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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 2:54 AM
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Aside from visiting the US, are most Canadians particularly "well travelled"?

A common stereotype is that Americans don't really travel much outside their borders, and many don't have passports.

If you take Canadians by contrast, many more have travelled across a border but it's partly because the US border is just so close. As the other thread in this forum mentioned, it was rare for Canadians to have never crossed this border.

However, once you set aside this one factor (the US-Canada border being much closer to Canadians than Americans), is the "not well travelled" stereotype no more true for Canadians than Americans.

For example, do Canadians travel on average more to Europe, Asia, South America or Africa than Americans do?

There might be one factor that Canadians have a higher percentage of first generation immigrants than Americans do (so foreign-born Canadians by definition had to have travelled to cross a border).

But once you take away these two factors (closeness to the US border, and higher % foreign born that had travelled from, if not to the origin country), are most Canadians no more well travelled either by American standards or by other western countries' standards like Australians, Brits, Europeans, etc.?
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 3:13 AM
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In general, I would say no - I've met lots of people here, in the Maritimes, Ontario, and Manitoba who aren't particularly well-traveled. However, I've met very few people who aren't conscious of the world.

I think living in the shadow of a country as dominant as the United States gives people an instinctive understanding that there is a world, as opposed to being from and living in that dominant country. Just today jeddy1989's fiance (they're living and working in Prague right now) was bitching about an argument he had with an American client who told him the phone number provided for the United Kingdom was wrong because it didn't start with 1-800. The client, even after being told repeatedly, simply could not grasp that other countries would require different number codes.

That sort of thing you don't encounter much in Canada, even in its hickest parts. But that doesn't mean they're particularly well-traveled.

The rest of it, that's a very complicated class thing. It's like when the government here encourages people to go see Come From Away on Broadway (literally happened, several times) - that exemplifies a class divide. Half the population here hasn't even heard of it. And the other half can go to New York City for a weekend and check it out.

And then there's history. Even the old, illiterate people are intimately familiar with Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Russia, etc. if only from having met thousands of them while they were in port. The work-boot wearing day labourer here probably spent, all totaled, two decades in New York City, Dubai, and wherever else. I'm am very, very often impressed by the far-off places our lowest, working class is very familiar with.

As always, Mary Walsh sums it up best - this one from her piece about growing up in the newly-Canadian-and-pissed-about-it St. John's of the 1950s.

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I don’t remember meeting or seeing any other Canadians. There were Portuguese, Spaniards, Russians, Poles, Americans off the ship, and you’d see them down on Water Street. But in school, except for Janet, it was just basically us. The us sprang, as the great Newfoundland satirist Ray Guy put it, from a genetic pool the size of a pudding bowl.

My next encounter with Canadians didn’t go much better.
http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/...hings-canadian
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 3:36 AM
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In general, I would say no - I've met lots of people here, in the Maritimes, Ontario, and Manitoba who aren't particularly well-traveled. However, I've met very few people who aren't conscious of the world.

...
Define well travelled? I heard a piece on the radio yesterday about Newfoundlanders who typically had never even gone to their neighbouring towns five miles away, years ago (probably before roads), and I have heard stories of this being typical a hundred years ago. Today, most NLers I know have travelled overseas, although like everywhere, there is class, educational, and monetary divide. Most people I know in the west have also travelled internationally, or often are actually from far away places.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 4:02 AM
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Hmm... I suppose to me well-traveled is visting outside of your home province, and beyond any directly adjacent province/country, routinely and, in total, to a wide variety of different places.

My Mom, for example, has spent at least two months each on six continents. Dad has been all over Asia. All three of us have been all over Canada, the United States, Caribbean, Europe, etc. I think we'd qualify as well-traveled.

My maternal grandmother was to Ireland, Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre shrine in Quebec, and Boston. To my knowledge, that's it. My paternal grandmother grew up in Scotland, and has been to London, Halifax, and Newfoundland - all on her trip over here after WWII. I wouldn't consider either of them well-traveled. But they are definitely wordly. My maternal one, in particular, had an Oprah-level reputation for insight and wisdom in her neighbourhood. And my paternal one, although her views are outdated (she's even said "Bolsheviks" as though they were still a thing), the views are there.

