Lonely Planet Writer

Record-breaking number of US citizens travelled internationally in 2015

The number of US citizens travelling abroad rose to a record-breaking high in 2015, according to the National Travel & Tourism Office.

US citizens abroad became a more common sight in 2015.
US citizens abroad became a more common sight in 2015. Image by Sonny Abesamis / CC BY 2.0

Overall, the number of US travellers increased 7.7%, bringing the total up to nearly 73.5 million passengers. Every region increased its share of US travellers, except Africa, which saw a drop of 2.1%. Perhaps surprisingly, the biggest region to increase their share of US travellers was the Middle East, which saw a year-on-year increase of 14.9%

Unsurprisingly, US citizens still prefer to stay in North America than travel overseas, with more than half remaining on the continent. US citizens also apparently prefer going south than visiting their northern neighbour, with Mexico welcoming more than double the amount of US tourists than Canada did.

US holiday-makers are travelling abroad in greater numbers due to the strength of the dollar
US holiday-makers are travelling abroad in greater numbers. Image by (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Despite the positive growth, there is still room for a lot more, with only 23% of Americans travelling abroad. A recent survey showed that two-thirds of Americans don’t plan on using their passport in 2016, while the actual numbers may end up being even less.

Rosewood Mayakoba in Mexico.
America has been dubbed ‘no vacation nation’ with many people not taking trips to resorts like Rosewood Mayakoba in Mexico. Image by Richard Schatzberger / CC BY-SA 2.0

The United States has earned the nickname of ‘no vacation nation’, due to the fact that a whopping 40% said they took no vacation days in 2015, with a further 17% taking less than five days; making it even more difficult to travel abroad. The numbers have led to a campaign to try and urge more Americans to take their holidays and end ‘vacation shaming’.