There are a lot of reasons why Americans don’t travel. Some people say it’s because Americans are narrow-minded, while others say they are afraid to leave their comfort zones. However, there are many reasons! Americans are some of the most hardworking people in the world. They often work long hours and have very little free time. Americans do not get as much paid time off as other countries, and it’s not a cultural norm for Americans to travel the same as other cultures.

Why Don't Americans Travel

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The Surprising Reasons Why Americans Don’t Travel

Paid Time Off Is Not A Federal Requirement

The United States is a part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Of the 38 members, the U.S. is the only OECD country that does not provide a statutory minimum annual leave entitlement for employees at a federal level. What this means is companies have the choice to provide annual paid time off – it is not required.  While many organizations provide their employees 10 to 15 days of paid leave on top of the 10 holidays, it’s not required.

They Don’t Have The Time 

One of the biggest reasons Americans don’t travel is that they feel like they don’t have the time. Americans take an average of ten days off a year – one of the world’s lowest amounts of time off. For example, this is four times lower than Austria. Even more surprising is that most ten days are National holidays vs. annual leave.

Even for those that do get paid time off, it’s not uncommon for American’s not to take their paid leave. It’s also common for Americans to lose their paid time off because they do not use it.

They Don’t Know Where To Travel To

One of the main reasons Americans don’t travel more is that they don’t know where to go. According to a Harris Poll, 60% of respondents said that a lack of knowledge about destinations keeps them from traveling more.

When Americans do travel, they tend to travel domestically vs. internationally.

They’re Afraid To Travel 

It’s estimated that 70% of Americans don’t have a passport, which means they’re missing out on experiences in other countries. For many people, flying or getting lost in a foreign place is too scary.

So why don’t more Americans travel? The fear of flying, the fear of potential political unrest, and the fear of language barriers. The list goes on. Even the fear of getting lost keeps them from traveling more to other countries.

Then there’s the fear of what happens if something goes wrong. Lots of Americans will openly tell you they feel safer on American soil.

They Don’t Have A Passport Or Visa

As mentioned earlier, most Americans don’t travel because they don’t have a passport. Even fewer have visas or understand visa requirements for different countries.

There are various reasons why American citizens don’t have passports or visas. For some, the cost and hassle of acquiring the documents may seem not worth the effort, especially if they don’t have any immediate plans to travel outside the United States.

Others may not know they need a passport or visa to travel to certain countries. Still, others may worry about losing their documents or having them stolen abroad. However, not having a passport or visa can severely limit one’s ability to travel internationally.

I’ve lived in the U.S. for over twenty years and am consistently surprised by how many Americans do not have a passport. 

If you don’t have a passport, here’s how you expedite the process.

American Travel

They Don’t Speak The Language

Perhaps the number one reason why Americans don’t travel. Americans feel like they need to know the local language to communicate with people, which can be a massive barrier to entry for many people.

However, there are plenty of ways to get around this. There are translation apps that can help you communicate in different languages, and plenty of people speak English worldwide.

Don’t let the fear of not knowing the local language stop you from traveling. There are ways to work around it, and you’ll be able to communicate with people just fine.

Can’t Afford To Travel

One reason that’s commonly cited is not having enough money to travel. I’ve heard this time and time again from people. Yet, travel can be really inexpensive if you know how to plan appropriately.

For example, you can earn credit card points for free travel, buy or rent timeshares, and have endless deals to be had.  You can start a savings account that’s designated as a travel fund. Or, pay a deposit on a trip and pay it monthly.  It’s all about making it a priority, not an afterthought. 

Here are some simple strategies to overcome the perception that travel is out of reach:

They Don’t Have The Right Clothes

There is a misconception that you need specific attire for travel – an additional cost. And this is further compounded by concerns around cultural attire. For example, do you need to cover your head if traveling to Dubai? FYI – you don’t unless you visit a mosque.

If you are trekking or climbing mountains, you need hiking boots. Likewise, if you are traveling to a place with a different climate, you will need different clothing. You will need formal attire if you are cruising and plan to attend a formal event.

This said, in general, except for some counties, you can dress as you would anywhere. And, it’s very easy to assess clothing attire long before you travel.

Afraid To Drive Overseas

Many countries do not drive on the right side. This is intimidating to many. Add to this that some countries require an international driving license.

Driving abroad is exciting and gives you freedom, but it’s not required. You can hire a driver anywhere in the world. Or, you can join group tours. 

They’re Afraid Of Getting Sick

With all of the news of diseases and outbreaks, it’s no wonder that people are hesitant to leave the safety of their homes. However, there are some simple steps that you can take to reduce your risk of getting sick while traveling. First, make sure to get vaccinated before you go. It will help protect you from diseases common in other parts of the world.

Second, practice good hygiene while you’re on the go. It means washing your hands often and avoiding contact with anyone sick. Taking these precautions will make you less likely to get sick while traveling. So don’t let your fear of getting sick keep you from seeing the world. Get out there and explore!

Don’t Want To Leave Their Comfort Zone

It’s no secret that Americans love their comfort zones. We like our big houses, familiar routines, and comfortable lives. And when it comes to travel, we’re often content to stay close to home.

Why is that? Part of it may be because we live in such a big country with so much to see. There’s no need to travel far when there’s so much to explore in our backyard.

But I think there’s more to it than that. I think Americans are hesitant to travel because they don’t want to leave their comfort zone.

Why Americans Don't Travel

They’re Just Plain Old Scared

Some Americans may feel they need a passport to travel internationally, which can be daunting and expensive. Others might not have the means to travel or feel like staying local. But for many Americans, the reason they don’t travel is much simpler: they’re just plain old scared.

According to a study by Allianz Global Assistance, 26 percent of Americans surveyed said they don’t travel because they’re afraid of something happening to them while away from home. That fear is likely driven by the 24-hour news cycle, which often focuses on terrorism and natural disaster stories.

Closing Thoughts 

These are just some of the reasons why Americans don’t travel. Some are afraid of the unknown, some don’t have the right information, and others are just plain old scared. However, there are ways to overcome these obstacles and see the world.

There are plenty of ways to travel on a budget, and with careful planning, you can find the time to fit in a trip or two each year to your one-stop destinations.

So don’t let these excuses hold you back any longer. So don’t let anything stop you from exploring all our planet offers. Get out there and start traveling!

What are your thoughts? Why don’t you think Americans travel as much as people from other countries? Let us know in the comments below!

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