Survey: Percent of Americans Who’ve Never Flown, Traveled Outside Their Birth State or Owned Luggage

by SharonKurheg

When you travel a lot, be it for business or pleasure, it might become difficult to remember that not everyone is as fortunate. I’m not talking about “pausing” travel due to COVID. I mean, well, would you believe that eleven percent of Americans have never even traveled outside the state where they were born? Read on for some more interesting statistics…

Commissioned by Victorinox (manufacturers of luggage and Swiss Army Knives), a marketing research study of 2,000 Americans was conducted via survey to get an idea of U.S. citizens’ travel experiences and to find out why people didn’t travel more.

The results were pretty surprising and might even explain a little bit about why Americans have some knowledge gaps about the rest of the world. Take a look…

  • 11% percent of the respondents have never traveled outside of the state where they were born.
  • 54% of those who were surveyed have visited 10 states or less.
  • 13% of the people who took the survey said they had never flown in a plane.
  • 40% of respondents reported that they had never left the country (but 63% of those said that an international trip would cost more than they could afford. 25% said they can’t find the time to travel. But three-quarters of them would like to travel more than they do).
  • Over half of those surveyed said they’ve never owned a passport (note: Until 2009, U.S. citizens didn’t need a passport to enter Canada or Mexico, or to go on a cruise, which might have something to do with those numbers. I suspect that percentage will go down over the years.).
  • 76% of the people who took the survey said they would like to travel more than they do, but don’t because of finances, trepidation, lack of time, etc.

Because the sponsor was Victorinox, there were, not surprisingly, several questions about luggage, as well:

  • 60% of the respondents said that size and function were the most important qualities of luggage (with weight limitations for the past several years, I would think that how heavy a bag is would be up there, but I guess not).
  • 32% of those surveyed said they don’t remember ever buying luggage.
  • 30% of the people who answered the survey said they hadn’t bought new luggage in six or more years (Hey, my Samsonite Silhouette 5 EZ Cart lasted me almost 20 years! Oh, how I LOVED that bag…).
  • 13% of those who were surveyed don’t own luggage of any kind.

And the response that I personally found the most interesting? 10% of the people surveyed said they have no interest in going anywhere. Now, I’m sitting here thinking how cool it is that I’ve been able to go to all these places in the U.S. and around the world, met people from so many different corners of the globe, and got to learn about them and how the same and different we all are…and 10% of Americans (assuming the 2,000 people are an adequate representation of the country as a whole) have no interest in going anywhere? I know it’s different strokes for different folks but….wow. Y’know?

A spokesperson for Victorinox said:

“The results show that the vast majority of people have the desire to travel more but just haven’t quite been able to make the leap yet.”

“There is so much to see and explore, not just internationally but domestically as well, and it’s remarkable to see that so many people feel unprepared or don’t have the travel luggage that enables them to pack up and set off.”

“Given how many respondents strongly desire to venture out into the world, we fully understand the need to provide reasonable and dependable travel solutions for new travelers.”

The survey was originally conducted in 2017 and it looks as if it’s been picked up by one or more members of the media nearly every year or so, ever since. But, of course, the numbers always reflect back to the 2017 survey. Personally, I would LOVE to see if and how those numbers have changed since the pandemic. Is there any sort of a “You only live once” change of heart that would lead people to travel more? Did “revenge travel” ever hit those people? Did those who quit their jobs as part of the Great American Resignation have more time and enough money, and therefore more inclined to travel? Hey, Victorinox, it would be a great follow-up!

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John rogerson May 8, 2019 - 3:55 am

The U.S. is bigger than all of Europe excluding Russia. Travel is so easy in Europe when 30 countries countries are so close to each other via plane or high speed train. Morocco and Egypt with the pyramids or Israel or Jordan is just a hop away. Given the geography a lot of people opt for Mexico, Hawaii and the Caribbean with Costa Rica also gaining popularity.

Getting to Europe is easy enough although a pain if not in J from the east coast. But if you are not located in a major city things get difficult.

SharonKurheg May 8, 2019 - 10:30 am

I 100% agree. I think all the reasons why Americans don’t travel as much could be its own survey 😉

Theresa November 7, 2020 - 7:09 pm

I wonder how many people have a fear of flying? I had an aunt who travelled cross-country with her husband many times but would not get on a plane.

8 expenses to cut out for more travel – The Nomadic Scribbler March 25, 2021 - 3:39 pm

[…] sales in the travel sector are rapidly increasing, the data shows that 76% of people who want to travel opt-out because of financial hardships, which is why I […]

Alexandra Komisar February 13, 2022 - 8:51 am

Actually I think if you surveyed people from rural areas and red states the number that do not travel would be much higher

SharonKurheg February 13, 2022 - 9:26 am

They didn’t specify either way. But I’m sure there are people from lots of demographics – rural, suburban and urban, as well as red, blue and purple states, that have never traveled outside the country.

Tom February 13, 2022 - 3:26 pm

I found that international trips are often cheaper than trips in the United States. Most expensive places I’ve stayed were in the US. The best places were overseas. People need to look at the total cost of a trip and not just the airline prices. Though I am going to Hawaii and the prices to Europe are so much cheaper in all cateogries.

RantOver June 25, 2023 - 8:46 pm

My mother who does not travel and never did travel bought a nice suitcase from someone for cheap. Brand new. And she wouldn’t even give it to me or allow me to even buy it from her. Saying she is going to use it one day. When she’s had it for like 5 years.

derek July 8, 2023 - 10:11 pm

The cost of a passport is too high. I wrote a paper as a high school student when the passport office ran a surplus but don’t know the current cost of producing a passport. In most countries, the passport cost is slightly less. In a few industrialized countries, it is half price of a US passport.

derek July 9, 2023 - 5:28 pm lists passport fees as:
Taiwan $41
Sweden $36
Singapore $58
Netherlands $72
South Korea $44
Israel $79
Germany $67
Belgium $78
Austria $84

Why does America charge so much? Is it to punish rich people, make them pay “their fair share”?


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