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Old 07-03-2010, 06:10 AM
 
Location: NYC
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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?

Last edited by queensgrl; 07-03-2010 at 06:22 AM.. Reason: addition
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Old 07-03-2010, 07:06 AM
 
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Some of the reasons I've heard:
Americans don't get a lot of vacation time (Europeans do)
The US is huge and there are places to vacation w/o leaving the country
Fear
Lack of interest in anything outside the US
Lack of money or the belief that it costs a huge fortune to travel outside the US.

I agree that a good chunk of the US all looks the same.
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Old 07-03-2010, 07:16 AM
 
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And it is a GREAT value to travel in the US. Europe, well, not so much.
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Old 07-03-2010, 07:18 AM
 
Location: NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yankinscotland View Post
Some of the reasons I've heard:
Americans don't get a lot of vacation time (Europeans do)
The US is huge and there are places to vacation w/o leaving the country
Fear
Lack of interest in anything outside the US
Lack of money or the belief that it costs a huge fortune to travel outside the US.

I agree that a good chunk of the US all looks the same.
Very good point about the lack of time off. When you're new on a job here, you only get two weeks vacation and it can take years to build up more time, if at all. Makes it really tough to take a trip that requires time for travel.

Is it possible that our vacation policies were designed to keep us and our $ inside the US .

What have you heard in terms of fear?
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Old 07-03-2010, 08:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queensgrl View Post
Very good point about the lack of time off. When you're new on a job here, you only get two weeks vacation and it can take years to build up more time, if at all. Makes it really tough to take a trip that requires time for travel.

Is it possible that our vacation policies were designed to keep us and our $ inside the US .

What have you heard in terms of fear?
Fear of people or places that are different, different money, languages, customs, cultures. They are comfortable with what is familiar.

Europeans get much more holiday time. New on a job you get 4 weeks holiday.
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Old 07-03-2010, 09:26 AM
 
Location: on an island
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We've discussed this before, and came up with similar reasons.
Americans have less vacation time, and a humungous country of their own, with plenty to see here.

Someone in London can hop on Easyjet and go to any number of countries in a short time.
Yanks are not quite in the same situation, and for someone to go to Europe, it takes up a whole day just to cross the Atlantic.
However, it can be quite exciting to go from NYC to SFO or something comparable, say, from Miami to Portland, Maine. Or from anywhere to New Orleans.
These days, after 9/11,what with fuel costs and air travel hassles, it might just be easier for some to travel domestically.

The other side of the coin is that I am sure there are a few Europeans out there (or Chinese, South American, or whatever) who are not over-burdened with insatiable intellectual curiosity, who do not own a passport, and might not be saving their hard-earned money to visit the USA or any other place.

I love to travel and have a kid who lives in Europe. I'll be heading over there again soon enough.
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Old 07-03-2010, 09:36 AM
 
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I think when people compare Europeans to Americans regarding international travel, it's apples and oranges. Most european countries are tiny and europe isn't that big itself, so yeah they do tend to officially end up in other countries.

People tend to forget the USA is the United States of America. We have 50 countries of our own here with such a wide variety of cultures, topography, weather, food, things to do and so on. I've been to 47 out of 50 states and I could travel for decades more and still not see it all.

Also having been in the tourism business and interacting with thousands of people every year, there are 2 things I see. It's like the old Roman "bread and circuses". The average person is not that bright and is easily entertained with flashing lights, booming noises and other sensory fulfilling malarkey. That's why vegas and orlando do well as they satisfy those basic desires. Second people want a "fantasy" when they vacation. They don't want real world.

So yeah there are not a lot of people that want to get out in the nitty gritty of the real world in other places.
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Old 07-03-2010, 09:38 AM
 
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Personally, I will never understand all the people who claim they have no desire to see other countries and cultures. No curiousity about this huge world outside your own borders with so many different kinds of people and cultures and landscapes and foods? This has nothing to do with having the money to do it, but having no desire to do it.

I don't unlimited funds to visit every country I want to see, but have done extensive travelling. Certainly opens your eyes.
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Old 07-03-2010, 09:39 AM
 
9,830 posts, read 19,595,808 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueWillowPlate View Post

The other side of the coin is that I am sure there are a few Europeans out there (or Chinese, South American, or whatever) who are not over-burdened with insatiable intellectual curiosity, who do not own a passport, and might not be saving their hard-earned money to visit the USA or any other place.
Actually most europeans I have ever known or talked to, only a few have traveled extensively unless you want to count going to Spain on holiday, which is much like going to Florida for us Americans.
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Old 07-03-2010, 09:44 AM
 
2,024 posts, read 2,990,436 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
I think when people compare Europeans to Americans regarding international travel, it's apples and oranges. Most european countries are tiny and europe isn't that big itself, so yeah they do tend to officially end up in other countries.

People tend to forget the USA is the United States of America. We have 50 countries of our own here with such a wide variety of cultures, topography, weather, food, things to do and so on. I've been to 47 out of 50 states and I could travel for decades more and still not see it all.

Also having been in the tourism business and interacting with thousands of people every year, there are 2 things I see. It's like the old Roman "bread and circuses". The average person is not that bright and is easily entertained with flashing lights, booming noises and other sensory fulfilling malarkey. That's why vegas and orlando do well as they satisfy those basic desires. Second people want a "fantasy" when they vacation. They don't want real world.

So yeah there are not a lot of people that want to get out in the nitty gritty of the real world in other places.
The differences aren't exactly huge though. I have a big interest in ancient cultures. A few native American sites in the southwest US woudn't satisfy it. I've seen sites that are over 5,000 years old. Africa. Australia. Much of Europe. Roman sites. And I'm about to visit Rome and see the Vatican, Pompeii, etc. Nothing similar to that in the US.
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