Why don't many Americans travel much?

Old Dec 21st, 2000, 08:05 AM
  #41  
abe
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I have to agree with some of the answers here, time is definitely a problem. I am amazed at the people here who take two week vacations, this does not seem feasible at all for my husband and me! Yes, I do get 2 weeks vacation a year and he gets 3 but we could never be gone from work that many days in a row! I am an attorney with a large law firm in Chicago and my husband works for the white house both jobs have a lot of pressure and each of us works at least 50 hrs week. We take vaction when we get burned out and fly to the carribbean for 4 or 5 days and come back then do the same thing again a few months later. We like to relax and do nothing on vacation! I am planning my first trip to Europe next year and will be going for 10 days and missing a whole week of work, this will be a first for me. <BR> <BR>Generally I think Americans tend to wait to retirement for travel as ther is more time available and less pressure. Its not that we don't value travel, its just that emphasis is placed on it at different point in our lives. <BR> <BR>As for George Bush, before becoming President, i doubt he had a lot of free time on his hands for travel as he was the governor of the largest state in the US.
 
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 08:10 AM
  #42  
Jackie
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i agree with above statements--especially the ones about europeans traveling less than Americans do. There is soo much travel within the states because it is such a large area, so people don't feel the need as much to escape to other countries because there is a lot of variety in the US, and many people don't have the money, time, etc. to plan exciting long trips to Europe and other vacation destinations. Most of the travelers who do have time are students, who are able to go abroad for long periods of time to study, and business travelers, who want to travel to places as a part of their job. Big trips are hard to plan for most of us though, so we stick to travel in the US and get away to Europe and other countries when we can. Also, it's soo much easier for Europeans to travel in Europe because of the proximity and the inexpensive transit. But many many Americans travel within the US, and that is a pretty big deal considering the size of this country. <BR> <BR> <BR>geocities.com/j_goyette/t.html
 
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 08:20 AM
  #43  
Spanky
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I wonder how many Europeans actually travel outside of their hemisphere, which is what Americans do when travelling to Europe or Asia. The United States is so large that traveling from state to state is like traveling country to country in Europe. Also, one does not need a passport to visit Canada, Mexico or many of the Caribbean islands, so having a passport is not really proof of traveling ability in one's hemisphere. That said, most of my friends don't travel to Europe because they are not interested in "active" travel. They prefer to lie on a beach somewhere either "down the shore" or in Mexico.
 
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 08:36 AM
  #44  
jim
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I think it's funny that someone would ask this question when all you hear (including in some other posts) is that "those damn Americans are everywhere." <BR> <BR>Oh, and about George W. Bush. That's easy: He's an idiot.
 
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 09:29 AM
  #45  
Ryn
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As a first-generation American holding dual citizenship, I'll add my bit. <BR> <BR>Aside from the lack of sanctioned time off from work, and the obvious expense, I think that most Americans view pure leisure travel as a rather decadent thing. <BR> <BR>I suppose it's that vaunted work ethic (or maybe we're just grasping), but I recently saw a survey that asked "If you were offered a choice of $100 more pay a month, or an additional week of paid leave per year, which would you choose?" The overwhelming majority of Americans would take the money. Another survey asked that if you got another week of paid leave per year, how would you use it? Most people stated that they would use the time to do home maintenance projects. <BR> <BR>There is a strong Puritan streak in many Americans that would make them feel very guilty about missing so much work time for the purpose of simply having fun. The concept of travel as a broadening experience is alien to many in this country; except for business travel in pursuit of profit, or duty travel such as family visits, there tends to be an underlying perception that frequent travel is pretentious and extravagant. That goes about triple for travel overseas. <BR> <BR>Last year I went to visit family at Xmas, took my toddler to Disney for 4 days, and took 3 long weekends of 3 days each. Total days off from work: 7. My boss teases me about how much leisure travelling I do. In 15 years in the full-time professional workforce, the only time I have ever dared to take the full amount of vacation time alloted to me annually was for a maternity leave. To take it purely for travel would cause my loyalty to my employer to be called into question. <BR> <BR>(Hope these paragraphs are not choppy, there is something wrong with my browser.)
 
