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As our world becomes more multicultural and traveling becomes more accessible, it makes sense that many Americans would be interested in traveling abroad. However, up until recent years, this wasn’t necessarily the case—many Americans couldn’t afford to travel internationally or were intimidated by global tensions. To their credit, the United States also may feel like multiple countries due to its size, so many Americans feel as though they must explore what is around them before going abroad.

A Growing Trend

For example, in 1995 only about 10% of Americans had passports. This doubled to about 20% by around 2003, with a sharp increase to 27% in 2007. It has continually risen until then, reaching its current peak of 42% in 2017. The amount of Americans holding passports today is an unprecedented amount, and—with no signs of it decreasing anytime soon—seem to be an indication of upward trends of international travel.

Growth Factors

So, which factors went into making this percentage increase so drastically? Well, for one, travel is much cheaper than ever before. For example, one can easily find a flight from New York to Berlin, Germany for $300 if you search with the right airline. Depending on where you want to fly, in many cases this rate can be cheaper than buying a plane ticket from New York to Florida.

There have also been multiple instances in which U.S. relations have been intensified with the rest of the world regarding travel (i.e. the tragic aftermath of 9/11), so since then the American attitude towards travel was also affected. Thankfully, though, since then many new methods have been developed to ensure airport security and an overall sense of protection has increased many times over. Because of this, we live in an age where people can feel comfortable going most places in the world and know that they will be in good hands.

Passport Requirements

Since the early 2000s, there have also been many countries that now require passports for U.S. citizens to travel through. For example, since 2007, going to Mexico or Canada now requires a passport, although residents of certain states close to Canada can receive an enhanced driver’s license to do so.

The Economy

Possibly the greatest factor in Americans getting passports in recent years is the increased power of the American economy. Since recovering from the recession of 2008, the economy has grown significantly and many families in the U.S. are finding themselves with an increased budget to spend on vacations, going hand-in-hand with a stronger interest to see more of the world.

Other Considerations

If you’re considering joining the large percentage of Americans who have passports, it’s important to ensure that you have travel insurance. If you happen to get the flu in Germany and need antibiotics, having your doctor’s visit covered by your insurance could be the difference between you shelling out a lot of money and you having a very small co pay.

Having trip protection is also a smart way to protect your trip investment. Most international trips can be quite expensive and having insurance in place to protect your trip costs, if you have to cancel for a covered reason, is a wise move given the reasonable cost.

More Americans are getting passports by the minute, further increasing what appears to be the largest surge of Americans owning passports in the country’s history. What are you waiting for? Get a passport and see the world today!

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