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Why Don’tAmericans Travel Internationally?
In Enlighten, favorites, Featured, On The Road by NatashaDecember 29, 2015Leave a Comment


“Danke,” the cashier says to me as I walk away with my groceries from one ofthe supermarkets in Turkey.


I am not German.And despite the name Natasha, I am not Russian either.


Then I must befrom Scandinavia, Australia, or The Netherlands. Nope, Nope, Nope. I go onto tell them I am from the United States.


Usually, the country does not register until Ifinally just say “America.” Most of the time I get a cheerful andfriendly response, once in a while I will get resentment. But more often than not Iwill just get confusion.


“Wow, Americans never come here,” or “Oh, we don’t meet many Americans traveling.”


Actually, in amajority of my travels, I have only met a small handful of fellow Americans.Now, maybe I am just staying at the wrong places, but for the most part, I amsurrounded by all the other nationalities of the world besides my own.


So what is it? Whyam I never guessed to be an American? Why is it so surprising that I amtraveling?


So Why Don’tAmericans Travel Internationally?


We have so muchto offer in our own country


This one is easyand is always my first line of defense.  The US is one massive country.Not only is it gigantic, but it is diverse. You can literally go from buildinga snowman in 20° weather to sipping pina colada’s in the Florida Keys all within a 3-hourflight – no currency exchanges, no red eye flights.

这个很容易理解,而且这还是我们固有的一道心里防线。  美国疆域辽阔、地大物博。3个小时前,你可能还在零下6度的地方堆着雪人,3小时后,你就可以回到佛罗里达的家里品着小酒了(果汁朗姆酒)。无需去换货币。无需赶红眼航班。

We haveextremely pricey passports


Obtaining apassport isn’t exactly cheap. At $135 we have the fifthmost expensive passport in the world. That may not seem like a lot to somepeople, but keep in mind that takes 19 hours of work at minimum wage. I’m no expert, so where all these fees aregoing to make this 5 by 3.5-inch blue book is a mystery to me.


We are led tobelieve that international travel is expensive


Beyond thatwhopping $135 for a passport, international travel can be extremelyinexpensive. However, we are shown that traveling is for the rich, andadvertisements lead us to believe that travel is for people living theextravagant lifestyle enjoying a private villa in the French Polynesia. The number one question I get asked is “Howcan you afford to travel like you do?” Some research and a visit to the World Wide Web willtell you that travel can be incredibly cheap. Most days, we travel on a budgetof less than $35 a day – and yes that is including parts of Western Europe! Traveling doesn’t have to mean fancy meals and privatetaxis. Put your purchases on credit cards to rack up airlinemiles, sleep in hostels, travel during the off-season, or do a Workaway ina foreign country.  If we can do it, so can you.

除了那高达135美元的护照,出国旅游实际是很便宜的。可不管怎样,大家都认为,旅游是为富人准备的,(旅游)广告让人相信,旅游就应该是住法式私人别墅,享受奢侈生活。可问题来了,试问“谁能消受得起这种方式的旅游?”,一些研究和网上调查会告诉你,旅游其实可以是很便宜的。多数时候,我们每天旅游的花费才不到35美元,没错,包括在西欧的某些地区也没问题。旅游并不意味着要吃大餐,租豪车。用信用卡购物可以换到飞行里程点数,住小旅店,在旅游淡季出游,或是在国外打零工。只有你想不到 没有你做不到。


We aren’t givenvacation time


The average amountof paid vacation time is 2 weeks. According to Forbes, the United States is the onlyadvanced economy that does not require employers to provide paid vacation time.To make it worse, Forbes explains that 1-in-4 Americans do not receive any paidvacation or paid holidays. I have friends in France that enjoy more than anentire month of vacation! It’s time Americans received the time off that they work for, and deserve.And while you’re at it, Uncle Sam, we could use paidmaternity leave and adequate health care coverage.


We don’t useour vacation time


That’s right, the 3-in-4 Americans that do receivepaid vacation time fail to even use it! Oh my lordy, are we that committed towork that we can’t even take some time to enjoy ourselves?The U.S. Travel Association found that the average American fails to use even 5vacation days a year.  By not taking these days off, Americans areessentially paying their employer to be at work. The result?America becomes an overworked, overstressed, and ultimately unhealthy society.


We are in someserious debt


Students inAmerica are facing a major debt issue. I know many people, and personal friendsof mine, would love to travel, but are so crippled by the enormous amount ofdebt they raked in pursuing a degree that they simply cannot afford it.According to another article by Forbes, America is suffering from over $1 trillion instudent loan debt, surpassing credit card debt. Holy.Cow.


We are scared


We live in a nationof fear. We are just scared, and of what I’m not quite sure. Every time I leave for a trip myparents get nervous for my safety.  This is confusing to me consideringmass shootings are becoming the daily norm in the U.S. The most notable placesI recall being unsafe are in America. In most foreign countries 99% of thepeople are friendly, and just going about their daily lives. Thepolice in the U.K. do not even carry guns, and the last person murdered inIceland was in 2013. The world is not on the brink of destruction, and neveronce in the 40+ countries I traveled to so far, have I ever feltthreatened.


We are justplain old ignorant


Regardless offacts, there are people that preach nothing but red, white, and blue. I am notknocking my country, for there are many things I love about it; However, we canbe an ignorant bunch. The media is partially at fault all, what we see inthe U.S. is sensationalized news. World news is only covered if it directlyaffects us negatively, or is some mass tragedy. When I turn on Al Jazeera, EuroNews, or BBC News while abroad, I actually see WORLD news.  It’s embarrassing when I travel and foreignersknow the latest American politics, but I couldn’t tell you the latest in their home country. There isa serious lack of information about the world affairs in the United States. Weseem to be in an isolated bubble, where Americans are afraid of the unknown, oreven worse just don’t care. I’ve met Americans that can’t locate Australia on a map, warned me not to get soldinto sex slavery in Thailand, and come across a few that think Tokyo is thecapital of China.


We think youhave to speak the language


The only languageI can speak fluently is English. It’s embarrassing, and I am making strides to improvethis. But guess what – it gets me around. I didn’t speak Turkish in Turkey, Spanish in Ecuador, orJapanese in Japan (okay, that was a tough one). However, I lived! I did morethan just live, I got from point A to point B, I bought things at the grocerystore, and just today I got a haircut in Italy with no common language spokenbetween me and the stylist. Like a large majority of Americans, I am fortunateenough to be a native speaker of English, the international language. It’s always respectful, and fun to learn atleast a few words of the language of whatever country you’re in, but English is prent around theworld. If you really can’t figure it out, turn to Google.




So if you are anAmerican that wants to travel abroad, get out there! I want to stop explainingto other nationalities why we don’t travel. Guys, the time is now – currently,the dollar is strong, the internet makes it so easy, and I promise it’s notscary.