February 7th, 2011

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

I found this CNN article ,which outlines the key reasons why Americans don’t travel internationally, to be extremely interesting and on the money. The key fact is that only 30% of Americans have passports compared to 60% of Canadians.  While the US and Canada are two very different countries, I have to agree that 30% is a pretty low number considering the wealth and educational opportunities afforded to so many of the American people.

The article outlines four major points when delving into the reasons why Americans don’t travel more:

1) We work too much. Seriously. A lot of the people who can afford to travel internationally just want to spend time at home when they have time off.
2) Most people have little to no vacation. Having two measly weeks of vacation doesn’t leave much time once you factor in holiday travel to see family. I feel blessed to have four weeks, but that pales in comparison to the 6+ weeks that is the norm in Europe.
3) International travel is expensive and our government doesn’t make it easy for us. Just getting a passport is $165, which isn’t an insignificant amount of money. I traveled to Brazil and Argentina recently and both governments have instituted reciprocity fees to retaliate against what the US government charges their citizens. Collectively I had to shell out $280 – just for visas.
4) The media makes the world out to be a perilous place. This reminds me of my recent trip to Rio, where I actually found myself surprised it wasn’t more treacherous, given all I had ‘heard’! Sure there are dicey areas and you need to be smart (just like when traveling anywhere else), but it wasn’t nearly as dangerous as it’s made out to be.  The same goes with Columbia … the impression Americans have of this country is that it’s made up of nothing but drug cartels and kidnappings – giving no justice to such a vibrant destination, full of diverse offerings.

While I can understand the article’s reasons, I don’t think it’s okay to have such a stagnant status quo in the United States. The most visited international destination for Americans shouldn’t be Tijuana, Mexico. Seeing the world has transformed me as a person and as a citizen and I think America would benefit by encouraging its people to travel, work, and study abroad.

I find this topic particularly close to heart as I am about to book my summer trip. My hope is to visit Scotland, Paris, Normandy, Amsterdam, Bangkok, and either Chiang Mai or Siem Reap or Ho Chi Minh (torn between the three and my time is somewhat limited). I go to sleep at night pondering the options and envisioning the interesting experiences I’m sure to have. I feel very fortunate to be able to do all of this travel in comfort and with relative small cost – thanks to my miles and points. I can only imagine how many more people would travel internationally if they understood the points game – you really don’t have to be a millionaire to travel like one!

The Platinum Card® from American Express

While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 a year for baggage fees and more at one airline. Terms Apply.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations worldwide. Terms Apply.
  • Enroll to enjoy the benefits of complimentary Hilton HHonors™ Gold Status with your Platinum Card.®
  • No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.