Across many categories, the USA is the number one country in the world. It is perhaps the most popular tourist destination, and it is the most popular country in the world. To this day, the United States of America is the most powerful nation, and it is the one that is the most influential in terms of culture.
The USA is a huge country with 50 states to choose from, each with its own charm, each offering a unique experience. In fact, if you have the resources to do so, it could be a worthwhile goal to visit all 50 states. The main question in this article is, in general, is the USA a safe place to travel?
Why the USA is a Safe Place to Visit
The short answer to the question posted above is yes. However, since the USA is such a huge country, there are places in the nation where that yes is bigger and more applicable than others.
Indeed, there are some cities in the USA where you rarely find any tourists. Even the locals don’t travel much to these places.
That is in deep contrast with some of the most popular places in the whole world that are found in this nation. These are just a few of those:
- New York city – dubbed as the city that never sleeps, filled with endless possibilities and a freedom that only a few other places in the world can boast.
- Los Angeles, California – this place is known as the city of angels. This is quite a literal nickname since the term Los Angeles actually translates to that, but also the name fits since it is home to Hollywood and its stunning actors.
The list could go on and on, and each region in the country can sometimes have such different profiles that they can pass as an entirely different country of their own, but this is what makes America great. It is built after the saying, unity in diversity.
The United States of America is also home to the most advanced, and just basically the best, educational institutions in the world. Through scholarships and other types of funding, it also attracts the best students from around the world, where they conduct, among other things, the most advanced researches.
General Overview of Safety
What is the risk profile of the USA? Let’s take a closer look at what are the potential risks one could face when they visit the country.
First of all, let’s look at the overall risk of the USA. So, overall, the USA is very safe and visiting the country shouldn’t be a problem at all.
In fact, there is just a small chance that tourists visiting the country will experience any form of trouble at all.
However, the country is far from perfect when it comes to safety. Most recently, what really tarnished the country’s safety reputation are the mass shootings that are happening in schools and other mass gatherings.
Having said that, there is a very small chance that these unwanted incidences will occur in places where most tourists go to.
How about transportation? Well, in the United States of America, the mode of transportation varies greatly depending on which state or city you are in. In general, though, public transportation is reliable and safe, and driving around is a pleasant experience.
How about petty crimes like pickpockets? The risk assessment for this is low. That means that in reality, pickpockets are virtually nonexistent in the US. There are incidents, of course, but these are few and far between.
In fact, according to many reports and studies, the rate of petty crime is steadily declining over the past few years. Even so, you still need to apply the basic rules of safety; that is, take care of your belongings especially when you’re riding public transportation or moving about in public areas where there are crowds of people.
When it comes to natural disasters, certain places in the United States suffer from natural disasters from time to time. For example, if you’re in the west coast, watch out for earthquakes.
For the coastal areas, the main natural disaster you have to keep in mind are hurricanes. In addition, for regions where the summer can be extremely hot, such as in California, you should look out for wildfires.
Crimes that occur in the USA can be categorized according to the following; Scams, Terrorism, and Mugging.
The USA is not exempt from having people trying to scam other people. Some of these scams include tampered ATMs and people showing large signs to try to confuse you and divert your attention.
Over the past few years, the country has not been a target of terrorist attacks. Depending on how you define the term, you may consider labeling the isolated incidents of mass shooting as such, but perhaps the last major terrorist attack that happened on US soil was the twin tower attacks back in 2001.
When it comes to mugging, the best way to avoid being a victim of such is if you avoid certain places in some cities. Having said that, street crime in the USA is pretty uncommon, and mugging and kidnapping are rare as well.
Safety Concerns While Traveling to the USA
As of the time of this writing, the world is currently facing a global health crisis which has basically shut down tourism everywhere. However, when all this is over, expect tourism in the USA to rise up again.
Each year, the number of visitors and tourists that go to the USA number by the millions. When you’re planning on visiting the country soon, here are some other safety concerns you need to address.
Perhaps the main attraction of the USA is its big cities and thriving towns. By going to these amazing places, you will experience different cultures, taste delicious foods, and immerse in communities that will make your experience truly memorable.
When walking in streets, the general rules for safety apply; at night, you should stay away from dark places. Moreover, when you’re walking in crowded areas, you should take care of your belongings.
Gun crime is a big issue in the United States. As mentioned above, there have been isolated incidents of mass shootings in schools, cinemas, and other public locations.