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 09:41 AM
  #46  
mark
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Having studied architecture in grad school one of the major differences between Americans and Europeans is attitude towards public spaces. Throughout Europe there are incredible public spaces to gather - Europeans are very sociable. American has, I think, avoided creating public spaces because of economic and racial prejudices. A majority of American architecture - which is suburban - is either bland cookie cutter or crass. More and more areas of America are beginning to look more alike - the sense of place is being lost to McDonalds, Walmarts and Starbucks. Another reason why so much American architecture looks a like - it's cheap and has very little design quality (which ultimately effects our daily lives). Americans need to remember that we are only 200 years young - many European nations are at least 1000 years old. When America was founded, you couldn't vote if you didn't own land - this land gentry attitude is still very much alive in the American psyche. American value their privacy - their little green moat around their castle. I feel that America has become a country of individuals instead of society of people who believe in democracy.
 
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 09:46 AM
  #47  
american
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What does Mark's comment on the social attiudes and mores of americans have to do with why they don't travel? According to him is it because we are afraid of open public gathering spots, must be!
 
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 10:01 AM
  #48  
brown I's
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My reply is old news, but the people around me prefer to spend money on houses and cars. Image seems to be a higher priority. To each his own, of course. <BR> <BR>I think I'm glad Bush wasn't zooming around on Air Force One when his dad was Prez. Remember when Carter was in office and his grown kids (with families) were living in the White House? You might be a redneck if.... <BR>
 
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 11:06 AM
  #49  
Al
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I believe it was Pres. Truman who said that the presidency is America's largest and most expensive on-the-job training program. When he becomes president, George W. Bush will begin such a program, and we can only wish him good luck. I do wish that posters on this thread would stop saying that Mr. Bush has been governor of our largest state. Not true. Alaska is our largest state.
 
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 11:10 AM
  #50  
poo
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Oh Please Mark is obviously a grad student. I remember those days...then I got a life. <BR> <BR>Exex kind of hit the nail on the head. Europeans sometimes forget just how big our country is. Of course most Europeans have a passport...many can travel a few hours and be in another country. Americans can take a Trans-Continental flight and still be in the same Country!!! In many states, you can drive all day and still be in the same state. <BR> <BR>And just where do you get the fact that Americans don't travel much? We have a very large population...saying that many or, I dare say most don't travel much still leaves millions who have been all over the world. <BR> <BR>So the question still remains how many Europeans know Baton Rouge, or Des Moines...Etc...!!! <BR> <BR>This question is very asinine!!! As are most of you!!!
 
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 11:20 AM
  #51  
abe
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Al: I apologize. That was I who said first said Bush was governor of the largest state, thank you for correcting my oversight. By the way I agree with your wishing him good luck as he will definitely need it since more of the public voted for the other candidate! <BR> <BR>Just wanted to say I agree with the person who said others in the US view you as extravagant and pretentious if you travel. I take several small trips a year but never a long one and many view my husbnd and me as throwing away our money. I've never missed work for more then 3 consecutive says other than when I had my daughter. I took a total of 3 weeks off then and still worked at home some on my computer! I believe there definitely different priorities in Amereican culture v. European culture. Here most people have a greater work ethic and feel they could never leave their job for such extended periods of time. In addition, it is more important to many to spend money paying off the home mortgage, buying that new car, etc.etc.
 
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 11:29 AM
  #52  
europhile
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If po is the typical American - then I'm glad many of you don't travel outside your country. You think good cuisine is McDonalds or KFC, that fashion is the Gap or Banana Republic, that good design is Pottery Barn or Pier One, and good music is Back Street Boys. Stay on your continent and leave the finer things of life to those of us who can appreciate them.
 
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 11:34 AM
  #53  
Anita
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Ryn, I think you hit the nail on the head. The U.S. is rather insular and it is a huge country ( I've driven across it, it's gorgeous ), but when I went to Europe for 10 days everyone said "It must be nice". Let me tell you, yes, it was!
 
