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(Daily Mail)   Half a million Brits face ruined vacations due to huge passport backlog. Americans ask, "What's a passport?"   (dailymail.co.uk) divider line 37
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5916 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Jun 2014 at 10:04 AM (20 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-06-09 08:15:24 AM  
11 votes:
The neat thing about America, is that you don't need to leave the country to find the climate of your choice for vacation.
2014-06-09 11:12:36 AM  
4 votes:

mattberg: My uncle had some friends from France come to the states a number of years ago. The one lady was an English teacher, and taught her students about the states. They arrived in New York, and set off on a 3 week driving tour of the states. The teacher really wanted to see California, and could not understand why it was too far away to fit it into the trip. That is, until it was explained to her that driving to California would be like driving to central Turkey from her home. Then she understood how small and wimpy Europe is, and how large and kick ass the US is.


I was in Britain several years ago. I asked our guide how far it is from the tip of Cornwall up to the tip of Scotland. He said it was about 700 miles. I responded that sounds like a full day's drive and he seemed astonished that a person could actually drive 700 miles in a day. I guess they don't have an interstate highway system like ours. I mean, we drove on some nice, fast motorways there, but they must not go everywhere. It definitely seemed like we didn't have the same sense of scale. The same goes with history. He showed us things that were 200-300 years old and we were impressed, but he seemed unenthusiastic about that because he could walk down the street and appreciate an 1,800 year old Roman ruin.

He also didn't seem to grasp that, if he visited the US, he couldn't visit the East Coast cities and also take a few hours to buzz by Memphis, Tennessee to see Graceland. He was a big Elvis fan.

Another interesting tidbit from that trip: Our bus driver was a older Liverpudlian named John who claimed that he went to school with the Beatles, and that his father managed one of the clubs or pubs or whatever that the Beatles often played at in that time.

So, we have huge space while they have huge history. Both are advantages.
2014-06-09 09:11:13 AM  
4 votes:

dittybopper: Tigger: EvilEgg: The neat thing about America, is that you don't need to leave the country to find the climate of your choice for vacation.

I think most people would suggest that the benefits of travel are more in the 'experiencing diversity of culture' side of things than 'change of weather'.

The neat thing about America is you can do that also.

And you don't need a passport.


This is a weird thing I hear people say a lot and it just isn't true. I travel for a living - primarily internationally but significantly within the USA. The similarities culturally between Soiux Falls, SD, New York City and the Appalachians are far greater than the difference between any one of those places and anywhere in Europe or Asia.

That's not a criticism - I just don't understand why people always claim that there's a breadth of different values that there simply isn't when compared to travelling outside the country.
2014-06-09 11:27:05 AM  
3 votes:
A lot of Americans ask, "What's a vacation?"
2014-06-09 10:10:04 AM  
3 votes:
WTF is wrong with people? Know when your passport expires, and take care of it off-season.
2014-06-09 08:58:38 AM  
3 votes:

Tigger: EvilEgg: The neat thing about America, is that you don't need to leave the country to find the climate of your choice for vacation.

I think most people would suggest that the benefits of travel are more in the 'experiencing diversity of culture' side of things than 'change of weather'.


The neat thing about America is you can do that also.

And you don't need a passport.
2014-06-09 08:27:36 AM  
3 votes:

EvilEgg: The neat thing about America, is that you don't need to leave the country to find the climate of your choice for vacation.


But many do.  In fact, about 1/3rd of all Americans, or 110 million, have a valid passport:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewbender/2012/01/30/record-number-of -a mericans-now-hold-passports/

The *TOTAL* population of the UK is only about 64 million.

The other thing to consider is that the United States is roughly the same size as all of Europe:

United States:  9.826 million km2
Europe:  10.180 million km2

The US is almost 97% the size of Europe.  And while a citizen of any European nation needs a passport to travel to any of the other nations in Europe, a US citizen doesn't need a passport to travel to a different state from where he or she resides.
2014-06-09 12:41:56 PM  
2 votes:

mattberg: My uncle had some friends from France come to the states a number of years ago. The one lady was an English teacher, and taught her students about the states. They arrived in New York, and set off on a 3 week driving tour of the states. The teacher really wanted to see California, and could not understand why it was too far away to fit it into the trip. That is, until it was explained to her that driving to California would be like driving to central Turkey from her home. Then she understood how small and wimpy Europe is, and how large and kick ass the US is.


