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One of every German worker’s favorite free time activities is traveling. Wherever you go in the world you will have a good chance of finding German tourists. From my own experience, it has always been a lot of fun looking for the next vacation destination. The prices were very affordable and I remember that flying to other countries was more affordable than taking the car and drive somewhere within Germany. The gas prices are of course a huge factor when it comes to traveling by car.
When I moved to the US as a student I was surprised to find out that my fellow learners have never really left the United States except for Canada and may be Mexico here and there. I assumed that is because of a lack of interest for other countries and that the people felt more comfortable within their own boarders and their own language. It took me a little longer to realize why the normal American citizen cannot travel as much as the average European but also does not have to travel to other countries in order to have an either nice and sunny vacation at the beach or enjoy a skiing trip in the mountains. The explanation here is, that the United States have just about every countryside and vacation setting people can ask for. There are beaches, mountains, deserts, ski areas and two oceans. What more can you ask for besides different cultures, which is of course a big factor.
In addition to the variety of vacation destinations within the US, the vacation time the average US employee has is also extremely limited compared to the European one. I started with 26 vacation days in Germany plus all the local and federal holidays. For example, I only needed seven vacation days to get two weeks off at Easter time. The opportunities to travel are therefore greater and since Europe has a lot more cultures in a lot closer space it was easier to see those. From the early trips to Mallorca, which is an island in the Mediterranean Sea (also known as the last German colony), to longer trips to Asia and Australia, there was always enough time to go away. Even though when the Euro was very weak against the dollar around the year 2000, the offers were still there from the tourist industries.
Now, that I live and work in the US I am faced with the same problem just like everybody else. I don’t even have half of the vacation days I used to have.