I couldn't compare them to people I know who have been to more places but could talk for hours about what the neighbour woman chose for curtains, who went to Europe and searched for a McDonald's or something familiar so they could get something to eat.

There's a certain understanding of the world, and appreciation for your home, that you get from being well-traveled that you can also acquire without the travel. So it's three layers for me. Worldly traveled, worldy, and... insular, restricted, confined, however you want to describe it.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 4:08 AM
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I actually have my own personal armchair theory that is kind of related to this. For starters, consider that every single country has a certain number of high-level positions - the number of which does not vary much regardless of country size. Take ambassadors for example. Say you need 200 ambassadors because there are 200 countries in the world. You don't necessarily need more ambassadors just because you are Brazil as opposed to Iceland. And yet because of population size this still means that 1 out of every million Brazilians gets to be an ambassador to a foreign country, compared to maybe 1 in every 1000 Icelanders. And so it goes for any number of prestigious positions (that often provide opportunities for travel) within a given country. Sure, a large country like Brazil or the U.S. offers many different positions beyond the federal level because of state governments, etc., but it is still doesn't mean they come anywhere close to the lower ratios you find in smaller countries.

(Of course, the larger countries tend to offer much greater economic opportunities, but this is not what we are discussing here.)

Could it be that small* really is beautiful?

*Canada of course is ''small'' when compared to the U.S.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 4:17 AM
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I actually have my own personal armchair theory that is kind of related to this. For starters, consider that every single country has a certain number of high-level positions - the number of which does not vary much regardless of country size. Take ambassadors for example. Say you need 200 ambassadors because there are 200 countries in the world. You don't necessarily need more ambassadors just because you are Brazil as opposed to Iceland. And yet because of population size this still means that 1 out of every million Brazilians gets to be an ambassador to a foreign country, compared to maybe 1 in every 1000 Icelanders. And so it goes for any number of prestigious positions (that often provide opportunities for travel) within a given country. Sure, a large country like Brazil or the U.S. offers many different positions beyond the federal level because of state governments, etc., but it is still doesn't mean they come anywhere close to the lower ratios you find in smaller countries.

(Of course, the larger countries tend to offer much greater economic opportunities, but this is not what we are discussing here.)

Could it be that small* really is beautiful?

*Canada of course is ''small'' when compared to the U.S.
But those who travel don't necessarily have to be ambassadors or high level political figures who are travellers, they could be business travellers.

I'd imagine that smaller countries have a high ratio of ambassadors or public figures who travel for political reasons, to the country as a whole, but it may not necessarily be tied to more travelling business or salespeople who travel internationally as a percentage of population.

Perhaps another measure could be how much a country relies on other countries economically in terms of trade?

A country where more business is done internally and there's large enough internal markets (eg. American companies that fly workers from Seattle to NYC, more often than from Seattle to Toronto, or Seattle to Hong Kong) probably has less travellers than one where people are travelling overseas on business because they need to deal with external markets.

Then again, that probably correlates to size too. Big countries are more likely to be self-reliant economically.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 4:29 AM
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Canadians probably also travel more to see landscapes not present in their country (eg. tropical places), while Americans have less of a need to.

When it comes to cultural tourism or interest in other country's historical sites, I'm not sure whether or not Canadians are more interested in them or not.

Are Canadian students more likely to go backpacking in Europe/Southeast Asia etc. than Americans or do the gap year thing? Europeans and Australians do this (take a break between high school and university/college) probably more often than either North American country.

Are Canadians more interested in "roots tourism"? For example, Irish-Canadians visiting Ireland any more than Irish Americans. I know that Canada has more first-generation immigrants than the US, but many American first-generation immigrants are Mexican origin, and Mexico and the US are a lot closer than Canadian immigrants' homelands. I'm not sure if Mexican-Americans are more likely to travel to Mexico than Chinese-Canadians to China, for instance.

