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Old 07-06-2010, 10:06 AM
 
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Oh, this is difficult to answer... but a very interesting question, though.

I would say geography, language, schedule, and cultural differences.

But it is hard to simply compare x to z bc every person is a different person and this doesn't really have much to do with the place where one is from.
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:14 AM
 
12,359 posts, read 18,454,883 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 am not going to read 7 pages of posts, but simple answers:

1.) Americans DO travel. Your perception is incorrect and based on generalities (and none of this % of who hold passports, it's an apples and oranges comparison). When I travel internationally I see more Americans (nationality) then any other nationality in most places. Then I see Japanese, German, UK, Dutch....All depends on the local as well. In Asia I see lots of Austrialians. Go to Mexico and almost all US. Go to Europe and see (suprise) European travelers, along with lots of Americans.
2.) American is a big country with lots of travel sites. It's a popular destination for it's own citizens as much as citizens from other countries. What's a Dutchman going to travel to in his own country? - 50 miles away to Eindhoven? They travel 100 miles and will be in another country. Yet you have hundred's of thousands of citizens in this country that drive or fly 2,000 miles every day like they are traveling next door. No other citizens of no other nation are able (legally or financialy) to do that.

No other comments are needed until your misconceptions are cleared up.
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:17 AM
 
8,266 posts, read 10,724,474 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Yeah, well I'd rather paint with a broad brush than to assume something to be a universal truth because "there are some" that it applies to.
And yet this is exactly what you do. Americans can't do this, Americans don't like this, etc.

Quote:
A blanket statement is not "silly" just because you personally happen to know somebody who doesn't fit the generalization.
Claiming a Korean with very poor English could communicate better than an American to a tourist industry person who speaks some English in Thailand is exactly that, silly.
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by slackjaw View Post
The second language thing is one of the most overrated skills for Americans to have, and yet it's one of the most often pointed out snobby folks who believe it's some great cultural weakness.

The reason people forget most of the French/German/Spanish they learned in school? They don't use it. Why don't they use it? They don't need to. When my company deals with manufacturers in Taiwan or computer programmers in France, we're all speaking English. It might not be fair but the burden is on everyone else, not us, that's just the way it is.

Traveling in Thailand, Egypt etc. you'll see Japanese/Italian/Korean/Brazilian tourists struggling along with English because that's there best chance of communicating with the guy at the front desk of the hotel or renting out the mopeds, not Japanese. English is the language of travel.
That is EXACTLY true. Fortunately for us in the US - English is the international language of business (and travel). Bilingual skills for travel are a nice to have feature. But if you speak English, your are set. If you from for example Mexico and only speak spanish, your spanish is totally worthless once you leave the spanish speaking country. That front desk clerk in Thailand or India or even Italy will give you confused looks if you try Spanish - but English, you are set. Bilingual skills in English are a necessity if they are to do foreign travel or international business. And no, most Europeans outside of Spain do not speak or understand a word of Spanish.
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:42 AM
 
1,817 posts, read 2,762,268 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Yeah, well I'd rather paint with a broad brush than to assume something to be a universal truth because "there are some" that it applies to.

What you are doing is called "anecdotal evidence", and it has no analytical validity. Your anecdotal evidence of Hawaii does not disprove the generality that there is ocean between here and China.

A blanket statement is not "silly" just because you personally happen to know somebody who doesn't fit the generalization.
good grief--talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

As an American who lived abroad for several years & considers myself pretty well-traveled I can assure you that a huge percentage of the population in ANY country is insular, uninterested in culture & history (not even their own, let alone others), subsists on junk food and tv and if they do travel, can be total nightmare tourists. Go somewhere like Thailand or south Spain and you will find tourists of all nationalities behaving in utterly cringeworthy ways. You will probably chalk it up to "anecdotal evidence" but proles, or whatever you want to call them, are universal. And you're not coming across as all that worldy yourself.
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:52 AM
 
