According to the State Department, only 36% of Americans have a valid passport. 60% of Canadian and 75% of British and Australian citizens hold passports.
Although Americans are the 2nd most well-traveled citizens per year, averaging 6.7 trips, that travel is almost exclusively within the U.S. Only about 20% of Americans travel internationally and the top 3 most visited countries are Mexico, Canada, and the UK.
The U.S. is geographically the 3rd largest country in the world, tied with China, and has a huge diversity of weather, geology, and culture. Traveling within the U.S. is much less expensive – both airfare and driving – and much less time consuming than flying to international destinations. The two exceptions to that are Mexico and Canada so you can see why they are the top 2 most visited countries.
Passport stamp envy and superiority can be felt between Americans and citizens of European nations. Stop and give this some thought though. There are 50 European countries from Iceland to Ukraine, most of which can be visited by Europeans very easily and inexpensively by car, train, and plane. It allows citizens of European countries to much more easily and rapidly collect passport stamps. It’s roughly equivalent to Americans visiting all 50 states – we just do it without getting passport stamps.
With all that being said, I highly encourage my fellow Americans to deliberately plan and save for regular international travel. Although we are a melting pot of cultures in the States, there is nothing like spending time in other parts of the world that have such long and rich histories and cultures.
Here are some resources to help you plan for your international adventures:
- International Travel Resources
- International Travel Itinerary for Friends and Family
- International Travel To Do Checklist
- International Flight Tips
- Off the Grid: Why Americans Don’t Travel Abroad
- Daily Mail article: The world’s most well-travelled nations revealed