Some analysts attribute this relatively high rates of gun violence to the fact that many people possess guns. Indeed, there are gun-related crimes, not just mass shootings, that occur on a daily basis.
This is perhaps one of the country’s major safety issues. When compared to Canada for example, the US has 6 times more gun-related fatalities. That number is 7 times when compared to Sweden.
The United States is very rich in animal diversity. Some of the wildlife you can find in the country include bison, wolves, moose, mountain lions, alligators. The country is home to various kinds of habitats for these animals.
The most common wildlife in the US, though, and one that is really common in the country and what people associate with the country the most, are bears.
When you’re visiting national parks, you should be wary of bears. They can be quite dangerous. Not only can they steal your food, they can attack you if they are triggered to do so.
Safety During the Winter
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys winter-related sports activities, then the USA is a great tourist destination. Some of the most popular resorts include the ones in Jackson Hole, Park City, Aspen Snowmass and Breckenridge.
So how can you stay safe during the winter weather? Here are some very important tips:
- You should wear appropriate clothing. This includes multiple layers of clothes, waterproof and well-insulated boots, mittens and a hat.
- You should always be aware of the possibility that you might get frostbite or hypothermia.
- What are the symptoms of hypothermia? These are severe shivering, exhaustion, dizziness and confusion.
- How about the symptoms of frostbite? A few symptoms include numbness, discoloration of skin (turning yellow, blue, white or flushed grey), and numbness.
- If possible, during a rough winter storm, you shouldn’t travel.
- If you have to travel, then wear your seatbelts. Everyone else traveling with you should wear their seatbelts as well.
- Don’t stay too close to other vehicles that are also traveling. It’s really hard to stop suddenly because the roads are too slippery.
- Avoid passing snow plows.
- Overpasses, bridges and ramps freeze first before the roadways.
Healthcare in the USA
Here are 5 important facts that you need to know about healthcare in the United States:
- No universal healthcare in the country – visitors and citizens will not receive any health benefits. Medical care will have to be paid for by you, or someone else, if you have to get treatment.
- Expensive healthcare – on top of not having health benefits, health care is quite expensive in the US. For example, breaking your legs could cause you 7,500 US dollars. A three day say in the hospital could cost you a whopping 30,000 US dollars.
- Health insurance – it is almost a must to have health insurance while you’re living in the USA. Almost everyone has it, and for good reason. Health insurance helps you pay the medical bills. Maintaining a health insurance involves regular payments called premiums. Health insurance companies will then help pay your bills, partially or in whole.
- Primary care providers – primary care providers or PCPs are physicians or nurse practitioners whom you will most often see when you need lab tests, physical exams, or when you’re feeling sick and need care. PCPs are also the go to person when you need regular visits for treatments to ongoing medical conditions.
- Appointments – to receive medical care, you need to call the office of your PCP to schedule an appointment. You will also have to explain the reason for your appointment. You will most likely get an earlier time schedule if you’re sick or you get hurt. For physical exams, you will most likely be scheduled at a later date.
Local Laws and Customs
Laws in the USA are different from one state to another. Even if you’re just in a state for a short period of time, while you’re there, the laws in that state apply to you.
Here are some traditions that only Americans can understand:
- Driving – Most Americans like to get around a lot, and most do not rely on public transportation. Indeed, Americans live the fast lives. The only walking to and fro that you might see in the States is in small towns.
- Eating big – Most Americans like to eat fast food and often use drive-thru windows. When in restaurants, guests are always served huge portions. This is probably one of the main factors why many suffer from obesity in the country.
- Fourth of July Celebration – The Fourth of July is a huge celebration that commemorates the birth of the country. It also pays tribute to the new freedom discovered by its founding fathers. Indeed, the significance of this date cannot be denied, and the USA really shows how big of a deal this holiday is for them through amazing fireworks displays, top of the line concerts, lots of food, and grandiose parades. The American flag also takes center stage during this day.
- Wanting to look young and stay young – It has been observed that one cultural obsession many Americans share is their desire to remain youthful. This can be attributed to the desire of many to dye their hair when it starts changing to a gray color, getting plastic surgery, looking for the latest and most effective anti-aging products, and going on a diet to maintain youthfulness.
- Long work hours – According to several studies, Americans spend more working hours than most countries. Aside from that, they retire at a much later year, and they have fewer vacations.
The USA is definitely a safe place to visit, and there are tons of reasons to visit this country, with each state offering a unique experience to its visitors.