Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

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There is an interesting article that has been featured on the travel page at CNN recently.  It is titled “Why more Americans don’t travel abroad.”  In the article it cites that only 30% of Americans have a passport compared to 60% for Canada and 75% for Britain.  In this post here are five reasons why Americans should travel abroad.

Thailand near the Myanmar border

Thailand near the Myanmar border

CNN article: Why Americans do not travel

Five reasons why Americans should travel abroad

1.  Show the rest of the world that Americans are good people

I would say that 80-90% of the world’s population is made up of decent human beings.  Stating that Americans are good people is kind of redundant because most of the world’s population is the same; however, when Americans stay at home and do not travel then the rest of the world might forget this fact.

If we stay at home then the world will rely on the few Americans that do travel, media perceptions, or even worse from the policies of our government to form their opinions about us.  Most of the Americans that do travel are good people also, so the first instance should not be a problem unless that person is a jerk.  If they are a jerk then there are not enough other Americans traveling to help offset the few bad seeds.

2.  Bring back a broader perspective

Rick Steves wrote a whole book about this called “Travel as a Political Act.”  The more we travel outside of our country the more informed we are about the world and about different cultures.  The lack of travel might be one reason why many are so apathetic when it comes to our political views.  More Americans need to experience different cultures and experiences outside Florida, Las Vegas, and places like Acapulco in Mexico.


Buddhist Monks on top of Phnom Bakheng at Angkor Wat, Cambodia


Silly entertainment on a booze cruise in Nha Trang, Vietnam

3.  Become more charitable

America is widely known as a very charitable nation.  When disasters like a tsunami or an earthquake hit the world can always rely on the generosity of many Americans.  If more Americans traveled overseas then that beneficial spirit would increase.  Those that travel abroad see how lucky we are and would feel the need to be even more giving.

Americans travel abroad

Reasons why Americans should travel abroad – Adorable children living along the Perfume River in Vietnam

When in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the bartender told me she makes $14.00 USD a month.  She closed the bar at around 10pm and probably got home around 11pm.  When I was leaving the city and waiting for a bus I saw her arrive to work at 7am.  For those that think she probably makes double that with her tips think again.  As I left I gave her a $1.00 tip.  She picked it up and looked at it confusedly.  I told her it was a tip.  Her befuddled reaction indicated she was not used to tips.


Children looking for hand outs at the Killing Field memorial outside Phnom Penh, Cambodia

On my trip through Southeast Asia there were hundreds of examples of this kind of poverty.  We have a lot of poverty in our own country.  The great aspect about giving to causes outside our own country is it fosters goodwill and a little money goes a long way in countries like Cambodia and countries in Africa.

4.  See that we are lucky to have what we have

Watching the demonstrations in Egypt I cannot help but think how lucky we are.  They are demonstrating and risking their lives for rights that our country has had for hundreds of years.  It is great to be American, but many take this fact for granted.

5.  Gain confidence from the adventure

Traveling overseas is a grand adventure.  Planning, executing, and having a great time overseas takes some courage, but it is not as difficult as one thinks.  After the trip is over the adventurer becomes emboldened by the experience and wants more.  This same feeling of confidence cannot be attained by driving to Florida or flying to Las Vegas.


Reasons why Americans should travel abroad – The Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand

These are just five good reasons for Americans to travel, but there are hundreds of other reasons why we or anyone should travel. Please feel free to name a few more in the comment section if you have a good one you would like to share.

Adventure on!

The goal of Traveling Ted is to inspire people to outdoor adventure travel and then provide tips on where and how to go. If you liked this post then sign up for the email newsletter. Notifications are sent out once or twice a month with what is new with Traveling Ted’s adventures. There is no spam and email information will not be shared. Other e-follow options include Facebook (click on the like box to the right) or twitter (click on the pretty bird on the rainbow above).