What to Expect Traveling in the Time of Trump

It’s hardly a secret that I did not vote for Donald Trump for President. I don’t agree with 95% of what he says and 99% of what he does. I have actually met him twice, neither of which were memorable-just shook hands in a group of people doing the same thing. I believe that he has been a black eye for the United States in the eyes of the world. I almost always look at things from a global perspective for obvious reasons. Of course his Presidency creates many issues for people like me who travel internationally often. Here’s what to expect traveling in the time of Trump.
What to Expect Traveling in the Time of Trump, Donald Trump, Trump, muslim ban
Before I get into it. I just want to say, I am not a Democrat, I am not a Republican, I am not a Conservative and I am not a Liberal. I am an American who really cares, loves his country greatly and pays attention to politics and global affairs. I believe that every person in America has some liberal and some conservative views and that’s OK. I also believe those are the two most polarizing words in the American vernacular these days and it’s a shame. It’s OK to have differing views but to go crazy on others, whichever side of the aisle you fall, is preposterous and immature.

I believe Congress is a total disaster and it was and still is time for a change. I think term limits on Congress need to be implemented. I am not bitter that Trump won the election at all. I don’t like it but I respect the outcome because I respect America-even those that disagree with me. I won’t even touch on the hacking thing. It wasn’t as if I liked Hillary Clinton either. I believe she would have been status quo, which to me was another 4 years of whatever, but she was the safe candidate.

Initially I really wanted to get behind Donald Trump. I think America needs a strong leader without political ties who would stand up to foreign powers the way President Obama did not. I like Obama a lot as a person but I don’t think he was a strong enough leader and failed miserably in Syria along with Libya, Russia and China. I did however think he brought back a sense of respect for the office of the President and cyclical things like the stock market, gas prices and unemployment all improved greatly to his credit.

Like I said, I wanted to like Trump. But his childish antics, his lewd comments about women and seemingly general lack of knowledge really turned me off. Making fun of disabled people, insulting Gold Star families, his hate filled comments, his blatant lies, his insanely massive ego, his way of internalizing everything, and his tweet storms make me ashamed.

However, what Trump has been and is doing is unsafe for the United States in my view. His recent Muslim ban, while still not 100% clear on what that means has alienated just about everyone in the International community. While he says it’ll make us safer, I feel it does the complete opposite both at home and abroad.

Aside from the obvious backlash something like this will get from liberal groups and the Muslim people throughout the world, 99.999999% of whom are amazing people, he has made us less safe. There will almost certainly be retribution from somewhere in our country. Plus someone like me who travels a lot just became a lot less safe when traveling abroad. So what to expect traveling in the time of Trump, you ask…expect the expected backlash and then prepare for the unexpected.

I started traveling in 1998 during the Bill Clinton impeachment proceedings after the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Bill Clinton disgraced the office of the President but everyone loved him so traveling when he was President was a breeze. In fact, I was rarely asked about him but that was also before the Internet became big so people had much less information back then.

George W. Bush was a whole other story. I did the majority of my international travel during his Presidency and after starting the Iraq war without viable cause he became enemy #1 in the International community. Everyone I met while traveling during that era, when they found out I was an American would say something to the extent of “I hate your President” or “How could America elect that man”. Obviously that puts you off and I don’t like to engage in political discussions with strangers because people react unpredictably to politics. It’s actually scary at times.

Barack Obama was a champion of the global community. He was the savior, the Anti-Bush and was anointed the greatest President of all-time before he even took office. I mean he won a Nobel Peace Prize before even taking office-what was that?! That said, while he had his ups and downs in the US, abroad he was and still is insanely popular. Traveling with him as President was a pleasure and it made you feel pride to be American and I would have voted for him a 3rd time without question against Trump. Now that brings me back to Trump.

I just spent a week in England. Nearly every single person I met and I meet a lot of people asked me about Trump within a minute of meeting me. Zero percent of those were anything positive. So immediately you’re put on the defensive. This is exactly how it will be for at least the next 4 years. You cannot win this argument so avoid it.

