07 July 2012

Why Many Americans Don't Hold A Passport


Some Europeans are shocked that less than half of American citizens hold a passport
(I've heard as few as 38%)

It is quite expensive to travel abroad from the US
and the passport application is not cheap




Those who do travel abroad often make 
Mexico or London their first international trip
depending on where they live in the US

Many Americans don't live near an international airport
so traveling abroad can include 2 layovers
making traveling cumbersome

With the United States almost as large as Europe
most travel desires can be fulfilled within the country


Anyone else find this funny?


Wanting world class surfing? Travel to Hawaii
Warm beaches? Lots of coastline from which to choose
Desert? American Southwest
Snow skiing? Rocky Mountains
Northern lights and igloos? Alaska
Beautiful national parks in every state
Native American ruins? Mesa Verde
Historical colonial village? Williamsburg
Museums? Smithsonian
Amusement parks? Orlando
Fashion and culture? LA and NYC





Would most Americans like to travel abroad?
Sure

But you can see that one could be a tourist in the US for a lifetime
for a lot less wonga and no jet lag

- all photos by me -

*wonga = money (my new favorite word)

Linking to Life On Planet Baby

39 comments:

greenthumb said...

We always found it so funny when we went to vist with our American relatives they always said how far Australia was for them to come to us, but not for us to vist them.

Romy said...

We're sold! A family roadtrip to the US of A is high on our agenda....travelling from Tasmania it will still take us 20 hours of travelling as opposed to 36 hours to Europe and we can speak english yet still be challengd by food and culture.....can't wait! Rx

Cupcake Crazy Gem said...

I love this! Even though I'm English I always defend Americans when people pass judgement on their lack of travel outside of their own country for exactly the reasons you've stated above!!! That would be like us making fun of Brits who had never travelled outside of Europe and there's plenty of those around too!

Formerly known as Frau said...

Once you travel abroad it's in your blood and hard not to keep coming back. My first trip to Europe was London and Paris...there is a ton of the USA I haven't seen. Now that we are soon to be paying University tuition, our trips will be more US based. Have a wonderful weekend!

Softie said...

You are correct. It is exactly the same thing. probably all of us would like to travel abroad more often it is just the fact that is so expensive whether from Europe to USA or vice versa!

Pondside said...

What you've said applies to Canada too - except we have far fewer airports than the US. Many friends in Europe don't understand why I see my grandchildren only a few times a year - Well, they live across the continent!

Kia said...

Interesting post. :)
We lived for two years in the USA and we agree there are many fab things to see.
What's shocking for us is that many Americans have never gone to another State or, even worse, outside their own town.
Also, traveling abroad is not only interesting for what you can see, but for the different languages and cultures you enter in contact with.

TexWisGirl said...

very true. we have almost everything here within our own bounds. and until recent years, canada and mexico didn't require passports either.

Minerva Black the shoppe keeping cat said...

I agree totally with you, and it is nice to have someone say this. When I left the US to travel many years ago (and never went home) I was unusual amongst my age group. I was able to take extended periods off from work, many in the US get only one week, or two at most. Which in reality does not justify the expense of travel to Europe. As you say, the US is a massive (and very diverse) country and there are so many things to do there that a passport does not seem a necessity as it is in Europe where other countries and cultures beckon.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

To be fair, I'd say practically all Americans have traveled outside their town for school field trips and sporting events at the very least. I'd say 99% of Americans have traveled to bordering states unless living in Hawaii or Alaska.

Ola said...

but still, I would love to see the world outside USA if I were a citizen:)
Blog about life and travelling
Blog about cooking

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

Ha! So true. We've traveled to Italy and there were two layovers and I forget how many hours to get there. You are right about all the places to see within our own borders. I had to giggle at that Lotawatah sign. It's fun to say!

Jenny Woolf said...

There is a lot to be said for that!

Pom Pom said...

I did not have a passport until four year ago when I went all over Asia and Australia. We went to Canada a lot when we were children but you didn't need a passport then and now you do.
You're right. The USA has it all. I love my country for that.
We went up to Vail a while ago, and I definitely was reminded of its international appeal. It's so gorgeous.

beetree said...

We are very blessed to be in a country that is so geographically diverse. Just in California alone, you could drive the state and see mountains, deserts, beaches, lakes, red wood forests, gold mines, orchards, and big city fashion/industry. Experiencing other countries and cultures is an amazing thing to do as well, but like others have mentioned, the expense and lack of vacation time is a huge factor in why more people don't travel abroad. Make the best of wherever you are and EXPLORE! There is so much to see and learn!

Gesci said...

I've had English friends make two distinctly different comments to me- 1. "Americans don't ever leave America, they think it's so great and don't even have passports." or 2. "Why would you leave America, you've got everything you could ever want to see there!" I laugh, but both are good points! What surprised me the most here is that before we came, I expected New York to be the #1 destination for U.K. travel to the States. It took me a good while to get over the shock of Florida/Disney World being the #1, and Vegas being #2! Oh, and I've had a few people tell me that Denny's is the best food they've ever had... uhhh... okay?!

