Jade Verbick give us an insider’s view of travel in the UK compared to the USA…
The United States is well-known for its odd food combinations and ridiculous politics. It is also known, to a lesser extent, for its beautiful natural features and awe-inspiring monuments. While there is a lot to visit in the US (it is a massive place after all), it is rarely mentioned in travel brochures just how hard it is to actually travel around.
You would be shocked by the amount of people I have met who have never travelled outside of their home state, let alone out of the country. It’s especially shocking considering I lived in San Diego, a city that is only a fifteen minute drive from Mexico. It is truly a different way of living compared to the UK. When it comes to traveling, England is miles ahead of the US.
For starters, when it comes to cheap and efficient public transportation, America is a mess. Most cities in the US are built for cars, and many don’t have good public transport put in place. Some cities do have good public transportation, but traveling across the state is another matter entirely. I once traveled on public transport from San Diego to San Francisco, an eight hour journey by car that took twelve hours. This journey included taking a train to Los Angeles, then a bus to Bakersfield, then a train to San Francisco, and it was not cheap. And that is just traveling within the state of California. Traveling across the country is downright impossible without either owning a car or spending a fortune on plane tickets.
The US is so big. In the fifteen years that I lived there, I only visited a fraction of the fifty states. I once had a conversation with one of my friends living abroad in Belgium about how shocking it was that I could take the Eurostar from London to Brussels and it would only take two hours.
To only travel for a few hours and end up in another country is miraculous for people who have spent over two hours in traffic just driving up to Los Angeles. It’s nice to live in England, where you can cross the country by car or train in a day. To be so physically close to mainland Europe is also such an advantage. When it takes over five hours to fly across the country from San Diego to New York, you cannot help but appreciate flights that can get you to quite a few countries in Europe in less than three hours. Every American exchange student I’ve met has spent every second of their free time traveling around Europe, knowing that the moment they go back stateside, there won’t be many more opportunities to travel so easily for so cheap.
I don’t mean to discourage anyone from visiting the US, because it is an amazing place, but don’t be surprised when Americans are jealous of where you live. We don’t get out as often.
Image: Rob Milnes