Traveling to work, or visiting friends, or even to visit your family?
All these activities, combined with the fact that the average American travels just under 5,000 miles each year, are often the reasons why the US government is considering new rules for travel.
“When you have a growing economy, you need more time to prepare,” says Dan Wurfel, a travel and travel-related expert at the University of Michigan.
“That’s when you have to start planning.”
The problem, Wurfl says, is that we are living in an increasingly digital world.
“In the past, when we have to plan for an emergency, we’ve got a plan and then we go out and find the time to do it,” he says.
“But now, people have smartphones and they can easily plan their trips.
You’re not as prepared.”
The US is considering a set of new rules that would require states to create a new online travel website to manage all of the rules that come with being a major metropolitan area, and then require states and localities to use a set formula to decide how to allocate travel time, money, and resources between their cities.
“It’s a big challenge for us,” says Wurfdell.
“We are trying to create an economy that works for all Americans.”
In addition to the new rules, the US has been considering a series of other measures designed to make it easier for Americans to travel abroad.
In 2018, the administration of President Donald Trump announced that travel between states could be “fee-free.”
That means a trip between two states could now be free for residents, regardless of the length of their stay in that state.
And last year, the federal government announced that the cost of a trip to a foreign country could be waived if it was within a 20-mile radius of the US.
Wurfeels that the current regulations are not working.
“People are not really prepared for these new regulations,” he said.
“I’ve been to Europe, so I know what it’s like to be in a crisis.
It’s a little different from this.”
And for some Americans, the prospect of traveling overseas may be just the tip of the iceberg.
A recent report by the nonprofit American Council on Travel found that there were an estimated 1.3 million people aged 65 and older who traveled overseas last year alone, more than any other age group.
That number represents nearly three-quarters of the population of the United States, and it’s expected to grow to 4.5 million by 2020.
“There are so many opportunities,” Wurfen says.
But, he adds, “it’s not just for the elderly, for the young, for college students, for retirees, and the young people just starting out.”
It’s not as simple as just saying travel can’t be expensive.
“You’re not just going to put in the extra hours to get to the next stop,” Wurtfel says.
Instead, he says, “You’ve got to think about what your needs are, what your budget is, and how you can afford it.”
And if you’re traveling abroad, the first thing to figure out is what your options are, says Kristy Schubert, director of international research at the Council on Foreign Relations.
“The easiest way to determine what your costs are is to take a look at the price of a flight from your home airport to the destination,” she says.
She points to the chart on the Council’s website that shows the cost per person for a flight to Europe from New York City, or the cost for a trip from Los Angeles to Brussels.
Schuert says that while many countries in Europe do have cheaper flights, “there are still some countries that do not.”
Schuitt points out that, for example, in Germany, a flight between Frankfurt and Berlin is just $15.
The cost of this flight in a single day, which costs just $6, also takes into account the cost to fly back to your home country.
But she says that is not the case in the US, where the average flight from the US is $160.
“And when you look at it from a cost perspective, that’s really what’s driving people to travel, especially younger people,” she adds.
“So we need to find a way to reduce costs.”
The report by Schuirts report also points to another trend in travel, where people are taking longer to plan ahead for trips abroad.
“Many people are not prepared for the new realities,” Schuier says.
Wurtfl agrees, saying that many Americans are just not as good at planning ahead.
“One of the problems with the US economy is that people are very lazy and they don’t do a lot of planning,” he explains.
“They’re just not thinking ahead, and that’s very dangerous.”