I simply say something to the extent of “I didn’t vote for him” and leave it at that. People will generally leave you alone about it. No matter where you travel that will be what you’re asked about when you’re an American abroad. Think about it, what do your friends and family talk about these days? Trump. He’s the single most polarizing character that America has ever seen. I truly believe that.

I also believe that by the end of his Presidency, he will have done so much damage to the reputation of America around the world that it may take decades for America to recover. I believe that China and Russia will capitalize on him on the global field and I believe there will be an increase in terrorism both home and especially abroad.

So as a traveler traveling in the time of Trump expect to be hassled constantly by any and everyone you meet when they learn you’re American. My advice, based on my time traveling in the Bush years is to make a joke of it so to speak and avoid. You’ve already been pre-judged and cannot win nor change their opinions so don’t try. That’s what to expect when traveling in the time of Trump. Sounds like fun right…being villainized without cause. Welcome to the new world disorder!

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  1. I traveled a lot during the Bush years too. I was asked often about it and never felt comfortable discussing politics because of the unknown. I am not looking forward to the next 4-8 years.

  2. John Hanson says

    Good read Lee! I totally agree he puts Americans at further risk abroad with this ban. It’s such a shame what he’s doing.

  3. Spot on Lee, hope to see you back in the UK soon!

  4. Kai Chongloi says

    I still am surprised how he got elected!

    • Sadly I actually predicted exactly what happened to happen! SO I’m not surprised at all.

      • Lee I too travel lots to places many of my friends say
        Ur going where ??
        I look at travel as being an ambassador of USA
        and I seek to meet people from all walks of life and
        Cultures/Religions — I have NEVER — been treated
        Badly in any country …
        ALL PEOPLE want the same things
        Family and to be safe
        Roof over their heads
        Food on the table
        Ability to support their family
        Freedom to practice their religious beliefs
        And finally the golden rule
        To treat people as they would like to be treated

        I know there are people who do not have these
        Beliefs and challenge us who do by terrorizing
        the rest of us – we need to be vigilant – but that
        Doesn’t mean we become crazy and panic!!!

  5. Totally agree with you Lee. I’m in Muslim country right now (Malaysia) and when asked where I’m from I find myself saying California. A, it makes me super cool. But more importantly it separates me from the Red states which I’m hoping the person who asked me where I’m from knows the difference.

  6. This is perfect, thank you for echoing my sentiments!

  7. Teddy Ballgame says

    Spot on Lee. Well written.

  8. Marcy Schackne says

    Thanks for your insight, Lee. Sadly, I agree. I already changed some plans but still have a Nepal and Tibet trip planned for the summer and I am nervous. I believe we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg now and there will be more story to tell in the months ahead. #SafeTravels

  9. Spot on – when I traveled during the Bush years it was always a political discussion from the minute I jumped into the airport cab. But most people can recognize the difference in people vs government – “we like Americans but we hate your president/govt/foreign policies/etc” I’d get questions “why don’t Americans vote?, “why so few passports”, “why don’t they travel”, etc – it was fascinating to see how engaged the rest of the world is in the US and disheartening that so many US are not. What we do here affects the world whether we know it or not
    I was at WTM London during the election and saw the reaction before and after and it was so interesting – the global community expressing their concerns and perceptions for themselves and their travelers into the US
    It’s definitely a challenge for travelers both in and out of the US –

  10. Yes. I definitely agree. As an American living in a Canada I am really dreading this. It’s every cocktail party conversation here at home in Vancouver, -and everywhere I travel abroad. Reminds me of when i first moved here in fall of 2002 after the Bush administration invaded Afghanistan. Like it or not it controversial public policy incites a lot of anti-Americanism abroad, not just anti-the administration. As an American, whether you voted for them or not this is an uncomfortable and frustrating experience. Thanks for writing this, I can share it with people to explain what it’s like.

