In travel, Britannia rules the waves

November 21, 2014, 9:25 AM GMT+0

50% of Americans have never been on holiday abroad – compared to only 8% of British people

Air travel may now be cheaper than ever, but compared to Europe many Americans can't take full advantage of the fact. While British people have a legal right to 28 paid days of holiday each year, American workers have no such right and often consider themselves lucky to get 10 days, something that may explain how much more common international travel is in Britain.

New YouGov research asks adults in the US and the Britain whether they have ever travelled internationally, finding that 91% of British people say they have left the UK for a holiday and only 8% say they have not. 50% of Americans say they have left the US for a 'vacation', while 48% say they have not.

Aside from Europe, North America is the most popular holiday spot for Britons, with 44% of British adults saying they have been. Africa (30%) is the second most popular destination, and 27% of Britons have also been to Asia. 14% have been to Australia and 12% have been to South America.

While 50% of Americans say that they have left the US to go on vacation, 60% say that they have never left North America. Europe (28%) is the most popular destination outside of North America, followed by Asia (14%) and then South America (13%). Only 5% of Americans have been to Africa, and 6% have been to Australia.

Part of the reason why Americans have not travelled as much as Britons is probably that many Americans simply don't want to leave the country. Only 19% of British adults say that, if money were no object, they would stay in the UK for a vacation, while 74% would go abroad. In the US 43% say that they would stay in the US, only narrowly beaten by the 47% who say that they'd go abroad.

There are some interesting diffences in attitudes to travel in Britain, with over-60s (51%) and UKIP supporters (53%) more likely to say it is not neccesary to have travelled to foreign countries in order to have a worldly perspective than young people and supporters of other parties. Londoners are the most likely to think travel is necessary for a worldy perspective (55%), and to consider moving to a foreign country (57%).

Full poll results can be found here (US) and here (UK).