As frequent international travelers, we’re often surprised by how few of our fellow Americans travel abroad. We meet travelers from a whole host of other countries, but it’s rare to run into someone else from the good old USA. Why is that? You would think that since America is a first world country that we could afford to globe-trot whenever the urge strikes. And most of the world is taught English in school, so we have the advantage of there being a smaller language barrier than with other countries. So what’s holding us back? We asked around and did some research and found that these are the four main reasons keeping Americans grounded.
1. It Takes Time
Among the many wonderful reasons to live in America, flexible vacation time is not one of them. Workers in America aren’t given many vacation days and often can’t take more than one week at a time, which is not conducive to traveling to other countries. Most international trips aren’t worth the hassle if you don’t have at least 2 weeks to mitigate jet lag and spend time exploring a new country. It takes almost a whole day just to travel to some countries! So planning a great international trip doesn’t sound as glorious if you only have one week to spend doing it. Add that to the fact that some overworked Americans don’t even take all of their allotted vacation time and you have a recipe for staying in the United States year after year.
2. It Also Takes Money
International travel isn’t a cheap venture, unfortunately. Spending 2 weeks in a new country, even an inexpensive one, can really take a hit to your savings account. Considering that many Americans are chronically in debt, their budgets just don’t allow for such elaborate traveling. Although there are cheap options for meals and accommodations abroad, airfare alone is a large chunk of change. Not to mention the fact that the United States has one of the highest passport costs at $135 a pop. So if you’re a family of 4 traveling to another country, you’ll spend a small fortune just on the paperwork and tickets you’ll need to enter another country! It’s much more cost effective to fly within our own country or take those quintessential family road trips.
3. The United States Has a lot to Offer
This one is my favorite reason: The United States is a vast wonderland of beauty and culture in of itself. We offer mega-cities rich with heritage and history and almost every type of food and experience imaginable. The landscape ranges from mountains great for skiing to oceans suited for surfing to awe-inspiring forests filled with giant Redwood trees. For example, in one week’s worth of vacation time, you can travel through a desert, splash in the ocean, experience the jaw-dropping vistas of the Grand Canyon and then lose yourself in magnificent ‘Sin City.’
With that in our backyard, that leads a lot of people to travel across our own country to see the beauty here for less travel time and less money out of pocket. Having all of that essentially at our fingertips and within driving capabilities, that greatly reduce’s ones desire to see the scenery of other countries. Some people I’ve met even have the desire to cross off everything on their US traveling bucket list before they move on to international traveling. It makes perfect sense; why spend a ton of money traveling to see something you could experience right here in the States?
4. It Can Be Scary
I think fear holds a lot of people back, and not just in the way of travel. Some people are terrified of being in a strange country and not knowing how to speak the language, or they fear not being able to navigate their way around an unfamiliar city. Some people have heard horror stories of Americans getting into sticky situations for not knowing the local customs, but that could all be circumvented by just doing a little research before booking your trip. Americans tend to be a tad bit ignorant to anything happening outside of the US, which doesn’t prepare us well for traveling abroad, but there’s no need to be one of those examples. Read up on some new, vibrant places and you might find yourself inspired to book your next trip!