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 11:54 AM
  #54  
Ess
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You should be glad, Sjoerd, that so few Americans are interested in traveling to Europe. You would be overrun with us! It seems that the few of us Americans who do travel outside the U.S. make a big enough impression? Besides, if Americans became more like Europeans, who would you have left to feel superior to? But seriously, I don't think there is any one reason why more Americans don't take an interest in foreign travel (no interest in/knowledge about foreign affairs and politics is even worse). Lack of leisure time, Puritanical attitudes, hemispherical isolation, spending priorities, general ignorance, etc., are all valid reasons. It's easy to say that most Americans are happy as long as there's a burger king nearby, and I wouldn't disagree with that 99% of the time. But if they've never known anything else, why would they take an interest in more refined pursuits? Maybe they put something in that McDonald's and Burger King food that makes Americans reluctant to expose themselves to Socialist cultures, while keeping us pacified with big SUV's and other stuff! Maybe that's where this inquiry should be headed, what percentage of Americans who travel outside the country eat fast food?
 
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 11:54 AM
  #55  
Robbie
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I have found this a very interesting forum for travel information. It has facinated me over and over again about how truely misinformed many European cultures are in accepting sterotypical information on all American's. Sjoerd I'am glad you and others ask questions about us in America and our way of life and our travel habits. It allows all of us who care to reply help break those often wrong sterotypical ideas that so many Europeans have of American's. 1) as many others above have noted we American's generally do not receive as generous a vacation plan as Europeans do 2) we all do not live in large houses, we are not all wealthy and all American's do not drive fancy cars <BR>3) we do indeed have a very large land mass to travel within our country 4) we are blessed with an awesome history of cultures who have brought their ethnic food and life styles with them 5) no we do not have the history in Architecture as some other countries do, but that is do to the youth of this Nation. 6) as others have noted above we have some of the most awe inspiring scenery in the world in our national parks. 7) we are one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. There is nothing bland about the U.S.A. 8) I traveled to Great Britain a couple of years ago and it was expensive. It cost me $ 1.69 to buy one British pound. It is often times cheaper for people from Europe to come to the U.S. then for us to go there. I look forward to traveling alot more in Europe. I am facinated by the people, architecture, food, language etc.. I am touched by the pride that alot of people in Europe have for their countries ie. Irish, Welsh, English, Scottish, and all others who have shared a wealth of information on this site. What I find so shocking is the way that many American's on this site are willing to bash their own country. The biggest answer to your question is travel as any other thing in life is very individual to that person no matter what country they are from. As noted above it reflects the individual tastes and is not a reflection of a country as a whole. As far as George W. Bush and his past travel habits, they are unimportant to me as an American. He is going to have a very hard job in his new presidency do to all the bad press and the election mess anyway. I would like him to be a good honest man who will lead this country in a respectable fashion. We have been the laughing stock of the world under Clinton I'am sure Bush can do alot better then that. Peace Sjoerd. Continue your travels and we will continue ours.
 
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 12:08 PM
  #56  
mark
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Robbie - you almost got it right if you hadn't Clinton bashed and talked up Bush (sounds as if you voted for him - which is your business). If you think Clinton was laughed at - wait till you see how the world treats the village idiot, GBush - his mommy and daddy can't buy him sophistication.
 
