oh my gooods" (they are SO easy to recognize cause of the accent), they are in Palermo cafes and stores, they are in San Telmo bars, their in the bus with maps, in the hotels, in the master course im taking in the University, in my boyfriends office (4 coworkers are Americans living here!) and everywhere!!! Buenos Aires is a VERY touristic, VERY visited city from people all around the world. Some years ago, i would say europeans (particullary French people) and latinamericans (particullary colombians and brazilians) were the main visitors. Now, im starting to think Americans are, since i see them EVERYWHERE I GO. They are invading Buenos Aires. Please just stop, we are already too many (this last sentece was a joke, of course. We are too many but foreingers are always welcome here).

I even read somewhere that a lot of Americans are moving here and there are currently something like 100,000 living in Buenos Aires? or something like that? i should look it up.

But, anyways, i meant tourist, there are a lot of American tourists here. Seems like Americans travel more than what we think. At least to Buenos Aires.
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Old 05-28-2011, 02:27 AM
 
Location: Westcoast
313 posts, read 386,553 times
Reputation: 396
International travel takes time and money, especially if you want to do it more than once. I've just spent a few minutes thinking about the 50+ people that I work with, and I'd say that only about 15 have vacationed outside the US.

I have not. I've had good opportunities and had my reasons to reject them. Never wanted to go to Mexico or Hawaii. Just no lure for me. But I vacation often domestically and like to revisit several places. I hope to visit a lot more states before I kick the bucket.

I admit to having less understanding of why this concerns people so much.
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Old 07-22-2011, 12:15 AM
 
Location: The Heart of Dixie
7,826 posts, read 12,333,377 times
Reputation: 4774
I am of Asian descent and I'm surprised at how many people have been to Asian countries, though 9 out of 10 times it was because they were in the military. The 10th person usually was engaged in some sort of missionary activity or humanitarian relief, only rarely were they a tourist or student.

I've been to Europe, the Bahamas, and Bermuda before. People have to remember how big America is and how many places there are to go, like the Florida Keys vs. the Colorado rockies vs the Nevada desert vs historic Southern cities. A British person can't go to a tropical beach without leaving the UK for example, and someone from Spain or Portugal can't really ski without leaving home.
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Old 07-22-2011, 10:10 PM
 
Location: Bay View, Milwaukee
2,169 posts, read 4,198,469 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queensgrl View Post
Why is it that so many Americans don't travel abroad while so many foreigners take holidays to the US? I've longed to travel for years but I'm single and the prospect of going alone is scary, especially since I'm limited in foreign languages (I read, write and speak some Spanish). However I am making plans to study abroad later this year if all goes well.

There's something very insular about Americans that I can't quite pinpoint. It's woven into the design of our suburban communities, where every town has strip malls with the same stores, we aspire to wear the same clothing, drive similar cars and live in subdivisions with four styles of houses. This sameness is also creeping into major cities once known for their uniqueness.

It's like wherever we go, we have to see the things we have back home. It feels like the 1950s all over again (from what I've read, anyway -- I was not born yet). It's like an artificial existence of sorts.

We stay in our backyards and grill food, go on cruises (semi-foreign travel) or we travel to Vegas and Disney World, but we won't visit the real world.

What gives?
A lot of Americans do travel abroad, but it's true that many don't. Many reasons have already been given, but there may be some more to consider:

As already mentioned, most Americans don't get a lot of vacation time. But a lot of those who do get vacation time, spend it visiting relatives scattered all over the country. Americans move around a lot, and many--like myself--have siblings, parents, and other relatives all over the place. I'm fortunate to be a teacher, so I can divide my summers and other breaks between visiting relatives living in the US and visiting other places. But Americans just don't have the time or sense of freedom to snub relatives and travel abroad.

Another factor is pure inertia. Travel can be expensive, planning can be time-consuming, and the whole enterprise can seem really draining. For people who have maybe two or three weeks of vacation time per year, it doesn't make sense to get tired out in the unknown when you can just stay at home, or in the state, and relax and work in the garden. I'm sure many non-travellers would like to travel abroad, but then various questions, along with inertia, set in: where to begin? how do you prepare? what's involved?