That's a variation of the tale many people claims to be true: dumbass Europeans come visit and expect to be able to drive from NY (or FL) to CA in a day. The story is apocryphal.
2014-06-09 11:11:49 AM  
2 votes:
To clear things up:

upload.wikimedia.org
2014-06-09 11:05:35 AM  
2 votes:

akula: dittybopper: I also forgot to point out:  Until relatively recently, a US citizen didn't need a passport to travel to Canada.  Now, you do, or an "Enhanced Driver's License".

You used to be able to go to Mexico without a passport too. I did that when I was in high school. Different times then (heh, now that I think about it, it was 20 years ago this past spring... wow).

Most Americans just have little need for a passport. Going out of the country can be expensive, especially if you aren't going to Canada or Mexico. If you can get a nice beach in Florida or California and good skiing in Colorado, there's not always going to be much reason to go outside the country for travel. Sure, there's other cultures and other things to experience but that's not always a priority.


That's my reasoning. Going out of the country would be nice, but I make a slightly below average salary and get one week of vacation per year. How much quality "experiencing other cultures" time can I get with that? I really don't get how so many are able to do it unless they're wealthier retirees, spoiled college kids, or people who do it for work.
2014-06-09 08:43:06 AM  
2 votes:

EvilEgg: The neat thing about America, is that you don't need to leave the country to find the climate of your choice for vacation.


I think most people would suggest that the benefits of travel are more in the 'experiencing diversity of culture' side of things than 'change of weather'.
2014-06-09 05:53:46 PM  
1 votes:

thamike: CheapEngineer: \I'm not flying *anywhere* while the TSA is f*cking up air travel


A high speed rail project would fix your problem.


How? The TSA would be in charge of security for it, too. Just like Amtrak and Greyhound.
2014-06-09 02:29:50 PM  
1 votes:
I've always thought Locked Up Abroad was a better travel brochure than the Travel Channel.
2014-06-09 12:54:48 PM  
1 votes:

pkellmey: That's okay. I had a passport and both times that I scheduled a trip to Europe (about six years apart) the place I was going was bombed and the U.S. highly recommended not going there due to fears of beheadings of Americans and the other gruesomeness going on in Europe at the time. After the second time, I decided I would only travel to US aligned first world nations in the Western hemisphere.


Ah, yes.  The Great European BeheadFest.  I remember it well.  It was a dark time...

/!??
2014-06-09 12:54:25 PM  
1 votes:
more like

"what's a vacation?"
2014-06-09 12:30:42 PM  
1 votes:
Personally, I hate it when I see someone from the U.S. who has never ventured far outside of their own hometown but can't wait to get to Europe or Asia. Not that there is anything wrong with going to those places, it's just that the U.S. is huge and varied (geographically and to a lesser extent culturally). I hear way too many young people (and Farkers) go on and on about how great Europe is while they have experienced virtually nothing in the U.S. We bought a travel trailer last year and have decided that our girls will see all 50 states before they graduate. When we travel, we try to find more obscure sites to see. State parks and national forests etc. We do hit more common tourist areas as well. My hope is that my kids will have an appreciation for this country, so they won't fall into the trap of believing that we are somehow inferior to the rest of the world.
2014-06-09 12:11:41 PM  
1 votes:

Tigger: EvilEgg: The neat thing about America, is that you don't need to leave the country to find the climate of your choice for vacation.

I think most people would suggest that the benefits of travel are more in the 'experiencing diversity of culture' side of things than 'change of weather'.


It doesn't hurt that in Europe you can drive for an hour or 2 and be in another country. Here, I can drive 15 hours and still be in the 'states.

Location, Location, Location.

\I'm not flying *anywhere* while the TSA is f*cking up air travel
2014-06-09 12:08:55 PM  
1 votes:

dittybopper: Tigger: EvilEgg: The neat thing about America, is that you don't need to leave the country to find the climate of your choice for vacation.

I think most people would suggest that the benefits of travel are more in the 'experiencing diversity of culture' side of things than 'change of weather'.

The neat thing about America is you can do that also.


If you think that experiencing the true cultural diversity of our planet is something you can do inside the borders of your own country, you are sorely missing the point.
2014-06-09 11:18:57 AM  
1 votes:

cgraves67: I was in Britain several years ago. I asked our guide how far it is from the tip of Cornwall up to the tip of Scotland. He said it was about 700 miles. I responded that sounds like a full day's drive and he seemed astonished that a person could actually drive 700 miles in a day. I guess they don't have an interstate highway system like ours. I mean, we drove on some nice, fast motorways there, but they must not go everywhere. It definitely seemed like we didn't have the same sense of scale. The same goes with history. He showed us things that were 200-300 years old and we were impressed, but he seemed unenthusiastic about that because he could walk down the street and appreciate an 1,800 year old Roman ruin.


