Do many Americans go outside the USA?

There are just so so many things to see here in the U.S! I have traveled abroad and enjoyed it thoroughly, and would like to see a lot more, but frankly, a lot of U.S. destinations are a lot higher on my list.

I am dying to visit my cousin who lives in Florence, Italy. And I can think of about 407 other foreign destinations I would love to go to. (I love to travel.) But if I had the time & the dough & the opportunity, I’d first go to
-New Orleans
-Puerto Rico
-Key West
-Las Vegas
-And many other places I can’t think of at the moment.

Within the last 4 years, I’ve been to:
-San Francisco & Yosemite
-Grand Canyon & other parts of Arizona
-All over central Idaho

And among my favorite short-trip destinations:
-Washington D.C. (4 hour drive)
-New England Coast, especially Maine (4-10 hour drive)
-Western Massachusetts and Vermont (4-8 hour drive)
-The Hamptons (3 hour drive)

I guess my point is that many Americans, even those who are comfortable with foreign travel, who have the time, and who have the money (the Grand Canyon and Idaho trips were very expensive and time-consuming) prefer to visit U.S. destinations.

Well, Broomstick, as for the weird customs, the idea was the perception american could have about foreign countries. A frenchman is likely to have made school trips, for instance in some foreign country, hence would be less uncomfortable with the concept of travelling there by himself. Also, he would know out of experience, that very likely he will be able to survive in a non french speaking place.
And once again, that were the comments I often read from american travellers, not my owns.
Concerning the second link, here’s the page :

My c/p was from the “facts and figures” part.

Don’t the Canadians hear you. They do, after all, occupy the majority of North America.

The largest incorporated city in the USA, if I’m not mistaken, is the combined city & borough of Sitka, at 7463 – or about 3 times the size of Luxembourg, FWIW. The largest county is the North Slope Borough, at 230,000 – nearly the size of Romania or Great Britain.

In short: Canada is huge, Alaska is big, and Texas is merely large.

Actually, it was 20%. It being deceptive or not depends on what you want to know. For some reason (I don’t know which), the number of valid passports seemed relevant to me, but indeed it’s irrelevant if what you want to know is how many people travelled to a foreign country at some point in their live.

And concerning the passport being used as an ID internally, it could be the case in some countries, I don’t know. At least here, though the passport could be used as an ID, there are specific Identity cards, so I don’t think many people would carry around their cumbersome passports. And it would makes no sense to pay for a passport just to use it as an ID. So, I think the number of passport issued would be representative of the number of people who actually travelled outside the EU.

I made a quick search concerning France, but couldn’t find any relevant info (though I could tell you how many passports were issued in 1886, and how many where issued in the town of Albi last year…web searches are often frustrating)


I know there was an NBC newsguy once who reportedly referred to “Uzbekistain, Tajikistan and, uh, all those other Stans”. It can seem sometimes as though Americans are a “don’t travel, won’t travel” sort of people. I don’t believe that they alone deserve that reputation though. In any country, only the upper socio-economic groups engage in world travel anyway - it’s always been like that. My grandfather went to World War 1 and my father went to World War 2 and that’s the only time they ever left their home country. World travel is still expensive. The costs rate up there with once in a lifetime things like land, houses, cars, education etc.

Not unless North America ends at the Rio Grande. Canada occupies maybe 45% of North America, which isn’t a “majority.”

You forgot Mexico, see. And Central America isn’t another continent.

*Originally posted by Opengrave *

Austria - slightly smaller than Maine
Belgium - about the size of Maryland
Bosnia and Herzegovina - slightly smaller than West Virginia
Bulgaria - slightly larger than Tennessee
Czech Republic - slightly smaller than South Carolina
Denmarkslightly less than twice the size of Massachusetts
Finland - slightly smaller than Montana
France - slightly less than twice the size of Colorado
Germany - slightly smaller than Montana
Hungary - slightly smaller than Indiana
Ireland - slightly larger than West Virginia
Italy - slightly larger than Arizona
Liechtenstein - about 0.9 times the size of Washington, DC
Netherlands - slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey
Norway - slightly larger than New Mexico
Romania - slightly smaller than Oregon
Russia - slightly less than 1.8 times the size of the US
Spain - slightly more than twice the size of Oregon
Sweden - slightly larger than California
Switzerland - slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey
Turkey - slightly larger than Texas
United Kingdom - slightly smaller than Oregon

sooo ( with the exception of France,Spain,Russia) all these countries are less than half the size of Alaska?

