United States of America – a country with easy access to thousands of miles of beautiful beaches, coastline, mountains and vibrant cities, is a welcoming destination of about 75 million visitors from around the world each year.
USA is the third largest country with a population of more than 325 million, according to the US Census Bureau. American culture was influenced by nearly every region of the world. It is sometimes referred to as a ‘melting pot’, a metaphor describing society where different types of people blend together as one. And what’s important, they all accept American values. United States is enriched by different ethnic groups, by their art, music, literature, cuisine. This is why it is one of the most diverse countries in the world.
America consists of 50 states, each very unique. You will witness there multicultural way of living, different religions and traditions, many different languages and huge number of exciting destinations to choose from. Besides many popular attractions that most tourists visit, there are many little-known places with hidden natural and cultural wonders that are worth checking out as well.
Although the tourism industry in the country is booming, it still has its share of dangers – from larceny to gun violence, hurricanes and tornados.
To enjoy your trip to the US it is essential to be ready and prepared in advance for it. This is why it is important to take a few precautions before you plan your trip:
Crimes like pickpocketing, burglary and vehicle theft can happen anywhere, and in particular, when you visit a new country, you may be a prime target for criminals. You need to be extra cautious, especially in crowded streets in big cities like New York or in the inner city areas. Be wary of beggars, they can become quite aggressive and can use different kind of tricks to steal your stuff.
Make sure that your personal belongings, including passport, credit cards, travel documents are secure at all times. Keep them in a zipped pocket. It is also recommended to carry a copy of your passport, and leave the original in your hotel room safe.
But what if you lost your passport (or it was stolen)? Here is what you have to do immediately:
1. Report it to the government to get a replacement passport.
2. Inform the police within 24 hours, and get a report from them documenting the theft or loss (it will help you make a travel insurance claim).
3. Call your travel insurance company as soon as you can.
Bear in mind that your well-being abroad is your own responsibility. Be aware of local laws surrounding alcohol consumption; never leave your personal belongings unattended. However if you find yourself concerned about your safety based on dimension of diversity, such as gender, religion or ethnicity, here are some useful sources from the American Civil Liberties Union and here from the Southern Poverty Law Center that can help you answer your questions.
The United States is one of the largest countries in the world, which means climate varies in each part of it. Depending on what time of the year you travel and where you’re heading to, it is important to take care of yourself, so pack some warm clothes for the winter regions and stay hydrated in hot parts of the country.
Here is some useful information to help you better understand better the climate differences in America:
– East Coast – it is hot in the summer and cold in the winter;
– Southern states – hot and humid in the summer and mild during winter;
– West Coast – it’s a warm part of the country all year round, however it can get very cold and windy in the winter in the Northern states, with big chances of heavy snow;
– Pacific Northwest is known for its big amounts of rain.
It must be emphasized, that the US is known with a range of natural disasters, like earthquakes (they happen quite often in Alaska and California), hurricanes (Southeastern states), floods, tornadoes (mostly Southern states experience them).
To minimize the risk of getting stuck in any of those weather conditions, be sure to check out the forecast. Additional information is available from the U.S. Geological Survey.
PHARMACIES IN AMERICA
Regional supermarket brands, or department stores such as Walmart, rule and operate many pharmacy chains. The three most popular free-standing pharmacy chains are Walgreen’s, CVS, Rite Aid, and Eckerd’s. There are many individually owned pharmacies, as well. Usually the drug stores are located in different facilities, in the grocery stores, hospitals and clinics, and are often large, “one-stop-shop” centers.
If you have any medical questions always ask а pharmacist – the only trained and licensed person in pharmacology in the drug stores.
Many items that do not require a prescription in other countries, are available only with a medical practitioner’s prescription in the US. Most of the pharmacies don’t give the prescription drugs right away. The pharmacist needs some time to review your allergies, dosing, drug interactions, to make sure you get a medication that is safe for you. This is why it takes 15 minutes or more to fill a prescription. Usually over-the-counter medications are available without a prescription and you can also find them in most retail environments, gas stations and grocery stores.
Note that, no pharmacy will fill a foreign prescription. It is a legal issue; they are not recognized in the US.
AMERICAN HEALTH CARE & INSURANCE
Most Americans have medical insurance, often obtained through their employers, government systems, or through private companies. In the United States, 58% of hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities are non-profit, 21% are government-owned, 21% for-profit enterprises.
Medical care can be extremely costly. According to a study by National Institute, the average cost of a visit to the Emergency Room for patients across the country is approximately 2,168 $. If you realize how much health care costs in the US, you will have no doubts whether you need to purchase it. As a visitor, obtaining the travel medical insurance can protect you from unexpected and from high medical expenses in America.
It is notable that the United States has the best health care facilities in the world. Top doctors, innovative treatment and high-quality attract international patients. Top three hospitals with outstanding performance across multiple areas of care recognized by the Honor Roll are: Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, followed by Johns Hopkins Hospital.
If you need emergency medical assistance, dial 911.
It is the number for all emergency services:
Police – 911
Ambulance – 911
Fire service – 911
ENJOY HEALTHY TRAVEL
You should always check if you need any vaccinations before traveling to any destination. As for the United States of America, there are no vaccination requirements for visitors. But you should know that rules for mandatory vaccinations are different if you travel with a work visa or as an immigrant.
There is nothing more frustrating than being on a vacation you’ve been looking forward to for months, and then getting sick. Make sure you pack some basic things: allergy medicine, cold or diarrhea remedies, plasters, anti-bacterial wipes.
Don’t forget to hydrate yourself, especially if you do a lot of activities.
The United States has a wide range of outdoor activities. The most effective way to ensure a safe hiking, skiing, climbing, caving or surfing, is to be well prepared for them. Wear appropriate clothing, footing, check your equipment, avoid insect bites, always keep an eye on predicted weather conditions, set up your camp during daylight, away from the edge of cliffs and keep in mind, that if you have any medical conditions, you need to share your plans with your insurance provider to get approval before departing.
Most of the US restaurants have rules in place designed to keep their visitors with food allergies safe. It is still recommended to inform waiter about your dietary restrictions and make sure your meal is prepared according to your dietary needs.
Here is a very valuable resource for travelers with food allergies, diabetes and other medical issues, where you can find nutrition information and restaurant options, for healthy dining.
Discover the United Stated of America with your Travel Medical Insurance.
With it – you can relax and enjoy a stress-free trip, instead of worrying about what might happen.