Anne said...

On the other side of the coin, I'm often amazed with how much more of the US my German friends and colleagues have seen than most Americans! But rarely does an American get a vacation longer than 1 week to spend driving up a coast... Now we dream of having a month off and traveling our own country like a German tourist!

Kia said...

Then apparently most of the people my hubby and I met in San Francisco, NY, Washington DC and Cape Cod were "strange". :)

Emily Golding said...

Your blog is so cool! Thanks for stopping by mine...so glad you did, so I could find yours!

Amanda (Small Acorns) said...

Hi Laura,
Lovely to find your blog! And I'm sure it's true - when you have a country as huge and as diverse as the USA, it's nice to explore your own country before thinking about going elsewhere. New Zealand is such a long way from almost everywhere, that we seem to be born travellers, always ready to explore!
kind wishes
Amanda x
PS yes, 9 - it's a great age! Still little enough to be little, but worldly wise and funny with it!

Barbara said...

It took my mother three layovers and nearly 24 hours to come and spend Christmas with us abroad last year. It is definitely more cumbersome and expensive to travel abroad from the US. You are right, however, there is so much to see within the US.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

You are so right - I had forgotten about being able to cross the border without passports.

Ali said...

After a decade in this country I can confidently say that if we can EVER get the chance emigrate back to Canada, I won't need a passport ever again. Reason: there's no place like home. I know some expats are happy in the U.K., but unfortunately I'm not one of them.

However I am loving your blog. It's nice to see the country from another non-Brit's perspective.

Ali x

Mary Timmers said...

Laura, Personally I think a lot of Americans don't travel overseas because they're afraid. Afraid they won't be able to communicate (although all the Europeans I've met all wanted to practice their English on us) We've traveled all over Europe and England, and never encountered unfriendliness or hostility. But I think this is another thing that many Americans are afraid of. If you educate yourself and are wise, all you need to do is learn a few phrases of the language, and smile and make eye contact. In an million years, my first choice would to be to travel outside the U S!

likeschocolate said...

As others have stated...So true! However, I can't imagine life without seeing Europe at least once. So many amazing things to see that you just can't see in the states with deep historical meaning. Let alone the amazing food. We do have some great food in the states, but Strawberries taste like strawberries and melon is not woody. I had most amazing cantaloupe the other day. So juicy! So sweet!

Happy Homemaker UK said...

I'd love it if my husband could take a month off too :) So much we could see and do

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

I have a passport but I think it's about to expire, and I won't renew it for now - too expensive! With 3 young boys, it's kind of unlikely I'd travel out of the country anytime soon!

Thanks for following - will try to reciprocate - your followers aren't popping up right now so I may have to check back. Sometimes that happens for some reason.

lisaroyhandbags said...

Overseas flights are horribly expensive and when you've got such a vast and beautiful country in your own backyard, it seems silly not to explore it :)

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I traveled around Europe when I was single. Now that I have a family we are staying in the States.

musicmatty said...

As i come from the UK i have done a lot of traveling .I have also met a lot of Americans on my travels to.

Kate and Russ said...

All very excellent points. It's really no different than the many Brits who haven't been to Ireland or Scotland...

paisleysummer said...

Just about everywhere is a long way from Australia, but I hope i get to the Grand Canyon one day!
Penny x

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Ha! I have to admit I haven't made it to the Grand Canyon yet, so I hope to as well :)

Mother Down Under said...

So true!
Add to all of that the fact that most Americans only get two weeks of vacation time a year and you can basically rule out any travel that takes a few days and involves jet lag...for example Australia!
And of course the astronomical debt that most Americans rack up going to college makes expensive overseas a bit of an indulgence.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

You're right, that short vacation time really gets in the way of long distance travel :) It takes us quite a few days to be totally functional due to jet lag - and that's just between the US and England - I can't even imagine from Australia (24 hrs travel from the UK).

Gina said...

I think the lack of vacation time off work must have a huge impact on how far people want to travel to get to where they can chill out. If you only get 2 weeks off you don't want to lose time travelling.

Jane said...

Thanks so much for linking this up with the POTMC, Laura - it's something I've always pondered. And you've explained it so beautifully. Bravo! J x

Liene said...

Great choice of post for the PotMC! I've been lucky enough to have a passport from a young age, but I've always wondered about the people that hve never left their state, much less the country!

Ann Spencer said...

As much as I love the US, my eyes were opened to a lot more when we lived in Germany 3 years. I loved experiencing the new cultures as we had the opportunity to travel around Europe while my husband served in the Army. I was surprised at the families who hardly went off the military base, much less traveled to other countries. I loved taking my guide book and exploring, sometimes with just my 2 kids on the train. I think some are just afraid to leave their comfort zone -- strange food, strange language, strange money -- lots of things they didn't understand. Back in the states for 20 years now, and I'd love to go back -- but the expense is just too much now. So I will follow your blog and see it thru your eyes!