is us safe

Recently, I have been seeing a lot of anti-America campaigns from the travellers saying that they won’t travel to USA. If you would ask me few years ago, I might agree with it. But not after travelling to USA three times. I get that Trump is not the most welcoming US president ever. But I personally think that if we are going to judge an entire country for the people running it – then we are most likely going to end up not leaving our own country. Or if you are one of those people who hate their own government then most likely you’ll end up in Mars. No kidding.

Which is why I believe that US deserve to be visited by travellers because it is more than what Hollywood movies and media tell us. So here are the 10 reasons why you should travel to USA.

1. US has one of the most diverse and insane landscapes.

I remember reading a report which shows Americans don’t travel abroad a lot compare to other Westerners. And one of the reasons cited is because Americans think that there are lots of things to do and see within US. Upon reading it, I thought that Americans are missing out. Then I travelled around US and visited a couple of National Parks and realized that they are right. Some of the most insane landscapes that I have ever seen are from the US.

US has so many beautiful and unique national parks, insane mountains, nice beaches and lakes, charming little towns and has the most diverse and alive cities in the world. If you have all of these in your country, will you still travel abroad? Probably, yes. But my point is, there are tons of things to see and interesting to do in the US that they are enough for a lot of Americans. And in my opinion, foreign travellers should see it for themselves too.

2. It is one of the most diverse countries in the world

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I have been to almost 40 countries and I have never seen a country as diverse as the US with the exemption of South Africa. You go to New York or Miami or Los Angeles and you will find different races –  people speaking in different languages and accent with unique culture on their own.

And if you want to try almost every cuisine in the world, then you are most likely to find them in New York, Florida or California.  The same way that you can find different architectures and cultures in the country. And for me it’s amazing. It’s a perfect example why differences and diversity are beautiful.

3. Not everyone is racist like media portray

Racism is one of the things that a lot of travellers cited why they won’t travel to US. But if I’m going to be honest, it is not an exclusive problem to the US. There’s racism everywhere. I am not justifying racist Americans but if you don’t want to travel to a racist country, then again you are most likely to end up with nothing again.

I have lived in 3 countries: Philippines, Belize and South Africa. And all of them suffered colonialism and one even suffered extreme racial segregation. And up to this day, there are lots of racism happening in these countries. The same way that there are racist people in Sweden, Italy, Canada, France etc.

Will I stop travelling to these countries? No. Because like I said, there are racist people everywhere. And in my personal experience, I haven’t encountered any racism towards me while I was travelling around US.

4. The Immigration officers are not all asshole

I heard a lot of complaints about American immigration officers being an asshole. I am not invalidating the experiences of some people – especially for those people of color like me who had terrible experience entering the USA. Some immigration officers can be really an ass for the lack of better word. But it is the same in any country in the world.

Whenever I go out of the country, our own immigration officers act like they are God and ask me questions that I just want to slap them with my passport sometimes. And no, it’s not the usual questions like how long will you stay there etc. Sometimes, they will give me the “is your foreign bf paying for your travel?” First off – no one is paying for my travel but me. Second off – I didn’t mention anything about visiting a bf so it’s sexist and judgmental as fuck. And some of our IOs here can be really rude that they can make some inexperienced travellers cry. So yes, it is not an exclusive problem to the US borders. And given that US is always leading target for terrorism and illegal immigration, it is not surprising if some border control are stricter than others.

And as for my personal experience, I had nothing but pleasant experience entering the States. The first time, I was so nervous that when the IO asked me where I’m from, I told him “I’m from the future.” It earned a laugh from him when I explained to him that I left my country at March 13, 8am and arrived in Los Angeles at 7:30am of the same day. The second time, I was asked if I was smuggling balut (duck egg with embryo – a local delicacy in the Philippines) to the country by a very friendly IO in Texas. Then I had long but fun chat with another IO in Miami Airport about Finland that it bored the people on the queue. So you see, Immigration officers who are friendly do exist.

5. American sports can be fun

I am not a big fan of sports so it doesn’t sound fun to me at all. But I have never seen any country where people talk about sports all the time. I have met American women who are very much into sports and kids who get excited about watching baseball or football and it’s quite fascinating for me. A lot of kids in South East Asia are always on their phones and sports can mean a video game. But in the US, baseball or basketball can be a good family and friends bonding time. Sports is more than a past time, it is a way to connect and socialize. And if you can, try to watch any local games. It’s far more interesting than seeing it from your TV screen.

6. There’s a culture in the US and it’s interesting

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A lot of travellers I know think that there’s no culture in the US. I must admit, I was guilty thinking of this. Growing up in the Philippines during the 90’s, we pretty much grew up in Hollywood movies, US TV shows and American music. I see Americans on TV all the time and being colonized by Americans – Philippines is pretty much Americanized in some ways.