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 02:05 PM
  #57  
FLW
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Mark, I normally try to avoid calling names, but some of your grad-student comments show a real lack of sophistication and understanding -- just some glib judgments that you probably picked up from some idiotically glib professor with no sense of history. <BR> <BR>You could argue, for example, that the US has plenty of public spaces -- convention centers, malls, sports arenas, etc., just for more "American" functions. Sure I'd much rather be in Piazza San Marco than MallAmerica, but consider the original intention of each place. <BR> <BR>As to our architectural history, as you said we're a very young country but-- in spite of that -- we have created and inspired some definitive 20th c. commercial and domestic architecture. No, we don't "do" churches and palaces the way the Europeans did, but look at Chicago or any other American city for some masterpieces (and monsterpieces, too) of high-rise architecture. And look at F.L. Wright's work, that of his followers, or any issue of Architectural Digest. Sure, it's the moneyed class that gets the architecture, but that's not different from Europe. You can't compare contemporary Levittowns of cookie-cutter mixes of palladian and colonial styles with a genuine Tuscan villa. By the same token, you shouldn't forget the tenements of any European city when you start talking about how cheesy the average American townhouse is. <BR> <BR>Sjoerd, you've generalized enormously, as should be quite clear to you if it wasn't at first. There are a good many reasons why a)Americans travel more than you think they do and b)they don't travel, proportionately, as much as Europeans, and I think most of those reasons have been covered. Exex made some good points, among others.
 
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 03:27 PM
  #58  
youngster
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As a 24 year old recent college graduate who is going to Europe for the first time next month, I have to point out that I have been waiting for years to get to Europe, but I just now got enough money. I worked full time while getting my history degree, and I just now got enough money for 10 days in Italy. I have been on camping trips throughout the United States every year since birth. But when I got to those history classes and saw what I was missing, or should I say what the US was missing, I set my sights on getting to Europe as fast as I could. <BR> <BR>I truly feel that most Americans don't travel to other parts of the globe because they don't know what they're missing. Why would you want to go to Germany if you don't know its history? Lack of education is the problem.
 
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 03:33 PM
  #59  
Sheila
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57 answers and most from the US? You are all dear well-travelled Americans here (even if the travel is in your imagination).<BR><BR>But, one tiny non-sequitur. Robbie, it cost you $1.69 to buy a pound? And? They're not supposed to be 1 for 1, you know.<BR><BR>You would like Italy, if that's how you count. You get THOUSANDS of poinds for your dollar there
 
Old Dec 21st, 2000, 05:33 PM
  #60  
Andrea
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I am loving this thread! My experience tells me that for MOST of middle class America, travelling within the US is what they think of when they think of "travel," and overseas travel is for "other people." I have a couple of stories that I think illustrate my point. <BR> <BR>I have always known that I not only wanted to visit other countries but also to live in them to really experience a different way of life. In college, I spent a year abroad living in Geneva and Paris. When I returned, I went to our annual family reunion. (Interesting side note: the family reunion is the "big annual vacation" for most of my extended family members, and it's always a camping trip in the Northwest, where they all live). Anyway, everyone was really impressed that I had been living in Paris, but it sort of instantly made me an outsider, in a sense. One of those who TRAVELS. We all come from the same economic background, but this "travelling thing" instantly made it seem like I was somehow suddenly wealthier, and that my horizons and opportunities were more open than theirs (although, as I said, we all had roughly the same family income level). My cousin said to me: "Oh, I told all of my friends that I have a cousin living in Paris! (sigh, shaking her head wistfully) I would LOVE to go to Paris." I can guarantee that she never will. Not because she couldn't save up the money if she tried, but because travelling overseas is for "other" people. <BR> <BR>My husband and I are now living in Shanghai, China. My mom and her husband have been here twice (we've been here for 2 years), my husband's parents have been here once . . . but my dad won't come. He is just plain not interested in taking a 15 hour flight, and going to a country where he doesn't speak the language and chicken claw is considered a delicacy. It's not a money issue, either. Obviously he could stay with us, and we would cover most of the food (which is inexpensive anyway), and you can find special deals for about US $600 round trip, which is well within their means. He just has no desire to come. <BR> <BR>I can understand not having a place like China on your top interest list; there are certainly countries I'm not lining up to see. But it's hard for me to understand turning down such a unique opportunity (a family member is living there) to visit China, see the Great Wall, experience such a different culture, etc. It's just WAY beyond his horizon of things it would be possible for him to do. <BR> <BR>Based on reactions about our travels from co-workers and friends in the states, I think the two examples I gave represent pretty common attitudes among the 80-ish percent of Americans without passports.
 

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