The United States does not have the colonial legacy of European nations, which to this day still influences motivations, notions, and choices about international travel.
Americans have never had to go overseas (or cross borders even) to attain freedom/education/get a job/make money/seek their fortunes/improve their lot in life/etc. like MANY from the European continent did when they came to America and still do.
The US is a massive fucking country with great cultural and geographic diversity and is bordered by two other massive fucking countries... and it is separated from other continents by thousands of miles of vast ocean.
It is simply not financially possible for the great majority of Americans to travel internationally.
And even with a vastly different history and geography that does not translate to international travel anywhere near as readily as it does in Europe...
117 MILLION Americans own current passports. Sure, that is a minority considering the nation has 300 MILLION people, but it still means that roughly 40 MILLION more Americans have passports for foreign travel than the largest nation in Europe has total people. Are all of those 117 MILLION passport holder going all the way across an ocean? No, a significant percentage of them are going to Canada and Mexico and other nearby nations -- just like how Europeans travel mainly among the bordering nations in Europe.
US government and corporations have done more to push a global agenda and a contemporary vision of the world than any other nation BY FAR. More American business travelers (meaning private, public, ngo, non-profit, etc.) have traveled to more foreign nations and have maintained a presence in those nations than any other country's business travelers BY FAR.
Also, the US has the 3rd most international departures, after Germany and the UK (which both are small in size and population compared to the US and also adjacent to many other nations). 3rd most because the US is such a large nation? Sure, but that still means a hell of a lot of Americans are traveling internationally, if it has the 3rd most departures to foreign destinations.
The US, in its young history relative to Europe, has always been a place where people come TO, not go FROM. The best and brightest from all over Europe came to the US in the last century to pursue their endeavors in science, business, technology, the arts, etc... remember that. It has a lot to do with the travel and settlement trends that have been present and that we still continue to see -- the whole "Land of Opportunity" thing was not and still is not a myth. Though America is maturing and we are seeing more and more Americans going abroad and living abroad for work at global enterprises -- further poking holes in this notion that Americans don't travel overseas (the US has .
Lastly, it seems to me that many of the wonderful international photo threads on the forum are quite often created by Americans. I think the notion that "Americans don't travel" is a vast generalization with roots in the questionable relevance of per capita numbers, ignorance, and jealousy.
Oh yeah, one more thing... USA, fuck yeah!