Someone here once said "In Europe 200 miles is a long drive. In America 200 years is a long time."

Different places, different senses of scale.
2014-06-09 11:17:59 AM  
1 votes:

Rigby-Reardon: Tigger: wingnut396: Tigger: Ant: Tigger: I think most people would suggest that the benefits of travel are more in the 'experiencing diversity of culture' side of things than 'change of weather'.

Different regions of the US have different cultural practices. Go to Atlanta and then to Seattle, and tell me those aren't two different cultures.

No one is disagreeing with that.

I was disagreeing with the ridiculous notion that the variance of culture within the US is the same as between the US and the rest of the world which is laughably untrue.

I think the poster was saying that culture variation within the US is just as broad as the variation in Europe. I don't buy it.  The variation between Amsterdam and Milan are far greater than Houston and NYC for instance.

But the peculiar thing to me is how often I see that stated. I've never really understood what drives that. There's usually some sort of internal psychological value to being wrong for the individual who is wrong; however, in this case I don't know what it could be.

I think some people feel it is part of national pride. Our country is bigger, we are just as diverse, our natural wonders are as good. Don't think they like to talk about Russia or Canada which are both bigger.

The same people bragging about how diverse the US is are probably the ones who push the hardest for English to be declared the official national language.

/This is America we speak American.


God forbid we have a way for everyone to communicate with each other which can only serve to bring us closer to the imaginary melting pot. But keep telling yourself its all about racism

/one language... i vote for Klingon
2014-06-09 11:13:53 AM  
1 votes:

This text is now purple: Rigby-Reardon: I think some people feel it is part of national pride. Our country is bigger, we are just as diverse, our natural wonders are as good. Don't think they like to talk about Russia or Canada which are both bigger.

Canada is larger, but less diverse. Russia is bigger and arguably has comparable diversity, but no one lives where most of the scenic occurs.

The comparable nation no one really talks about is China.


I've travelled across Canada everywhere except the far north (I'll get there!) and there is plenty of diversity but I do have to agree on the emptiness. You get outside the major cities and civilization starts to rapidly thin out and after an hour you will go long stretches without seeing another human being which is totally awesome. The plus side is that you can enjoy the scenery without the gaudy touristy crap but the downside is that sometimes you really want a sandwich and it will take you an hour or two to find one. It's ridiculous that we have such a huge amount of space and almost nobody living on it let alone serving sandwiches.
2014-06-09 10:58:07 AM  
1 votes:

Tigger: wingnut396: Tigger: Ant: Tigger: I think most people would suggest that the benefits of travel are more in the 'experiencing diversity of culture' side of things than 'change of weather'.

Different regions of the US have different cultural practices. Go to Atlanta and then to Seattle, and tell me those aren't two different cultures.

No one is disagreeing with that.

I was disagreeing with the ridiculous notion that the variance of culture within the US is the same as between the US and the rest of the world which is laughably untrue.

I think the poster was saying that culture variation within the US is just as broad as the variation in Europe. I don't buy it.  The variation between Amsterdam and Milan are far greater than Houston and NYC for instance.

But the peculiar thing to me is how often I see that stated. I've never really understood what drives that. There's usually some sort of internal psychological value to being wrong for the individual who is wrong; however, in this case I don't know what it could be.


I think some people feel it is part of national pride. Our country is bigger, we are just as diverse, our natural wonders are as good. Don't think they like to talk about Russia or Canada which are both bigger.

The same people bragging about how diverse the US is are probably the ones who push the hardest for English to be declared the official national language.

/This is America we speak American.
2014-06-09 10:35:20 AM  
1 votes:
Why is everyone treating this like an either or question.

Travel around the US it is great. Tons to see tons to do.

Travel around the world. Tons to see tons to do.

The US has some diversity, but nothing like you will see going abroad.

You can travel to Puerto Rico without a passport, but it is much more Americanized than Mexico (once you get out of tourist areas).

First stamp in my passport was from Guam (on my way to Yap and Palau). The customs agent had to go find a stamp when I asked. Apparently not many Americans ask for stamps from a US territory.
2014-06-09 10:29:37 AM  
1 votes:
Good.  The kind of person who doesn't think to get a passport until 4 weeks before their already-booked flight is the kind of person who shouldn't be traveling abroad.
2014-06-09 10:25:23 AM  
1 votes:

Forbidden Doughnut: Tigger: This is a weird thing I hear people say a lot and it just isn't true. I travel for a living - primarily internationally but significantly within the USA. The similarities culturally between Soiux Falls, SD, New York City and the Appalachians are far greater than the difference between any one of those places and anywhere in Europe or Asia.

