By Marlee Ginter

ELK GROVE (CBS13) — It has been a challenging year for everyone and it appears many are ready to throw in the towel and get out of the United States.

International Living has seen a 1,605% surge in traffic over the last four months on its website mapping out how to leave the U.S. From the pandemic to a contentious election season, one can only guess at why many may be thinking about packing their bags for good.

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“I think you’ve got to leave all options open. Maybe a more boring, safer, more vanilla existence is the goal,” said traveler Gavin Caganoff.

“No, this is our country. Hopefully, this can turn a table and bring people together instead of apart,” said traveler Russ Jones.

“We all get frustrated and say it, ‘I’m gonna move to Canada!’ Well, we’re not welcome in Canada right now,” said Roy Lindahl, owner of Elk Grove Travel.

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Lindahl says as tempting or even as glamorous as it may sound to pack up and start anew, roughly 95% of the world is closed off. In fact, there’s only one place without travel restrictions right now and that’s Mexico.

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Former CBS13 News Anchor Pallas Hupé Cotter took the leap of faith nearly a decade ago.  Cotter’s husband got a new job opportunity overseas prompting them to move their family of four to New Zealand. Cotter points out they didn’t leave to escape problems like a pandemic or political polarization and even then, starting over wasn’t easy.

“Don’t run away from something, run towards something. Go somewhere, if you’re going to go, and go not to get away from the problems but to contribute to a new society. Because there’s no nirvana,” said Cotter.

Lindahl also cautions people to think about what they’d be giving up if they did leave the U.S.

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“I think a lot of people are stuck here. I hear it all the time, ‘I’m going to leave.’  But you really never thought that through,” said Lindahl.

You may not be allowed to work or make money in the country you move to right away. Your healthcare insurance may not cover you outside the U.S. And the quality of life and accommodations may also not be up to your expectations.

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Experts say it can take years to get citizenship in another country. Many will let you buy citizenship, but that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you are really serious about it, several countries are offering citizenship discounts through the end of 2020.