Location: NYC
2,296 posts, read 4,670,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
I am not going to read 7 pages of posts, but simple answers:

1.) Americans DO travel. Your perception is incorrect and based on generalities (and none of this % of who hold passports, it's an apples and oranges comparison). When I travel internationally I see more Americans (nationality) then any other nationality in most places. Then I see Japanese, German, UK, Dutch....All depends on the local as well. In Asia I see lots of Austrialians. Go to Mexico and almost all US. Go to Europe and see (suprise) European travelers, along with lots of Americans.
2.) American is a big country with lots of travel sites. It's a popular destination for it's own citizens as much as citizens from other countries. What's a Dutchman going to travel to in his own country? - 50 miles away to Eindhoven? They travel 100 miles and will be in another country. Yet you have hundred's of thousands of citizens in this country that drive or fly 2,000 miles every day like they are traveling next door. No other citizens of no other nation are able (legally or financialy) to do that.

No other comments are needed until your misconceptions are cleared up.
1) I never said that Americans don't travel. I said that more foreigners travel to the US than Americans travel to foreign countries. I didn't do a statistical analysis so I will stand corrected if there are facts to dispute my statement.

2) Also, people have misjudged my original statement and limited their focus to Europe. My original statement assumed travel between the US and any place in the world. For example, my preference is to travel to Latin America and one day to a few African countries.

3) Regarding travel within the US. Of course Americans do, and lots of it, but that wasn't the point of my original post.

My OP was not intended to put down Americans if that's what you or others have concluded. I was trying to examine the reasons why we don't do more foreign travel and just wanted to share thoughts.

Here are some of the reasons we've come up with:
1) lack of vacation time
2) cost
3) enough to explore in the US
4) uncomfortable with foreign customs/language
5) health/safety

If you have anything to add to the list, I'm happy to hear from you.
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Old 07-06-2010, 11:04 AM
 
2,024 posts, read 2,991,119 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queensgrl View Post
1) I never said that Americans don't travel. I said that more foreigners travel to the US than Americans travel to foreign countries. I didn't do a statistical analysis so I will stand corrected if there are facts to dispute my statement.

2) Also, people have misjudged my original statement and limited their focus to Europe. My original statement assumed travel between the US and any place in the world. For example, my preference is to travel to Latin America and one day to a few African countries.
I highly recommend Uganda. Western Uganda has surprisingly pleasant weather as it's at a high elevation. Wonderful national parks with wildlife and lovely people. Choices for accommodation though are either very primitive and cheap and very nice and expensive. Not much is moderate.
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Old 07-06-2010, 12:17 PM
 
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I personally love to travel. And I do, when I have the money.
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Old 07-06-2010, 12:25 PM
 
12,359 posts, read 18,454,883 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queensgrl View Post
1) I never said that Americans don't travel. I said that more foreigners travel to the US than Americans travel to foreign countries. I didn't do a statistical analysis so I will stand corrected if there are facts to dispute my statement.

My OP was not intended to put down Americans if that's what you or others have concluded. I was trying to examine the reasons why we don't do more foreign travel and just wanted to share thoughts.
Yet you made your own commentary about americans being insular in your original post. Your intention was made clear. Your original premise should have been fact based, it was not. That's OK, this is an informal discussion, and I am merely disagreeing with your original assumption. But there are statistics out there. This from wikipedia notes that the U.S. is second in terms of international tourism expenditure.

Tourism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(see "international tourism expenditures" chart)

That doesn't give the whole picture (simply how much nationals spend in a foreign country), but it goes some way to dispelling the myth that Americans as a culture do not like to travel. Note that the third ranking and lower are little more than half of the top two, with Germany being first and that may indeed be due to location and ease of visiting it's bordering European countries.
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Old 07-06-2010, 01:47 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,664,791 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?
There are millions of Americans who travel abroad every year. Obviously you just don't know any of them.
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