Seasoned American travelers often look to the Department of State for advisories about everything from natural disasters to labor strikes in unfamiliar places. But what hazards are foreign governments warning their own travelers about when it comes to visiting the States?
Recently, the U.S. has warranted an array of cautions for foreign travelers, some graver than others. Here’s what international visitors are warned about before entering the U.S.
Police and Protests
Deadly police shootings have rocked the U.S. lately, and could now also be distancing some foreign visitors. The Bahamas, a nation that’s over 90 percent black, recently warned its U.S.-bound travelers about American police. The Caribbean country issued a travel advisory suggesting Bahamians — especially young men– “exercise extreme caution in affected cities in their interactions with the police,” and advised travelers “not be confrontational” if they are stopped by authorities.
The warning was issued days after officers in Louisiana and Minnesota shot and killed two black men in separate incidents that took place in the same 24 hours. Other countries like Bahrain and Australia have also advised travelers to be cautious in areas where police shootings occurred, and where protests are held in response to incidents like these.
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American gun laws are extremely lax in comparison to those overseas—at least Germany, Australia, and even our northern neighbor Canada think so. Those are just a few of the countries that brief their travelers on the availability of weapons in the States, and on the subsequent increased risk of being subject to violent crime.
This advice doesn’t usually amount to travel alerts or warnings, but can be found on foreign government advisory websites regarding security and safety information about U.S. travel — in particular after mass shootings occur. An Australian politician called for a travel warning about guns in the States following the San Bernardino attacks last year, but the information simply included on Australia’s Smart Traveller program’s website.
“You should be vigilant to the possibility of gun crime in all parts of the United States,” the security section of the website reads. “For those living in the United States, you should familiarise (sic) yourself with emergency evacuation and ‘active shooter’ drills.”
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America’s expensive healthcare system is another topic foreign governing bodies include on travel advisory sites. Without insurance, a visit to the ER, an ambulance ride, or even a routine doctor appointment costs much more in the U.S. than it would abroad, so Australia makes sure its travelers know to purchase health insurance.
“Regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel,” Australia’s Smart Traveller program advises.
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