Are Canadians more likely to have the means to travel? Americans are wealthier than Canadians, but I hear it claimed that Americans have less vacation time on average, so it's a wash.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 8:01 AM
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A lot of people from BC have travelled to parts of Asia like Thailand and or Australia, I think those are more common than those that travel to Europe.

Loads go to Mexico or Cuba but only for a week long stay at a resort. I don't know if you could call that "travel" so much as a Vacation.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 3:09 PM
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It has always been my understanding that Canadians are more likely to hold a passport and more likely to travel abroad that are citizens of the USA. I wouldn't describe Canadians in general as particularly well travelled, however. Canadians do seem to travel to many of the major sun destinations in proportionately greater numbers than citizens of the USA. I don't know whether that also holds true for European and other destinations.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 3:19 PM
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Also keep in mind that there's much more to see in the United States than any other country. For example...Russia, Canada and China may all be bigger than the United States, but half of those countries are covered in ice, taiga or cold desert.

In the United States, on the other hand, you can visit the tropics by visiting Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands; you can visit the desert by visiting Arizona, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico; you can visit the plains by visiting Kansas; the mountains by visiting Colorado. I think you get my point. There's a lot more to "see" in the US so Americans might not even feel compelled to leave their country considering there's so much to see at home. If we Canadians wanted to go to the beach for 1 week in January, we'd have no choice but to leave the country. Americans, on the other hand, can travel domestically to other one of their sun destinations.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 4:31 PM
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Also keep in mind that there's much more to see in the United States than any other country. For example...Russia, Canada and China may all be bigger than the United States, but half of those countries are covered in ice, taiga or cold desert.

In the United States, on the other hand, you can visit the tropics by visiting Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands; you can visit the desert by visiting Arizona, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico; you can visit the plains by visiting Kansas; the mountains by visiting Colorado. I think you get my point. There's a lot more to "see" in the US so Americans might not even feel compelled to leave their country considering there's so much to see at home. If we Canadians wanted to go to the beach for 1 week in January, we'd have no choice but to leave the country. Americans, on the other hand, can travel domestically to other one of their sun destinations.
Not to mention how cheap it is to travel within the US. I've seen personally how that's sometimes a barrier to Americans deciding to travel internationally, including to Canada. Always sad to compare it to Canadian domestic airfare costs. I tried to buy a ticket from Saskatoon to Winnipeg last December about 5 days before I was going to fly to see a friend for a night, but quickly shelved that plan when it was going to be more than $500...in comparison I got a Denver to Orlando flight earlier this year for $88 booked less than 12 hours before I flew.

I've always been marvelled at the fact that you can go to a small Canadian city that has relatively few domestic connections, but amazing access to Mexico and the Caribbean!
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 4:37 PM
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My friends and colleagues here in BC are in Europe a lot these days, increasingly so since Trump became president. I'm quite surprised by how often I see friends planning travel to Spain, the UK, Italy, Greece, Germany and Scandinavia. There's still the frequent getaways to Mexico, Palm Springs and Hawaii, but European travels seems way up as is the ease of getting to Europe from YVR.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 4:57 PM
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It has always been my understanding that Canadians are more likely to hold a passport and more likely to travel abroad that are citizens of the USA. I wouldn't describe Canadians in general as particularly well travelled, however. Canadians do seem to travel to many of the major sun destinations in proportionately greater numbers than citizens of the USA. I don't know whether that also holds true for European and other destinations.
I'd agree with this.

The obstacle to Canadians travelling beyond Canada/US/sun destinations (by which I mean resorts) is distance. That, and North America offers a lot to do from a leisure point of view. What Canada/US/sun destinations don't really offer is lots cultural variety (notable exceptions - Quebec and Mexico). I can fly across a continent and blend in like a local. The weather might be nicer, but my cultural horizons won't be particularly expanded in Los Angeles.

Europeans can take a short hop by train or plane and be somewhere that's completely different.

Aussies/Kiwis are the notable exception to the idea that distance is isolating. Maybe they're more adventurous, or maybe they lack an equivalent to something like the US next to them keeping them closer.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 5:37 PM
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I think Canadians are fairly well traveled given where we live: a large country physically separated from any other country in the world except the US by oceans and/or long, expensive flights.