If one's parents and other relatives are not big travellers, the inertia (or lack of travel otherwise) can be generational--it becomes kind of a cultural trait. In my case, I grew up hearing a lot about travel from parents who had not travelled much outside of the US (but who had moved around a lot within the US). However, I had to transform "hearing but not doing" into "hearing and taking action." If the people you're closest to aren't big travelers, there's a good chance you won't be, either. (Of course, exceptions exist.)

Maybe another reason: Many Europeans live in smallish flats and other spaces that, compared to the US model, are kind of small. Travel abroad provides a kind of escape from that, perhaps. On the other hand, many Americans have houses with yards--they've cultivated their escape right at home; they feel culturally self-sufficient. Many Americans prefer to stay at home, or at least not travel too far off, so they can still be in touch with the activities and obligations implied by their property and surroundings. I personally know a few people who have created their own semi-utopia right at home, and that's all they want or need. And leave the dog and cat for more than a week? Forget it.

The preceding is related to the money issue: many Americans can afford to travel extensively or occasionally, but it's just not a priority. Remodeling the kitchen, getting a new car, dining out several times a week....those may be budgeting priorities.

There are some other possibilities to consider. Other people have mentioned that the size of the US may make travel abroad psychologically prohibitive for many Americans, whereas the relative smaller nation-states of Europe make country-hopping a little easier for many Europeans. But there is also the issue related to the (inherited? legacy?) perception of the role of travel abroad. Many Americans are brought up to think in terms of America as exceptional in comparison to other countries, and therefore travel abroad is "special"--something you don't "just do," but something you save up for when you're older. For many Europeans, however, hopping borders is really no big deal. In my case, it took me a while to realize that yes, as long as I have the money and time and energy, I can just pack up and go. No need to wait for a special occasion, no need to wait until retirement, no need to be rich: just make the plans and do it. But for many Americans that kind of procedure is just hard to deal with. Travel abroad is often seen more as a reward after many years of work, not as something you can do casually. For many people, there is even a sense of guilt in travelling "too much."

All of the above reasons relate, in some fashion, to my background. But fortunately, I caught the "travel bug" years ago, and I've long dropped the inertia and guilt about globetrotting, so I make big trips as often as I can--once or twice per year. I've made travel a priority in my life, so no pets and few plants for me. My partner has a similar outlook--he is a willing travel companion. Many other people would see it as absurd or indulgent to take the trips that I do every year, but I'm over that. Life is short, and there's so much to see and experience out there. My next trips outside of the US for 2011 and 2012 are Taiwan and Croatia. The trips are major undertakings and will be tiring, but the rewards are much greater.

Last edited by Empidonax; 07-22-2011 at 10:21 PM..
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Old 07-22-2011, 10:39 PM
 
Location: The Chatterdome in La La Land, CaliFUNia
38,877 posts, read 20,171,745 times
Reputation: 35909
Quote:
Originally Posted by queensgrl View Post
Why is it that so many Americans don't travel abroad while so many foreigners take holidays to the US? I've longed to travel for years but I'm single and the prospect of going alone is scary, especially since I'm limited in foreign languages (I read, write and speak some Spanish). However I am making plans to study abroad later this year if all goes well.

There's something very insular about Americans that I can't quite pinpoint. It's woven into the design of our suburban communities, where every town has strip malls with the same stores, we aspire to wear the same clothing, drive similar cars and live in subdivisions with four styles of houses. This sameness is also creeping into major cities once known for their uniqueness.

It's like wherever we go, we have to see the things we have back home. It feels like the 1950s all over again (from what I've read, anyway -- I was not born yet). It's like an artificial existence of sorts.

We stay in our backyards and grill food, go on cruises (semi-foreign travel) or we travel to Vegas and Disney World, but we won't visit the real world.

What gives?
Although I am not your typical American, I haven't traveled abroad due to financial reasons, lack of fluency in other languages and lack of travel partners. Also, the current political unrest in many nations as well as potential terrorist attacks makes me want to stay close to home (especially when you hear about peaceful places such as Norway getting bombed). Finally, the length of the flights makes me hesitant.... Not I'm not scared of flying but being over an ocean for hours on end is a little daunting especially as Europe and Australia are long flights from LAX .... Don't get me wrong, I would LOVE to travel but the timing and finances have not been ideal.
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