So going to US doesn’t appeal to me because there’s nothing “exotic” or “new” for me. Until I visited the country and realized that American culture has very distinctive character – and that is diverse cultural influences that make up the United States of America.

It’s a melting pot of cultures. It’s a combination of European, Asian, American Indian, Latin America, African, Polynesian and other races. It’s a representation of almost every country in the world that creates a unique blend of American culture. Which is interesting as any other culture (or probably more) in the world.

7. Americans know customer service

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One thing that always test my limit when travelling is the lack of customer service in some countries. From hotels, to restaurants, shops or airline, expect people not to pay attention to people. But I am impressed with the quality of customer service in the US especially in the restaurants.

I had an interesting discussion with my South African partner about this. I told him it is probably the tipping culture. Money is a good motivator right? Then he said, “Well, there’s a tipping culture here in South Africa as well and yet some customer service people still don’t care.” And that obviously tramps my argument. Americans just care about the quality of their brands and service.

8. US is still generally safe

is us safe

Safety when travelling is a valid concern. So when people say that they are afraid visiting US because of all the gun problems, it is something that you really have to consider. Am I horrified by the amount of mass shootings in the US? Yes. But safety is something that no one can guarantee 100%.

I am from the Philippines and studied in Manila during early 2000’s. This was during the height of bombings in public places in the country including Manila. To say that I was always cautious where I’d go is understatement. I used to live in fear in my own country and thought it was the worst.

Then few years ago, I had a work assignment in Belize City and had to live there for a half year. Although the violence and crime are bit tamer compare to its neighbors – Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador – it’s too small for too many shootings in one day. It’s too small that I know people who got shot while living there.  Our former staff even told me that gun shots are very common in their village that she just have to wait 10 minutes after hearing shots and then move on. It’s too far common that people don’t care anymore.

Last year, I started going in and out in South Africa. By statistics, Cape Town, where I stay mostly these days,  is one of the most dangerous cities outside of Latin America and 15th most dangerous city in the world. And yet it is consider as one of the most beautiful and iconic cities in the world so tourists still flock every day.

Am I concern? Yes, of course. But by statistics as well, most of the crimes happened in the townships where even locals avoid it. Which is pretty much the same thing while I was in Belize. I was staying in a nicer neighborhood so I was pretty safe generally.

And it’s something I’ve learned over the years of travelling. No place on earth is 100% safe. Even countries with low crime rates such as Singapore, Iceland and other rich Western nations are not 100% safe. And if you want to digest the safety stats further, people are more likely to kill themselves than die from homicides and if you divide homicide cases, then you’ll find lower stats for mass shootings.

And for the record, the first time I ever tried not locking a house while I was sleeping was in North Logan, Utah. I did that because I knew I was in safe neighborhood and felt safe in most places in the US than my own country.

I am not saying to forget your common sense and court danger. What I’m trying to say is safety is all relative.

9. Getting visa is not that hard compare to other Western nations

I know a lot of people who don’t want to go to the US because of the visa. Personally, I think getting US visa is the easiest for me than any countries I have been. For example, I dread getting Schengen visa because they request too many documents. Even South Africa is notorious on visa application.

For the US visa, I only had to fill up an online form, pay the visa fee online and bring my passport, 2 passport pictures and the receipt of my payment during interview. And during the interview I was only asked 2 questions: why am I going to the States and how long for? Obviously, it is a case to case basis. But like any other countries, if the consul thinks you’re going there for a different purpose and you don’t have enough proof that you will only go for tourism purposes, then they might grill you. And getting US visa has more benefits than any other visa.

10. US is not that expensive

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With the exemption of San Francisco and New York – some of the places in the US can be cheaper. And if you’re not choosy and up for some street food, you can actually get really good Halal food in the streets of Manhattan for $7-8. Some deli shops sell good coffee for $1-2. Some hotels in Las Vegas are also cheaper than some South East Asian cities for example. Especially for the value that you get on the price. And flying between US is now cheaper compare to before. I had 3 flights within US and it only cost me $120 in total. Including 2 checked luggage and rebooking fees when I changed one of my flights. Obviously, it’s not one of the cheapest countries to travel, but it sure doesn’t feel like I need to sell my internal organs in order to afford things like while I was in Sweden , Japan or Singapore.

Aside from that, there are lots of things to do in the US that you can do for free:

20 Free Things To Do In Atlanta, Georgia
20 Free Things To Do In Phoenix, Arizona 
20 Free Things To Do In Seattle, Washington

Do you believe that people should still travel to the US? Tell us why in the comment below!


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