Travel Warnings: What Other Countries Say about Visiting the U.S.

Every now and then, the U.S. State Department issues a warning or alert about a potentially dangerous situation as a service to U.S. citizens who may be traveling to the affected regions. Ever wonder what visitors to the U.S. are warned about? Wonder no more, at least when it comes to the Australia, France, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

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Australia – Drinking Age

Advice from the government of Australia is matter of fact: Visitors to the U.S. are urged to “pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.”

However, a video on the site emphasizes the legal drinking age for alcohol in the U.S. – which is 21 – and somberly notes that “underage drinking is taken very seriously” and could result in fines or a night in jail.

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France – Dangerous Cities

Recent media reports on French warnings against specific U.S. cities (especially particular neighborhoods) have angered more than a few mayors. A couple of examples, as reported by the International Business Times:

“Baltimore and Richmond get even harsher raps [than Washington, D.C.]. Baltimore is ‘considered a dangerous city except downtown,’ while Frenchmen shouldn’t visit Richmond on foot.”

After some initial outrage, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs reportedly softened some of these warnings.

Ireland – Hurricanes

The government of the Republic of Ireland offers no city-by-city analysis. Instead, travelers will find a pretty basic rundown of entry and exit requirements, while noting that U.S. airports feature “stringent” security.

One curiosity, however, is an emphasis on weather – hurricanes in particular. As it says on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade site, “The hurricane season runs from 1 June to 30 November, and can affect the whole of the southern USA. Please check the National Hurricane Centre website for more details.” We could find no mention of tornados or earthquakes.

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United Kingdom – No Jokes

The British government notes potential dangers in certain cities on the U.S.-Mexico border while pointing out that violent crime is not limited to those areas. It sensibly notes that such “incidents rarely involve tourists, but you should take care when travelling in unfamiliar areas,” and ask locals about specific high-crime areas to avoid.

Her Majesty’s government also offers the same advice FareCompare gives all travelers: Don’t make jokes about bombs or terrorism at U.S. airports. When it comes to flippant remarks, the TSA has no sense of humor.


Published: November 18, 2013