The reasons people cite make sense. Despite its size, traveling within Canada is relatively unappealing because:

1. it's not cheaper than traveling overseas;
2. it's not necessarily less time-consuming to travel to another part of Canada than it is to travel from a Canadian city with good international flight connections to a major world metropolis.
3. it's culturally quite homogeneous even across 4,000 km distances, and there is little element of exoticism;
4. the winter climate is some variation of awful across the entire 9 million square kilometer land mass. A significant portion of the population in all regions wants to escape this, and no part of Canada provides respite from winter.

The United States doesn't have problem 1,2 or 4.

Another possible reason why Americans may be less well traveled is that fewer young Americans can afford to spend a year backpacking around after college. Many more Americans need to get a full time job right away to pay back larger student debts, and to obtain employer-provided healthcare benefits.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 6:08 PM
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Americans are wealthier than Canadians, but I hear it claimed that Americans have less vacation time on average, so it's a wash.
I'd question that Americans are wealthier than Canadians. On average that's true, but that's because their wealth is more concentrated with the upper class while they have a smaller middle class and larger lower class than most advanced economies. Going by median, Canadians have slightly lower incomes and higher wealth than Americans. And we apparently have the richest middle class in the world. It would appear that most industrialized countries have spent the last several decades catching up to the US or surpassing them in terms of median wealth, including Canada.

So in other words, just because average wealth is higher in the US, that doesn't mean that the average American is richer.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 6:56 PM
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Reminds me of this chart published by the New York Times that came out a few years ago. It shows that in 2010 Canadian median income caught US median income for the first time. Analysts argued that Canadian median income moved ahead after that to become the world's new #1.


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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 7:15 PM
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My folks have had the luxury of being able to travel extensively in the last ten years since my dad retired. They've been through Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East twice, Africa, South America among other places. They usually go for two months at a time and travel through multiple countries. I hope that once we are able that we can travel like that

A lot of family friends have done the same. It seems that many retired Canadians who have the means like to travel a lot
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 7:25 PM
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Reminds me of this chart published by the New York Times that came out a few years ago. It shows that in 2010 Canadian median income caught US median income for the first time. Analysts argued that Canadian median income moved ahead after that to become the world's new #1.
I think it is true that Canada has a more equitable distribution of incomes and is close enough to the US that it's easy to imagine that poor and middle class people may be better off, while the upper class in the US is much better off.

Then again we have a much bigger credit bubble in Canada right now, whereas the US was in the middle of deleveraging in 2010 when you see that decline in the chart. What will happen to spending and incomes in Canada when houses stop shooting up in value and people stop treating them like ATMs?

Our purchasing power in Canada may also be lower. A lot of things cost much more here. Then again, health care and education are probably more affordable, and they are important expenses.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 7:29 PM
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... are most Canadians no more well travelled either by American standards or by other western countries' standards like Australians, Brits, Europeans, etc.?
Obviously Europeans and Brits are going to be more well-travelled than Canadians, Australians and Americans. For most people you can spit in the air over there and if the wind's right it will land in another country.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2017, 8:55 PM
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Obviously Europeans and Brits are going to be more well-travelled than Canadians, Australians and Americans. For most people you can spit in the air over there and if the wind's right it will land in another country.
Yes although how do you weight visiting Amsterdam from France compared to a trip to the Grand Canyon from Atlanta?

One reason why Canadians don't travel as much is that airfare is unusually expensive here. YYZ has at times had the highest landing fees in the world (sometimes #2 after Tokyo Narita, to put things in perspective). On top of that we have a somewhat bad highway network and a really bad passenger rail network.

Another reason is that many Canadians get 2 or 3 weeks off per year at work. We're just slightly better than the US, and much worse than most developed countries for time off. In the UK a lot of workers get over 30 days of paid annual leave, and the minimum entitlement is 28 days. In Austria it's 38-43 days. In the US it's 0 days, and a lot of people with bad jobs really don't get any time off (and get fired after 3 strikes if they miss work).
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