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Top safety hazards to keep in mind when traveling to the U.S.

In this article, we will go over some of the common risks when traveling to the U.S.

Did you know that the U.S. has been ranked the top country for tourism in 2024? The United States is a vast and diverse country and one of the top tourist destinations in the world. It attracts travelers with its iconic landmarks, stunning landscapes, and vibrant cities. From the sun-kissed beaches of California to the gorgeous skyline of New York City, the U.S. promises a one-of-a-kind and unforgettable experience.

Having said that, the U.S. has its own set of safety concerns like every other travel destination on the globe. To truly ensure a safe and enjoyable trip, visitors must arm themselves with knowledge about potential hazards or risks and take necessary precautions. In this article, we will go over some of the common risks when traveling to the U.S.

Natural disasters
The U.S. offers a diverse and beautiful landscape that presents endless opportunities for travelers. There’s a reason why the country welcomes around 50.87 million international visitors every year. However, certain regions in the U.S. are known for frequently occurring natural disasters.

To illustrate, the West Coast is susceptible to earthquakes, the Midwest faces the threat of tornadoes, hurricanes hit the Southeast, and blizzards occur in the Northeast. Like every other tourist destination, the U.S. also has its share of seasonal natural disasters. However, these natural events do not occur year-round but at certain times of the year. However, 2024 has been earmarked as the most active tornado season since 2017 in the U.S.

Knowing when these natural events occur will save travelers from disappointment. Tourists must check weather forecasts and alerts before and during the trip. Other preventive measures include looking up the evacuation routes, researching shelter locations in disaster-prone areas, having a communication plan with travel companions, and carrying emergency supplies.

Suspected AFFF discharge areas
One of the biggest man-made disasters in the U.S. is using AFFF, or Aqueous Film-Forming Foam, at military bases, airports, and industrial sites. While it’s super effective in putting out flammable liquid fires, it contains PFAS—a group of chemicals known for their tendency to never break down. According to TorHoerman Law, they cause health concerns like cancer, hormone disruption, and developmental problems.

Multiple sites all over the U.S. are suspected of having PFAS contamination in soil and groundwater. Direct exposure to these chemicals has put thousands of lives at risk, and there’s an active firefighting foam lawsuit against the makers of the AFFF. These lawsuits allege that they knew the dangers and yet didn’t warn the unsuspecting victims.

Travelers must research any known or suspected AFFF contamination sites near the areas they plan to visit to minimize exposure. They should also avoid drinking untreated water in such places and stay updated with local advisories and guidelines regarding AFFF contamination.

Crime prone areas
When traveling to the U.S., being aware of the crime risks is crucial. In city areas, especially in crowded tourist spots, tourists should be vigilant against theft, pickpocketing, and scams. Some of the biggest concerns in these areas are car theft and break-ins, and travelers must book accommodation in a reputed neighborhood.

In the U.S., violent crime levels vary from city to city and neighborhood to neighborhood. Therefore, it’s a must to research the area where you plan to put up. According to a 2023 Gallup study, 63% of Americans feel that the U.S. crime problem is extremely serious.

Tourists are advised to be aware of their surroundings late at night, avoid displaying valuables openly, and opt for reputable transportation options. They should also always share the itinerary with someone trusted.

Animal and insect encounters
The U.S. is one of many countries boasting diverse wildlife, but according to a new report on U.S. Wildlife conservation reveals that around 40% of the wildlife is at risk. And it’s the responsibility of tourists to respect animals and be aware of any potential threats. For example, bears exist in many national parks and wilderness areas, venomous snakes in areas with tall grass or rocky terrain, alligators and crocodiles in the Southeastern U.S., etc.

Tourists must follow wildlife guidelines, if any, be mindful of their steps, avoid swimming in unknown waters, and more. Before visiting any region in the U.S., it’s a must to research the local wildlife and follow any safety recommendations. Respecting wildlife and their habitats will ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Understanding the potential hazards present in the U.S. and taking preventive measures will ensure a safe and memorable trip. Before embarking on the trip, it’s essential to research destinations, follow safety guidelines, and respect the environment. With awareness and caution, you can rest assured that the U.S. will be an unforgettable trip with its diverse landscapes and cultural attractions.