United States of America

(Cities in the US: ChicagoHonolulu, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Orlando, San Francisco, Washington DC)

The US is perhaps the most famous country in the world, not only for being the world’s largest economic power and its cultural center since World War II; but also as a leading tourist destination. With over 74m international tourist arrivals (as of 2014), it is the second most visited country after France.

The United States have a lot of appealing features for tourists, such as its city that never sleeps (New York City), vast natural parks throughout the country and sunny beaches on the Pacific (Los Angeles) or the Caribbean (Miami).

While a generally safe country for tourists, some areas of some cities are best avoided. City Safe has compiled information from numerous sources make sure you have a safe trip in the US and be aware of all potential dangers.

The US is the 51th safest country in the world, based on the safest and most dangerous countries ranking.

69.4%

Safety Index: Safe

See all country safety rankings

Is the US a Safe or Dangerous Country?

The US is a safe country. It is ranked 51th on the ranking of world’s safest countries, which puts it in the top-third of the ranking. All the risks listed here have a small chance of happening, but prevention is better than cure.

The US is often criticized for having one of the highest crime rate in the world due to gun violence (American movies and TV shows tend to exaggerate this); despite the fact that crime rankings only ranks it at the 114th place out of 218.

Most violent crime is concentrated around inner urban areas of some cities, as well as some poor suburbs with drug and gang violence. Check the page associated to each city to see these areas on a map. We also discourage tourists to stay around the Mexico border in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas as they have been reports of crime and car theft.

Nonetheless travelers may face some minor dangers like petty crime, aggressive homeless people, dangerous traffic or natural hazards.

Since 9/11, most touristic landmarks have seen an increase in police presence, and tourists can expect to be frisked and have their bags opened at museums or other monuments.

Mass shootings and isolated terrorist attacks such as the Boston marathon bombing are on the rise : they were over 372 mass shootings in the US in 2015. Still, they mostly occur in cities and neighborhoods unfrequented by tourists.

Cases of pickpocketing and bag-snatching are on a steep decline in the US, as can be read in this article; it is still wise to watch your valuables while in the subway or buses.

Begging is not uncommon in some larger cities, but not to a greater extent than in most other major cities, and you will rarely experience aggressive beggars. Some beggars are organized in groups. Be aware that flashing any cardboard sign very near to your body could be a pickpocket trick.

Civil unrest is prone to happen in some areas, such as the recent outbreaks in Ferguson, Missouri. Some protests can lead to fights between the demonstrators and police force, it is therefore unwise to join any of these protests.

In case of emergency, dial 911 to get help. Dial 311 for all non-emergency situations.

Protect your personal belongings at all times, especially your ID and passport. Petty crime, like targeting rental / tourist cars to steal their valuables, can be an issue in some areas.

For more details, see city specific advice or take a look at our travel articles.

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Warnings & Dangers

Low Priority-96OVERALL RISK: LOW

The US is a very safe country. It is ranked 51th out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries.

Pickpocket-96

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

There is nearly no pickpocket risk in the US. A few simple precautions will minimize your chances of being pickpocketed.

Bank Robbery-96

MUGGING & KIDNAPPING RISK: MEDIUM

The US is an averagely safe country regarding the chances of being mugged or kidnapped. Be aware of dangerous zones by asking local advice.

Fraud-96

SCAMS RISK: MEDIUM

As in any touristic place, there may be people trying to scam you in the US. Be aware of “gold ring” tricks, shady wi-fi hotspots and ATMs that look to have been tampered with.

Subway-96

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

Transports and taxis are generally very safe in the US.

Earthquakes-96

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

There can be some occasional natural hazards (geological, meteorological) in some localized states of the US. For instance, Earthquakes can happen around the west coast and Hawaii; Hurricanes are an issue on coastal states and wildfires are common in some regions during summer.

Terrorism-96

TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM

The US has not recently been targeted by any major terrorist attack, but it is best to stay alert.

Female-96WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

The US is generally very safe for women travelers.

Useful Information

The US has one of the harshest entry policy, sometimes asking for an interview even for a tourist visa. Prepare to pay fees up to USD 160 for your application.

Some countries like the ones from the EU or Australia have a visa waiver program (ESTA) which can be filled online. See https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en.html for more information.

Strong custom regulations also apply (see the CPB website for more details), and the Travel Safety Administration can open your luggage without your presence.

www.doyouneedvisa.com is a useful website that can help you know if you need a visa or not based on your nationality and the country you’re visiting.

The currency in the United States is the US Dollar. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted countrywide, and ATMs are found nearly in every city.
The costs can vary widely between the states, but it is fair to assume a $100 budget per day on average, $150 if you rent a car and around $300 for top end accomodation.
A 10% service tipping is customary in many sectors such as airport and hotel bag porters, bartenders , hotel maids, restaurant servers and taxi drivers.
The weather in the US varies greatly between the states : from the mediterranean weather of California to the Glaciers of Alaska or the subtropical Florida, each region has its best time to visit; although major cities can be visited all year round.
This graph can be useful for finding the best time to travel.
The main international airports are in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Dallas, Denver and San Francisco.
If you’re looking fore cheap flight deals, you can find some on JetRadar
As in any country, we advise travelers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on our travel insurance page
Got more questions? Ask them in the Q&A forum!

Here are four of the best Travel Guides for United States of America

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