Some Americans have mixed feelings about international travel (Photo: Thinkstock)
by Kyle Rothenberg
If you haven’t taken a vacation outside the country lately, you’re not alone. According to a new survey conducted by Skift.com, only 13 percent of Americans traveled abroad in the past year.
Out of those who did go overseas, more than 75 percent make more than $100,000 a year, according to the survey.
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“A big consideration for Americans is whether they can afford to travel internationally. And right now the dollar is pretty weak,” said George Loewenstein, professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University.
Other factors like high ticket prices and safety concerns are keeping people close to home.
“It’s not a safe thing to do. Not right now. With wars all across the Middle East and all around the world, you got to be careful when you leave the United States,” said Mississippi resident Dennis Miller.“What’s over there for me?”
Yet, traveling abroad isn’t just about exploring an exotic land.
Leonardo Villalón, dean of the International Center at the University of Florida, says international travel is very important because it exposes people to different cultures.
“It makes you a better human being in the end — to recognize other human beings — and the way other human beings live, what their priorities are, what they eat, how they dance, how they sing, how they pray, how they work — whatever they do,” said Villalón.
Whether you travel domestically or internationally, research shows a correlation between traveling and success in life.
A study conducted by the U.S. Travel Association reports students who traveled were more likely to be academically and financially successful. Adults who took an educational trip when they were between 12-18 years old earn 12 percent greater personal income, and were more likely to attain a college degree.
Why some Americans aren’t traveling (Photo: Thinkstock)
Traveling also positively affects employee performance.
Employees who take most or all of their vacation days perform better compared with employees who take less vacation, according to a study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management. And according to a Transamerica Center for Retirement Study, 80 percent of people believe travel improves their general mood and outlook toward life.
According to the Skift survey, the younger group (18-25) had traveled more internationally in the last year, which could be attributed to possibly college trips.
Villalón said there is a push to get students to see more of the world.
“Virtually every university in the United States has over the last decade or two — especially in the last few years — really ratcheted up the importance of the idea of studying abroad as part of the learning experience for students,” said Villalón.
Also of note, about 8 percent of those surveyed said they traveled internationally, but more than a year ago.
So the upshot is, while there is interest in an international vacation, getting there can be tough for many Americans.