    That being said, it also reminds me of what my tour guide at the Cu Chi tunnels said in Vietnam a couple years ago. I was anticipating a whole lot of anti-Americanism, and got the exact opposite. He explained to me that from his perspective there’s a different between the politicians and the people. During the war and after they saw all the people marching and protesting in the streets. They felt solidarity wih american people for protesting. I think we are seeing a lot of the same today.

  11. Did you really have to use a picture of him? I’m trying to avoid looking at that face at all!

    But seriously, agree with everything you said. Also have heard that he is considering scrapping the current visa waiver program that we have with most of Europe and Australia, letting their citizens visit visa free. That would be a HUGE blow to our tourism industry, even more than a Trump presidency already is (I have heard anecdotally from many foreign friends that they won’t travel here while he’s president).

  12. Well written Lee! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and perspective on the situation.
    You explained everything well. Thanks for sharing????

  13. Well written Lee! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and perspective on the situation.
    You explained everything well. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Very well said. I appreciate you stating your opinion and being open to each side. I voted for him but I regret it now. I’ve received so much backlash as you say from friends. I’m embarrassed for it.

    • Thanks and sorry you’re receiving backlash but that’s what this election has become…a lightning rod either way. People have lost their heads about it and he doesn’t do anything to calm things and incites more.

  15. I find it interesting that you choose to end your post with (Americans – 318+ million people) “being villainized without cause”. Because there is an entire religion (1.6+ billion people) and an entire region (410+ million people) that has been villainized without cause for over 15 years. And just like many of your readers who did not actively villainize an entire ethnic group, nor do the rest of the world collectively villainize all Americans who travel. A non-American is asking an American what they think of Trump and current American policies because they want to know who is sitting across the table from them at breakfast and if it is someone, as an individual, that they want to engage with, debate with, and learn from.

    Isn’t that what all of the travel blogs are here to tell us travel is about? sharing ideas, cultures and beliefs.

    • The article is not about Muslim people asking Americans…it’s about what American said should expect while traveling under the current administration.

      • I didn’t say it was about Muslim people asking Americans. I questioned why you choose to end a what to expect piece with the idea that all Americans travelling beyond its borders “will be villianized without cause”. It is a charged statement. Some Americans will be villianized without cause, some will be villianized for cause, and some will be just part of the fabric of conversations of inquisitive people met along the journey.

        I am not Muslim but I found your ending to be a bit grandiose; rest of the article I found quite level.

    • Most Muslims are great people, but that doesn’t mean the refugees have caused a mess in Europe. Any traveler should be concerned with the Islamic “invasion” of Europe.

  16. It is a temporary 3 month ban on ALL people from those 7 countries (NOT just Muslims) from a list that was compiled by Barak Obama. No one but American citizens have a right to come into the USA. If the current president wants to strengthen the vetting process, so be it. So sad the hysteria has gotten out of hand.

    • It hasn’t gotten out of hand at all

    • Irene,
      The ban is unconstitutional. It violated the 5th Amendment which forbids the government from “depriving any individual of liberty without due process of law.”
      The victims of this ban arrived in America lawfully and with the “requisite documentation” issued by the United States government.
      Yet they’ve been detained without a hearing or due process, and have been barred from speaking with legal advocates.
      Trump’s actions have deprived legal citizens and legal immigrants of their “liberty without due process of law.”
      Yes it is going to “get out of hand” because the president is taking actions that are flagrantly unconstitutional!

  17. Kevin Higgins says

    What kind of person who caters to the rich uses his business website to take a public stand against Donald Trump. You may not be very bright Lee.

  18. I’ve followed you for a long time but this is my favorite post of yours! Good for you!

  19. Always enjoy your open and honest take on things. It’s a crazy time!

  20. Very well written article. You stated your case in a way that is tough to argue because it’s via your experiences that are remarkable. I wish I could articulate my thoughts like this.

  21. Great job making your points intelligently, directly and without emotional bias based on your experiences. I wish more people could be objective about politics. This is coming from someone who is bitter about the election.????

