Americans are known to work hard and play even harder. That’s why when they’re exhausted from their 9-5’s, they like to relax, kick up their feet and take a vacation to get away from the daily stresses.
What if Americans could jet off to some place that offers an exotic twist but still maintains the familiar comforts of the American lifestyle? What if they could spend the day hiking through the rainforest but still grab a Big Mac for supper, all while feeling safe, comfortable, and welcome? Here are the 7 most ‘American’ places outside the US, places where Americans will feel right at home.
Population: 2.5 million
Approximate Distance: 60 miles
Peter Ustinov famously described Toronto as “New York run by the Swiss”, and it is one of the top vacationing spots for Americans looking for fast and easy international travel. Toronto comes without the dreaded culture shock or 10 flights.
Only a 90 minute drive from the US border, Toronto’s climate is similar to any of the northern states complete with hot, humid summers.
Since the US is Canada’s leading trading partner, it’s pretty easy to understand why Toronto would share many of the same restaurants, shopping centers, products, customs and amenities that are present in the US.
Toronto may make Americans feel like they’ve never left home but the city definitely has great tourist attractions to keep tourists busy.
The CN Tower which held the world record of tallest free-standing structure for 30 years, one of the largest zoos in the world, the Toronto Zoo, as well as several famous art galleries, museums and sporting events – just to name a few.
Overall, Canada isn’t that different from the US. While staying there, Americans can still watch their favorite television shows, rent the same movies, eat many of the same foods, read about the same celebrities and communicate fluently. And despite some sibling rivalry between the two countries, Americans are overwhelmingly welcome to cross the border.
Population: 4.28 million
Approximate Distance: 9400 miles
Considering Australia is predominantly of British origin, it makes sense that this is another country that will provide a safe and homey tourist destination for Americans. The two countries share a very long and deep relationship spanning back many years and have subsequently developed a tight bond.
Both countries share similar outlooks, cultures and values and both have a strong commitment to democracy and human rights.
From evolution to linguist similarities, Americans share much common ground with the Aussies down under.
The climate is temperate with warm summers making for easy adjustment for southern or northern Americans. Australia is also one of the top ten most tourist friendly countries in the world so Americans don’t have to worry about feeling unwelcomed.
Sydney provides an ‘American’ feel while still offering incredibly unique experiences. From the wild outback to fascinating wildlife, Sydney is known for its spectacular beauty and famous landscapes. Check out Sydney’s most famous beach, Bondi Beach, take a tour of Taronga Zoo, visit the Chinese Garden of Friendship or taste a bit of culture at the famous Sydney Opera House.
Sydney will gladly open her arms and take tourists on a journey of a lifetime, all while still providing the basic comforts and luxuries Americans are used too.
Population: 7.55 million
Approximate Distance: 3000 miles
London, England may be on the other side of the world, but it is another great place for a comfortable American vacation. The US was founded by 13 British colonies but the two share much more than just history and lineage.
The predominant language used in London is English (though the British certainly have their own unique slang) so the learning curve is small. London is also influenced by the familiar Anglo-Saxon culture Americans are accustomed too.
From music and art to fashion, sports and media, the similarities between the US and London are great. London is also a European hub for business, finance, politics and more so Americans will recognize many of the brands and companies while travelling through the city.
However, London is still rich with historic treasures, containing four of the World Heritage Sites and for those looking for a bit of fun and adventure, there are many worthwhile tourist attractions including beautiful parks and gardens, theaters, galleries, museums, and many famous landmarks such as the Buckingham Palace.
Tourists can enjoy London all while still feeling the ease of being at home in “the States” England is also one of the top ten countries that love America, so Americans can expect a warm and friendly welcome - just remember to drive on the other side of the road!
Population: 1.3 million
Approximate Distance: 280 miles
143 miles south of the US border lies another top destination spot for Americans looking to balance familiarity with the exotic. As one of Mexico’s largest cities, Monterrey looks and feels much like Phoenix but with a more pronounced Spanish flavor.
