According to the following article from the Huffington Post American people don’t travel much internationally for a number of reasons such as:

We have so much to offer in our own country This one is easy and is always my first line of defense. The U.S. is one massive country. Not only is it gigantic, but it is diverse.

We have extremely pricey passports Obtaining a passport isn't exactly cheap. At $135, we have the fifth most expensive passport in the world. That may not seem like a lot to some people, but keep in mind that takes 19 hours of work at minimum wage.

We aren't given vacation time The average amount of paid vacation time is two weeks. According to Forbes, the United States is the only advanced economy that does not require employers to provide paid vacation time. To make it worse, Forbes explains that nearly 1-in-4 Americans do not receive any paid vacation or paid holidays.

We don't use our vacation time That's right, the nearly 3-in-4 Americans that do receive paid vacation time fail to even use it! Oh my, are we that committed to work that we can't even take some time to enjoy ourselves?

We think you have to speak the language The only language I can speak fluently is English. It's embarrassing and I hate to admit it, but it does get me around the world.

Other sources appear to support the same view, as psychology.com for instance:

Five Reasons Why Americans Don’t Often Leave America

On a different note is The Telegraph which says:

But do not be deceived by the relatively low percentage of US passports holders. For the 42 per cent that do have passports use them - and frequently. One in five of all long-haul travellers has a US passport.

Are Americans far less likely to travel to foreign countries that the residents of other comparable western countries?

  • 4
    I mean, compared to Europeans I wouldn't be surprised. Americans traveling to another country usually need to fly, whereas Europeans can travel to another country in a day trip. What is "rarely" in this case? In comparison to all other countries? In comparison to developed countries?
    – DenisS
    Oct 19 '18 at 19:58
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    You can drive to Canada or Mexico overland, although the distances can still be large. I live in a border state (Minnesota), and if you're in mainland Europe and are as far from the nearest national border as I am, you're in Russia. Oct 19 '18 at 20:35
  • @DavidThornley - you mean that Americans don’t travel internationally much because of distances? A lot of Europeans fly within Europe but also overseas, to America, Asia etc. and the same is true for Asian people, despite distances.
    – user
    Oct 19 '18 at 20:41
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    The claim here isn't clear. "Rarely" is opinion-based. The Telegraph illustrates that different choices of metrics (Do you have a passport? Did you leave the country? On average, how often does an American travel?) have different answers.
    – Oddthinking
    Oct 19 '18 at 21:42
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    @user070221 OP asked specifically about travel. What people "care about" is much harder to define. But even then, you can control for geography: American caring about European events is equivalent to European caring Asia, and not a to German caring about France.
    – Bald Bear
    Oct 22 '18 at 18:59


In 2016 less US Americans travelled abroad (~67 millions) than foreigners who visited the US (69 millions). I couldn't find information how many visitors of those 69 millions visited US with business purposes but this number cannot be larger than the number of tourists all over the globe who traveled abroad but not into the US in any country.

France alone had more than 80 million foreign tourists in 2013 and just about 3 millions of them were from the USA (source). This means that there are more foreign tourists in France than Americans who traveled abroad.

I assume that the statistics doesn't differ much in period between 2013 and 2016.

  • 6
    These comparisons are meaningless.
    – Oddthinking
    Oct 19 '18 at 23:44
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    Do you have any more relevant statistics that show Americans travel abroad significantly less than other nationalities? Our definitions of rare must be different, because a fifth of the US traveling abroad makes it seem like a pretty common thing for Americans to do.
    – Giter
    Oct 20 '18 at 1:27
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    @Michaelk: why compare to those countries? You are cherry picking.
    – Oddthinking
    Oct 20 '18 at 22:54
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    This answer demonstrates that a higher proportion of US citizens traveedl outside the US than non US citizens traveled to the US in 2016 and that more international travelers visited France in 2013, but, as @Oddthinking suggests, those statistics don't have much to do with the question.
    – De Novo
    Oct 21 '18 at 0:43
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    @DeNovo: "This answer demonstrates that a higher proportion" - no, it demonstrates a higher absolute number, not proportion, which is one of the reasons it is meaningless.
    – Oddthinking
    Oct 21 '18 at 0:57

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