I recently found the following article posted on Vagablogging a site dedicated to long-term travel. The author discusses the misconceptions of why we do, or do not, travel as much as citizens from other countries. Do you agree with what the author is suggesting? Please comment!
The world according to Americans. Photo posted by Switch
Although there are a lot of people in other developed countries who don’t travel, Americans tend to get singled out as the worst offenders. Backpackers love to repeat the statistic (myth?) of how few Americans hold passports as proof.
This article from Brave New Traveler, Are Americans afraid to travel? tackles this recurring phenomenon. In the comments, readers named some of the main obstacles to travel. Here are some of the usual suspects:
–U.S. media overstates the danger of foreign countries.
–Misconceptions about the cost of travel.
–Puritan work ethic discourages travel as a waste of time.
–Materialist culture encourages consumption over travel.
–Americans have less vacation time compared to Europeans.
–Americans have to spend more of their incomes on health care, education, and other social services, because the U.S. government provides fewer of these. This leaves less money for travel.
–America lacks the “gap year” culture that is popular in other countries, e.g. Australia.
I could go on forever, but I digress. When we eliminate the external factors like those previously stated, are Americans themselves just plain not interested in going outside their own country? (FYI: I’m American)
Would you say there are other developed countries who also have lots of people who don’t want to travel? I’ve had friends from countries other than America say that they also felt like outcasts back home for traveling.
On a more humorous note, some travelers have said they actually like the status quo. If even an extra 10 percent of the American population decided to travel abroad every year, that would be about 30 million more people clogging up planes and hotels. That’s the equivalent of almost the entire population of Canada hitting the road.
Worldwide tourism infrastructure could collapse under the demand of that many travelers. And would we really want to run into a hometown neighbor when we’ve climbed to the top of a mountain for that magical sunset?
So maybe we should just keep those exotic cultures and beautiful landscapes for ourselves? Just kidding! Posted by Marcus Sortijas