Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 5.41.42 PMThe First Lady stays busy. While still in Beijing, she takes a few minutes to >answer travel questions on a CNN iReport as well as to promote travel to the younger generation.

Before sharing her first overseas experience, which was a sophomore trip to Paris, Mrs. Obama advises first-timers to be open, erase all preconceived notions of the country they’re entering, and shake the fear. Her only fear was asking her father to pay for such an extravagance, but he happily funded her trip.

“He wanted me to have all of the experiences that he didn’t have,” she says, which is something she and the President want for their girls.

She finishes the segment with advice to an elementary class.

“When you find the opportunity, take it, okay? That’s going to make you just, better people, smarter people, and it’s a lot of fun too.”

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  • Me

    wish my folks had her dad’s kinda money. taking a trip to the next county is about all they could foot.

  • Simone L

    I agree that we should encourage more international travel. It irks me when I hear my peers talking about traveling but its to Vegas or Atlantic City or Miami. Like…dude…leave the damn country. And not just Mexico or jamaica or Bahamas or Dominican republic. Go to Germany or Egypt!! I had a friend who recently backpacked through Africa. Another went to I don’t know how many European countries. See other countries!! I want to go to Australia but have wayyyyy too much on my plate now. Teach kids while they’re young…more to life than the USA.

    • Lynette

      Simone, you’re saying Germany or Egypt like they are nothing, but generally people who are coming from the USA taking trips like that are not “average” Americans when it comes to income. The standard places you named are reasonable and have great packages from the USA, so a lot of people can afford it. I can’t afford a ticket to Africa or Europe, let alone have money to feed myself and get around once I’m there. And what about the money I losing because I’m missing work??

      I get irritated when my friends with money want me to come with them on their international trips. I wanted to plan a trip to Vegas with a friend to see home shows and chill out since there are many reasonable packages from Honolulu (where we live) to Vegas. Her first reaction was “let’s leave the country!”. Of course, she texts me this three days before she leaves on a flight to Brazil for spring break with tentative plans to visit Japan this summer. But she has money, so she can do that. I struggle to pay rent each month, so I can’t.

      The only time leaving the country is reasonable is when it’s the same price as going on a vacation/traveling within your own country. A ticket to visit my family is about $850 r/t. I could probably get a hotel/airfare package to somewhere Asia or elsewhere in Polynesia for about $1300. Even then, that’s a lot of money! Plus you need cash to spend while you’re there.

      It’s not that easy!

  • Blair

    I agree with the first lady that we should encourage young people to travel or study abroad. CNN ireport did a segment encouraging people to tell their study abroad stories and I told mine. I have been fortunate to study abroad twice, my first time in high school I went to Greece, Italy, and France. And, again last summer in Quebec, Canada (not that far, but it was a great, AFFORDABLE program). However, I think she is missing the underlying point why many American students don’t study abroad…its EXPENSIVE. Going to college is expensive enough to go my trip to Europe was over $5,000 dollars and that was 7 years ago. Today, to do the same program I did is nearly double the price: airfare, hotels, ect. And if you study for a semester or year you cannot work in the country your studying in…when I studied last summer, I could not work the summer (the time many students work to save up for school. I know a lot of international students in my school, but one of the main reasons they can afford to come and study in the US is because they come from families with money (upper middle class or upper class because they don’t get financial aid). There are affordable study abroad programs, like the one I found last summer (I got the tuition waived because my state has contracts with Canadian Universities) but I think the First Lady is being unrealistic, students want to go abroad, they or their families cannot afford it.

  • Simone L

    @Lynette I never said it would be easy. My friend who went to Europe went via a travel abroad program. She isn’t by any means rich. And neither am I. I don’t know how Michelle Obama is talking about travel among kids because…I don’t see that as realistic but as adults…why don’t we expand our minds? You have adults who spend $$$ on shoes but won’t go to another country to learn. I get it. A lot of.people don’t even have the $$$ to buy shoes all willy nilly. And I know Hawaii is notoriously expensive. But if the opportunity arises…why not?

    • Lynette

      Actually, traveling abroad as a minor is more realistic. That’s what programs like “People to People” are for. The parent pays, and qualified adults take the kids overseas. It’s cheaper for a parent to do this than to try and cough up enough money to take the whole family. Adults tend to have way more social and financial responsibilities like kids, rent/mortgage, tuition (the Hawaii public schools are horrid), car payments, etc. I went to Europe as a teen but my parents paid for that. Now I’m grown and can no longer afford it.

      I have had opportunities for international travel arise at my graduate school, but they are, as always, for the people who can come up with 2k – 3k with perhaps three months notice. They never announce trips that are coming up in 6 months to a year so the average person can save up.

      As for my adult friends who are not in graduate school, I don’t believe they have had a opportunity to travel abroad just come out of nowhere. Even if they did, it all comes down to money. It’s just easier and cheaper to go to one of the standard places like Vegas or Mexico.

      This is my personal experience an observation, though. And I respect that yours may be different. I’m actually a huge advocate of going abroad, but I’m also one of the people who would need to save and work extra hours for about 6 months to afford anything other can California, Vegas, or another Hawaiian island.

      Speaking of Hawaii, yes, it is extremely expensive and far from pretty much everything, which is why none of my mainland friends have ever been here despite having a free place to stay. And this is why the furthest I’ve gone since moving here is California.

  • Child, Please

    I think travelling abroad is well promoted at universities, not to mention there are several students who do travel. The problem is money. We always want to tell people what to do in their down town, but ignore the fact that such extravagances aren’t cheap. So, you paid for your hotel and airfare…what about your food and other expenses once you get there. And if you have an apartment waiting for you when you come back, you need to budget for the rent. It’s not as easy as “hey, let’s go travelling,” and she seems to be forgetting travelling then is much cheaper than it is now. I wish she’d given resources on funds as well.