  22. I was in England for 6 months on & off last year. I, without exception, was always asked about Trump, usually with a “What are you guys thinking?” comment. I didn’t take it as adversarial. One person said, “Don’t Americans realize that what they do affects everyone else on the planet?” My answer was obviously not. I think travel changes things. Seeing how other people live in different cultures makes it hard to want to close doors. I’m planning an overseas move, and quite frankly I feel safer in the UK right now.

  23. This what not helpful in what to expect while traveling during the Time of Trump. I feel like it was just an article to express your opinion about politics. I don’t think people follow you because of your political opinion. Just a suggestion, stick to what people follow you for and don’t misinterpret your number of followers being based from your political views.

  24. My sentiments exactly . I’m getting read to start my first extend solo trip abroad and my first stop is London . While I generally feel safe as I travel im a bit aprehensive as well. It makes me wonder if people will say they are Canadian while abroad . I’ve thought about it but I’m proud to be a Mexican American . I think it will be a great opportunity to showcase who we are . Hopefully more positive interactions that’s negative but that will largely determine how we carry ourselves

  25. This is a great article. As a brand new travel blogger, I have been thinking about this a lot. I must have been crazy back in October when I decided this is the life I wanted but I honestly never thought Trump would get close to being elected. Now, venturing out into the world, I think it will be harder to meet locals and friends abroad because you are marked whether you want to be or not. Especially as a white female from the “Bible Belt”. As soon as they here that southern drawl they assume conservative and republican even though it’s hardly the case. I definitely believe it will be tougher for American travelers. It’s our responsibility to show what America truly is instead of what he would have the world believe.

  26. Anyone who refers to President Trump’s Executive Order which temporarily halts immigration from seven countries for 90 days as a “Muslim Ban” has an agenda and is not being honest. There are over 50 predominantly Muslim countries in the world and only seven are temporarily banned for 90 days. These seven countries are from the list of countries referred to in the “Terrorist Travel Watch Act of 2010” enacted by President Obama, these countries are in such turmoil that it is impossible to vet the people properly to ensure that they are not a danger to our country. It’s OK to dislike President Trump and his policies but don’t be dishonest about what he’s doing and remember he is our duly elected president for the next four years, give him a chance.

    • I agree Vince. It certainly isn\’t a \”Muslim\” ban. It\’s a temporary halt on immigration from countries with ties to terrorism that do not have good vetting procedures in place. And to Lee, our borders are NOT closed. Please don\’t insinuate that just because you\’re not \”100% sure\” of what the EO entails. Read it and educate yourself. America has also implemented refugee immigration halts/bans in the past under the last six presidents.

  27. As a non-American who has been travelling as long as you I can say I agree. During the Bush years, we met many Americans on our travels. I felt sad when the first thing the majority of them would do when we met was to apologize to us for Bush. Some even pretended they were Canadian. I hated Bush. We moved to the US when he was President and I was worried. I almost pulled out. I had the idea that most Americans must be like that if he was voted in and I was going to hate it.

    But, I discovered something totally different. Moving to the US was the best decision I ever made. I’ve been an avid fan and promoter of the country and people ever since. I met mostly the warmest, friendliest, most curious and attentive people. I was made to feel very welcome. It’s awful to think that may change. But I have faith that it won’t for the most part by the majority.

    Obama did so much to restore the international communities faith and interest in American people, which I loved seeing. I can’t say much about his politics, but I loved him as a person. I’m really sad to see how Trump is going to destroy that. He makes Bush seem lovely.

    We’re getting a lot of comments ourselves now with our decision to come back over now for three years, something we’ve been planning and working towards making happen for years. I feel a little crazy and my enthusiasm has waned somewhat. People are calling to boycott the US, which I think is just an ineffective and brattish solution. Only the people can be hurt worse than that and I love Americans, I’m not going to turn my back on y’all because of this.

    I hope so much Trump self-destructs so badly he’ll be out soon and those checks and balances hold up. My intention is to still come over and share what we love about American and Americans. Share the good stories and the good people. They are there amongst the darkness and the world needs to hear more of the light! I think it’s our job as travellers (and travel bloggers) to share that.

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