Why Don’t Americans Travel?

One of the reasons why I started the CORR Travel blog was due to the continual feedback I’ve received from people in my country when I talk with them about my travels.  Feedback such as, “Oh, I wish I could go to…” or, “I don’t have the money (or time) to go to….”.  No matter how I try to convince them that with some planning and time they can travel, I fear many don’t follow through. So, why don’t Americans travel more?

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Now, that is not to say it’s their fault.  I’m fortunate in that I’m single so planning and setting off on a trip is a little easier for me than most.  Still, I haven’t had as much time as I would have liked to travel throughout the years.  Life happens.  Our employment changes.  We relocate.  Family issues arise. 

In short, things just come up to block our intended travel goals.  It also doesn’t help that we Americans have so little paid vacation days per year, if any, making it next to impossible to take a nice – much needed – getaway.  And I mean a getaway longer than a 3-day weekend.

Vacation Days in the U.S.A.

In fact, Americans are left very far behind in paid time off compared to most other industrialized nations.  USA Today did a nice article with a chart showing how far behind the U.S. is:  Americans get only 10 combined paid vacation and holiday time off compared to 13 days in Mexico to 37 days in the U.K.!   From the study provided in that article, “28 million Americans don’t get any paid vacation or paid holidays.”

If you really want to make your stomach to turn, look at Wikipedia’s chart on world nations’ minimum annual leave.  Check out the one and only country with a “0” in the right-hand column.  The U.S. is a great country, but this is a black eye on our nation.  Americans work too hard for too little return, but don’t get me started on that…

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In short, CNBC has confirmed what most of us Americans already know – if you’ve been at the typical full-time position for at least one year, the average vacation days in the U.S. is 10 days.  Lame! If you have worked at the same company for five years (sometimes it’s 3 years) you get 15 days.  Wooooo.  If you happen to have worked 20 years at a company (who does that anymore?) you get 20 vacation days. Wow wee!  You’ve probably retired by now!

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Why am I bringing this up?  Is this to gain sympathy from those from other countries who may be saying, “You poor Americans”?  Am I trying to make you ill?  No. Quite simply, travel is my passion.  I am an advocate for travel, and I hear those of you out there who are trying to figure out how to travel more – or just start traveling.

Many don’t place a priority on traveling and that is just A-OK.  The top three reasons I continually hear why people who want to travel but don’t is:  lack of time, lack of money, and/or they are afraid to go alone, either because they are single or their friends or significant other don’t want to go anywhere.

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Reasons Americans Don't Travel

No Time to Travel?

I feel you on the lack of time.  I know how a job situation can prohibit you from fulfilling your travel dreams. I truly do.  I’ve quit jobs to travel.  Why?  I had my priorities and, hey, some jobs can be replaced. Am I advocating you quit your job?  No.  Can I try to convince you to travel with your current job.  Yes!  Perhaps you really do have that vacation time but are afraid to use it because your boss not supportive or for other reasons?  There are ways to tackle this and get the benefits of taking vacation time.

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No Money to Travel?

I feel you on the lack of money.  I have been that broke college student.  I have been that person working three jobs so I can have a little fun.  I have spent over a year on multiple occasions prioritizing my extra funds into my savings account for atrip.  I wish I had a dollar for all of the days I’ve spent saving traveling money.  That right there could probably pay for a vacation.  Don’t be thinking all of my travel is first class.  That would be nice all of the time, yes, but going budget is better than not going at all, right?  If need be, I do provide budget tips on my individual Global Destination pages or in some of my travel blogs, like 5 Basic Tips for the Novice International Tourist.  Feel better knowing you can afford it?

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Afraid to Travel Solo?

I don’t feel you on the not going because you’re “solo”, however.  If you truly want to make travel a priority, then you will find a way.  Am I advocating you dump your significant other because he/she doesn’t want to travel?  Well…  No, absolutely not.  What I will say is that I hope you will not make that an excuse not to go yourself. 

Have you ever gone to the movies by yourself?  Have you eaten out by yourself?  Have you taken a drive, a bus or train ride, or a flight by yourself?  Then, yes, you can travel by yourself! What’s the difference?  There are many blogs out there promoting solo travel.  But let me just lay it out here once and for all:  solo travel is no big deal.  I do it all the time and, as I’ve stated before, you never end up being completely alone. 

If you’re still not convinced, my individual Global Destination pages and blogs also offer solo / female travel tips or advice.  If you’re still not convinced, read some of the many solo travel blogs out there, like TravelSmarter’s.  Are you convinced yet?

Are You Ready to Travel?

Are you hearing a theme here?  Yes, and it’s called “priority”.  If you truly want to travel then you have to make it a priority.  It’s really that simple.   Yes, we have to pay our bills. Yes, we may live in a country that blows when it comes to lack of paid time off.  Folks, these are really just excuses.  If travel is a priority then it’s a plan that can come to fruition.  Stick with me kid, and let’s see how I can entice you to make travel a priority.  You only live once!

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Gwen is the Founder of CORR Travel and a global traveler and photographer with over 25 years of solo travel experience. She is also the Founder of the www.CORRConcepts.com sustainability blog. Travel is her passion and environmental sustainability and biodiversity protection is her "religion".

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