4 Reasons Why Americans Don’t Travel Around The World
In a country as affluent as the United States, it seems as though many people would have the financial means and desire to travel internationally. Yet, with only 30% of Americans possessing a passport and 50% of all international trips being to Mexico or Canada, it’s clear that traveling abroad just isn’t a priority for many Americans. However, it’s not always a lack of desire that impedes Americans from traveling abroad.
Not Enough Vacation Time
One problem many Americans face is the lack of vacation time. According to a 2005 study, Americans receive only 16.6 days of paid vacation on average, far less than most of their counterparts around the world. For some, what basically equals two weeks of paid time off ends up being used to visit family and friends in other parts of the country, for visits to the doctor or dentist, or for unforeseen issues such as a sick child. After using their vacation days for these types of things, there’s little time left for any kind of real vacation, let alone one that involves many hours in an airplane. Most people don’t want to spend their precious vacation days in transit, so instead they stay closer to home.
Plenty to See and Do in the United States
Another reason that many Americans don’t travel abroad is because of the diversity of things to do within the borders of the United States. The U.S. has every kind of landscape imaginable, from thriving urban metropolises like New York or Chicago, sandy beaches in Florida or Hawaii, and wide-open spaces in Wyoming or Montana, to world-class ski resorts in Colorado, wineries in Sonoma, and theme parks such as Disney World. Additionally, because the U.S. has immigrants from all over the world, it’s easy to get a taste of other cultures in most large cities. It seems as though many Americans take a look around them and decide that there’s no reason to go too far from home.
American Culture Doesn’t Prioritize Travel
Strangely enough, a country built by people who left their home countries and everything they knew to start a better life by traveling someplace they’d never been before is now populated with millions of people who prefer to stay put. Unlike Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and many other European countries, the U.S. has no culture of a gap year between high school and college or college and the working world. People who want to travel extensively are often seen as bums who don’t want to work, even if that generalization couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s also a sense among many Americans that America is the best and there’s no need to travel abroad when there is so much available at home.
It’s Too Expensive
For a family of four who takes modestly priced vacations, traveling abroad just wouldn’t be feasible financially. Buying international plane tickets for four people would be too expensive for many Americans, which is why people often drive to their vacation destination of choice. Even purchasing airfare for a trip somewhere in the United States is almost always much cheaper than buying a plane ticket abroad. With the recent recession and global economic downturn, international travel exceeds many Americans’ budgets.