I've been to South Korea and Canada ( British Colombia ). Korea is like going to another planet, but Sydney, BC is almost like home, IMHO.

/ Pacific Northwest
// I feel more (culturally) at home with Canadians in BC than with Southerners here in the US...


I've been to Korea a ton. If it's any consolation it doesn't ever start to make much more sense than the first time.
2014-06-09 10:22:29 AM  
1 votes:

mrhollywoodgates: BunkyBrewman: That reminds me... how long does it take to get a passport nowadays?

CSB: 
I got a passport in a day about 9 years ago - discovered 3 days before my trip to Europe that my passport had just expired. I drove 6 hours to Chicago (where there's one of the few actual passport offices) overnight, waited outside until they opened, then was first in line to sign up. I had brought a picture from a 24-hour Walgreens and all my papers, etc. Once they had my paperwork, they said it'd be done in 6 hours, and it was! I had to pay like double the normal price, plus all that driving, but I did get to enjoy a nice day in Downtown Chicago by myself, and it just so happened to be the day when all the museums were free.


There's worse ways to spend a day. Chicago is a fun town.
2014-06-09 10:20:26 AM  
1 votes:
State to state, no papers?


www.ibiblio.org
2014-06-09 10:13:53 AM  
1 votes:

dittybopper: Tigger: The similarities culturally between Soiux Falls, SD, New York City and the Appalachians are far greater than the difference between any one of those places and anywhere in Europe or Asia.

I'm willing to bet that in your travels you stay in chain hotels, eat in chain restaurants, and work at corporation locations, so mostly, you don't get the local color.  You get the bland, averaged out experience.


And even if that's true, he's still right.  U.S. culture is varied, but in a fairly narrow band when you compare us to South America, Asia, or anywhere in Africa.  Even most of western Europe is radically different than anywhere here.
2014-06-09 10:13:28 AM  
1 votes:
You don't need a passport to go to the International House of Pancakes!  French toast, danishes and Belgian waffles! All the Europine countries lay before me! Where shall I fly to first?
2014-06-09 10:12:40 AM  
1 votes:

EvilEgg: The neat thing about America, is that you don't need to leave the country to find the climate of your choice for vacation.


More importantly, you can drive for more than 4 hours and not change countries.  If we had to go past a border guard every time I crossed into Pennsylvania, more Marylanders would certainly have passports.   It's also why we only speak one or two languages.  I can drive a car from the North of Canada to Buenos Aires and only run into Two languages.  (If I miss Brazil an that weird part of Canada).
2014-06-09 10:11:14 AM  
1 votes:
my voice is my passport, verify me
2014-06-09 10:06:08 AM  
1 votes:

dittybopper: Tigger: The similarities culturally between Soiux Falls, SD, New York City and the Appalachians are far greater than the difference between any one of those places and anywhere in Europe or Asia.

I'm willing to bet that in your travels you stay in chain hotels, eat in chain restaurants, and work at corporation locations, so mostly, you don't get the local color.  You get the bland, averaged out experience.


And you would be totally and completely wrong.

But if you want to believe there's as much cultural variation within the US as there is between the USA and, say, South East Asia then I can't really stop you. It's just a bit weird.
2014-06-09 09:59:04 AM  
1 votes:

Tigger: The similarities culturally between Soiux Falls, SD, New York City and the Appalachians are far greater than the difference between any one of those places and anywhere in Europe or Asia.


I'm willing to bet that in your travels you stay in chain hotels, eat in chain restaurants, and work at corporation locations, so mostly, you don't get the local color.  You get the bland, averaged out experience.
2014-06-09 09:07:11 AM  
1 votes:
dittybopper: 
  And while a citizen of any European nation needs a passport to travel to any of the other nations in Europe, a US citizen doesn't need a passport to travel to a different state from where he or she resides.

Actually, you're missing the Schengen agreement which allows all of the citizens of those countries to travel between them without a passport, just their national ID.  (That said, the UK and Ireland aren't part of that agreement.)
2014-06-09 08:30:11 AM  
1 votes:
I also forgot to point out:  Until relatively recently, a US citizen didn't need a passport to travel to Canada.  Now, you do, or an "Enhanced Driver's License".
2014-06-09 08:29:15 AM  
1 votes:

BunkyBrewman: That reminds me... how long does it take to get a passport nowadays?


The last time I did it, which was almost ten years ago (I guess it's time to renew), the turnaround was about three to four weeks. If you could show a genuine need to expedite it and paid an extra fee, you could get it with a turnaround time of a few days.
2014-06-09 08:19:35 AM  
1 votes:
1/2 a million?
Heathrow laughs at your small amount of ruined vacations.
 
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