Sharing a border and being large trading partners has had a huge impact on Monterrey life, blending mariachis and tacos with Wal-Marts and Applebee’s.
Monterrey is a fast growing metropolis full of ‘americanizados’ (Americanization) as well as rich culture. Although some of the more southern areas of Mexico have shown concern regarding the growing American influence, in Monterrey, residents welcome it with open arms.
The great thing about travelling to Monterrey is while you can still experience things like American-style football, fast-food restaurants, American television and the latest US fashions, there is still a very strong commitment to keeping Mexican tradition and culture alive.
There are hundreds of landmarks and cultural sites such as the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey or Museo de Historia Mexicana and breath taking scenery full of waterfalls, mountains, caves and wildlife.
Monterrey has also been ranked as one of the most secure cities in Latin America and Mexico, so Americans thinking of making Monterrey their getaway of choice, will find themselves in a safe home away from home.
Approximate Distance: 5400 miles
With the unique location of being built on 14 different islands, Stockholm, Sweden is certainly a rare sight to behold for any tourist. It is considered one of the most beautiful capital cities on the planet, but it’s also one of the most Americanized cities in Europe.
The Swedes have always been early adopters of American products and trends, and this has created a melting pot of western and European culture that is prevalent in Stockholm.
Stockholm is also a very ‘English-friendly’ European city. Since the late 1940’s, English has been a compulsory subject in school for Swedes and despite its northerly location; Stockholm’s weather is much like Seattle but with a slightly colder winter.
The beauty of Stockholm for American tourists is not just its minimal learning curve, but also the extraordinary location, preserved mediaeval city Gamla Stan with fairy tale towers, renowned museums, distinguished theaters, World Heritage Sites and how easy it is to see it all – most attractions are found in the inner city. There is even an amusement park complete with a tunnel of love, roller coaster, and funhouse.
Stockholm is known for its superb and diverse food thanks to immigration, but Americans can still enjoy an all-American chain like TGI Friday’s.
Approximate Distance: 4000 miles
Frankfurt, Germany seems an unlikely place for those looking to vacation in an ‘American’ city, but it’s the most US-influenced city in Germany. After World War II, Frankfurt was left in ruins and the city turned to innovation rather than restoration and constructed a city skyline that would give New York a run for its money.
Another surprising fact about Frankfurt is that one in three people living there do not hold a German passport. That means it’s easy to find someone who speaks your language and serves your favorite food. Frankfurt has long developed a reputation as being a liberal and hospitable haven stemming from centuries of being a trading center.
Frankfurt has already secured itself as a major economic and business hub for Germany and Europe, but it is working to distinguish itself as an attraction for literature and art connoisseurs.
The city has an energetic nightlife, an array of museums and festivals and one of the most important zoos in Europe, the Frankfurt Zoological Garden – almost all of which lie inside the old city walls.
Frankfurt offers the frills of home surrounded by historic wonders spanning back 1200 years.
Panama City, Panama
Approximate Distance: 2600 miles
Panama and the US have had close historical ties dating back decades. The US has assisted Panamanians in promoting economic, political, security and social development through out the country and many Americans are now making Panama their retirement destination of choice because Panama is such a welcoming and friendly place for Americans to travel to, particularly Panama City.
Panama City is the capital and largest city of Panama and has previously been chosen to be the American Capital of Culture. Panama uses the American dollar and most Panamanians are bilingual in English as well.
However, even with such a strong American presence, Panama City still offers many stunning attractions and historical sights to see that are exclusive to Panama culture.
Stroll along beautiful beaches, hike through tropical rain forests, relax in world-class hotels (Panama City has the 2nd highest hotel occupancy rate in the world behind Perth, Australia), and get a taste of Panamanian culture by visiting the Old Quarter.Panama City offers a safe and beautiful vacationing spot where Americans can easily fit in.
Whether Americans want to travel to the other side of the world or take a 90 minute road trip to the neighboring country, they can easily find a warm, welcoming tourist destination where they can relax and explore something new, all while feeling like they’ve never left home.