This distance calculator comes in handy if you want to compare the relative scales of Europe and the U.S.
It’s a trip of 2795 km from Cecil’s home in Chicago, Illinois to Seattle, Washington. That’s further than the trip from London to Moscow, 2508 km, and about the same as the 2835 km London to Ankara jaunt.
The trip from New York to L.A. at 3961 km is nearly as long as that from London to Baghdad, 4103 km.

So I haven’t read the cites and/or any analysis of why people of different nationalities travel or don’t. I’m an American and I’ve been all over the world and was never rich. It was just a priority of mine. I think most Americans could travel if they really wanted to. Is it true that distance, in this age of air travel, is such an obstacle? In my travels around the world, I ran into Australians everywhere. Australia is also a very large country, and I would suspect it is even more expensive to travel from than the US is. Any theories/facts about this?

If you drew a histogram of the annual incomes of Americans spending significant amounts of time abroad, I expect you’d get a huge binomial distribution with peaks at the far ends of the scale. Lots of rich people and lots of hostel-dwelling backpackers and very little in between. I imagine you’d get the same type of distribution if you mapped the same group of expatriates in terms of average age. Middle-aged, middle class people may not have the money, time (teaching Engish to pay for airfare), or inclination (what with kids at home) to spend a lot of time abroad.

Correction: No passport is required to travel between EU countries that are party to the Schengen Agreement. You will definitely need to show a passport if you travel from one of these countries to the UK or Ireland, although if it’s an EU passport you will usually just be waved through.

I don’t think so. There are no border control at all between Schengen countries. And between Schengen countries and countries which aren’t part of the treaty, a passport isn’t necessary. Any ID will do.

That may be the case when entering a Schengen country from the UK or Ireland, but not in the reverse. To enter the UK or Ireland from another country you must show a passport.


Don’t forget that many Americans travel without a passport wile in the military. When I was staioned in Germany I traveled to East Germany, Italy, France,UK and Amsterdam. And wile in Korea I had the chance to go to Japan, Philipeans and Thiland. I have also lived in 5 different states and have visited about a dozen others.

I have traveled to Canada (1), Mexico (3), Japan (1), Okinawa (1), China (1) and South America (5) and will be traveling again to South America in October of this year. :slight_smile: All of the previous visits were for pleasure.

I disagree strongly with the statement above. I believe that “where there is a will there’s a way.” If someone really wants to travel there are sites like Hotwire & Priceline that are supposed to be cheap for airfare, but one must be flexible. There are many package deals offered from U.S. to other countries during off season. I believe Cathay airlines had a great $999 fare for a bunch of Asian destinations – like a hop on, hop off air travel deal for a period of time.

But I know some Americans who would rather dump their money (& time) into real estate & other “security” items. One of my friends knows that I love traveling everywhere, & even after I tell her how she can afford to travel to Europe, especially because she lives on the U.S. east coast, she says she will have to wait until she’s “old” to travel. Very sad to me because it seems that as people age they may have more medical problems, not to mention possibly dying from accidents, etc.

I’m like Jillcat here.

I think this is turning into IMHO. ~ Interesting thread.

Priceline is most certainly not cheap. Their “name your own price” gimmick is little more than a scheme to trick people into paying more than the tickets are worth. Here’s what Edward Hasbrouck’s Airline Ticket Consolidators FAQ has to say on the matter:

With the likes of William Shatner constantly duping Americans into overpaying airfares, it’s no wonder many of them perceive travel as too expensive.

Contradicting cite from the Irish tourism board :

"Citizens of European Union states and Switzerland may use a passport ** or national identity card **

All other nationalities must have a passport"