The world enjoys mocking the United States regarding how supposedly a low percentage of Americans hold passports (ranging from 10-30% by some estimates). It feeds the stereotype that Americans are uncultured and ignorant of the world beyond their borders while believing that the United States is the center of the planet. It's argued that the American government and media declaring that the United States is the "greatest country in the world" discourages Americans from going abroad. That might be one explanation but how about a good-faith, less hateful reason?
Look at the geography and climates of the United States. It's one of the few countries that has a massive array of landscapes and terrains. Do you want forests? The Pacific Northwest is the place for you. Deserts? The Southwest. Beaches? California and Florida. Mountains and snow? Alaska is the answer. Surfing? The Golden State again and Hawaii. Flat and farmlands? The Great Plains states. Places with an "old" feel to them? New England, parts of the mid-Atlantic and Virginia would be safe bets. With all this tucked into one giant country, is it any wonder why many Americans don't see the need to travel abroad? Why bother with the hassle of international airports when you have everything you need and want within your vicinity?
It could be argued that exploring a foreign country opens you up to a new culture. That is true but honestly, how many other international travelers go to another country "for the culture"? Many people have to travel because it's a part of their job, much as it was for my father; his time in other countries was for work-sponsored tasks, not for pleasure. In addition to him, people such as diplomats, military personnel and aircraft crews are all required to travel by the nature of their jobs. They're not going there specifically to absorb local cultures, although it can sometimes still be possible for them to simultaneously work and experience another country. Immigrants usually choose to move to another country for economic reasons; learning the new culture is a part of immigration rather than the cause of it; take my family - our international moves stemmed from economic motives.
And, of course, let's not forget the thousands of British people who visit Spain, Italy and Greece every year. Are they going there because they harbor deep desires to learn about the Reconquista, Leonardo da Vinci and the Cradle of Western Civilization? No, they go there for the beaches, the hot weather and (sometimes) for intentional intoxication. Who does more harm: somebody who visits Spain, gets drunk and ends up committing a crime or a family who travels from Ohio to Florida on a family vacation?
Not visiting other countries does not mean that you know nothing about them: Thanks to the Internet and easy communication, I know about French politics despite having never set foot in France. I haven't been to Iran yet I have conducted some studying of its cities and while I've never been anywhere near New Zealand, I have learnt that its terrain is similar to that of Oregon. Granted, it would be an amazing opportunity to visit these places and I would benefit from that but, at the same time, I lose nothing by not traveling. I would never criticize Americans who don't engage in international travel and I would be a hypocrite if I ever were to: during my family's fourteen-and-a-third years living there, I never left the country during that time (except when we moved away) and I have yet to travel from the United Kingdom since we came here in 2010. Only Dad travelled - because it was required of him for his work.
It's not shameful to not travel provided that you don't hate other
peoples simply because they're different. The problem isn't people who
don't travel - it's people who don't take the time to learn, understand
and appreciate others, and such close-minded individuals can be of any