Americans and their passports… or lack thereof

Every single day of my life, I think about travel all day. I think about traveling when I eat my breakfast cereal. I think about traveling while I read travel books and travel blogs. I think about traveling while running… you get the idea. I feel that such a huge portion of who I am has to do with the places I visited and the lessons I have learned while being away from home.

Worth mentioning is that when I compare my amount of passport stamps with that of other travel-lovers, I am usually embarrassed. In the community of online travel bloggers, I have probably visited the least amount of countries as compared to other people who write travel blogs. After a cursory tally, I have visited approximately 19 countries outside of the US, and this, for a travel blogger, seems to be a low amount, at least from what I can tell.

The following links put certain things into perspective for me. While I am on the low end in the community of travel bloggers in terms of number of countries traveled, I am on the high end as compared to other Americans. Interestingly enough, I grew up in New Jersey, the state with the largest percentage of passport holders– approximately 68%. Either life in New Jersey loans a global mindset to its inhabitants, or it makes us want to get out! Either way…

When one types in a Google search regarding passport holdership in the US, these blogs come up, most of them sporting the same image of the 50 states with a breakdown of passport percentages by state:

http://blog.cgpgrey.com/how-many-americans-have-a-passport-the-percentages-state-by-state/

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/03/passport-ownership-percentage-by-us-state/

http://www.upgradetravelbetter.com/2011/03/08/which-americans-have-passports-and-which-americans-dont/

The blogs to which I have provided links address a lot of theories as to why so few Americans have passports, such as the high cost of obtaining a passport, the relatively recent development that a passport is required for travel between Canada, US, and Mexico, and the correlation, if any, between public education funding in a state and its percentage of passport holders. A touchy topic also came up in some of the comments regarding whether Americans are “outward thinking” or have a narrower life focus.

While I found a lot of the comments and conversation threads interesting, I posted about this topic simply to show that we travel junkies are really a rare breed. The fact is, my thoughts in every entire day of my life are totally consumed by planning the next trip or dreaming up an adventure abroad. It looks like this is not an American trend. I’m glad I saw these websites, because I really was not aware of these statistics.

One Comment on “Americans and their passports… or lack thereof”

  1. Bill April 1, 2011 at 11:25 #

    I believe that Literacy and Economics plays a significant role in Passport Ownership.

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