Why Americans Don't Travel.
Well, why don’t Americans travel?
Statistics show that Americans travel much less than citizens of countries with similar levels of economic prosperity. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just because they are americentric, xenophobic or lazy. In the majority of cases, the reasons are more nuanced. The US is indeed a beautiful place with many gorgeous destinations and cultural experiences to offer, and one could spend years exploring them all, but there are many other factors that prevent Americans from traveling abroad.
Lack of Vacation Time
In 2014, only 13% of Americans traveled abroad for the holidays and 42% didn’t take a single vacation day. These statistics might highlight the work ethic that exists in the US, but more importantly they point to the lack of vacation time actually received at our jobs.
In comparison, many people in France often take off the whole month of August (Hint: That’s a good time to visit Paris!)
Geographic Isolation & Cost
Studies show that 30% of Americans own passports. Considering the fact that traveling anywhere outside of the United States requires a passport, this tiny percentage tells us that more than two thirds of American citizens never cross outside U.S. borders. While this may seem absurd to those who have caught the travel bug, some people feel they have no incentive to apply for a passport. International trips from most places in the U.S. require multiple expensive flights, long layovers, and stressful security procedures. Thinking about how expensive and time intensive it is to get to any country outside of North America is enough to convince many to settle for a "staycation".
Europeans on the other hand, can quickly and cheaply get to dozens of countries via train, plane, or car on a single EU passport. To give an example of the contrast, driving from London to Paris takes around 6 hours. It takes longer than that just to cross over into the state of California from Seattle, Washington.
Fear of Terrorism
Terrorism is a scary concept. While news headlines seem to pop up daily about the potential global threat of terrorism, the risk we perceive from alarmist media outlets is much greater than the probability that an attack will actually take place. In reality, the risk of terrorism is a remote one, and probably no more likely abroad than at home.
The idea of an attack is a frightening thought, but in reality, according to Washington Blog, you are 1,048 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack.
From geographic isolation to paltry vacation allotments, expensive plane tickets to fear of the unknown, the obstacles preventing many Americans from traveling abroad are legitimate, but there are ways to overcome them.
If given advance notice, many bosses will grant time off to high performing employees. A potential alternative is working part-time while abroad. Host family stays, AirB&B, and ubiquitous WiFi, can make remote work a viable option.
To combat the cost of traveling outside the US, airfare comparison sites like Hipmunk and Kayak provide a great interface for finding deals on international flights and communities like couchsurfing.com and Horizon App provide access to completely free lodging alternatives if AirBnb, booking.com, or host family residences prove out of budget.
For more information on LanguaTravel programs visit languatravel.com.