USA Travel Advice and Safety

Heading to the USA can be such an exciting adventure! But remember, even the most thrilling adventures need a dash of prudence and preparation. This guide from Crown Currency Exchange is filled with nuggets of wisdom and safety tips, ensuring your American escapade is nothing short of spectacular and secure.

Safety

While the USA is a splendid place to explore, it’s got a bit of a mischievous side. But fear not, as we share how to keep yourself out of trouble and enjoy your adventure to the fullest.

Crime

Violent crime is quite the American show compared to back home in Australia. And yes, guns, gun crime, and even mass shootings have their starring roles in this grim reality. But fret not, for you are seldom the centre of attention. Nonetheless, there’s always a small risk of being an unintended victim caught in an unfortunate situation.

Before you begin packing your bags with a sense of dread, pause, take a deep breath, and take the time to study the US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Active Shooter Event guide.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, urban areas and cities are where most violent crimes occur. Even places with significantly low rates of violent crime can have unsafe areas.

To keep yourself safe from violence, you might want to consider doing the following:

  • Do some research on your travel tourist destinations beforehand, and don’t forget to seek local advice about any unfamiliar areas. Better safe than sorry.
  • Make sure you stay in the loop about any important news by keeping an eye on the local media.
  • Be cautious, especially when exploring new or possibly risky areas, especially at night. Stay safe out there.

Petty Crime and How to Avoid It

As a tourist, you could unintentionally become the apple of a pickpocket’s eye, especially in bustling spots or while navigating public transit. Be a savvy traveller and keep your treasures tucked away, carrying only the essentials. Stash the surplus in a safe spot.

Renting a car? Rental rides can be irresistible to robbers. Don’t leave your cherished items unattended in your chariot, not even in the trunk.

The Cyber Frontier

In this digital era, cyber threats are just as tangible as their physical counterparts. Beware, digital identity theft lurks in the shadows, a growing worry that spans the globe. Be careful when using public computers, or connecting to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth while overseas.

And here’s a pro tip: Think twice before sharing on social media, especially when it comes to political or local events. You never know who might be lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce on your every word. Also, you don’t want any unwanted attention from the law enforcement agencies.

Civil Unrest and Political Tension

United States of America – the land of the free and the home of the brave! But let’s not forget, it’s also the land of spirited debates and passionate protests. The USA, much like your family’s Thanksgiving dinner, can sometimes be a hotbed for political tension and civil unrest.

Now, don’t let that dampen your spirits or your travel plans. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to witness democracy in action, from a sensible distance, of course. Here are some sage pieces of advice:

Demonstrations and Protests

If you see a crowd gathering and placards waving, it’s best to look like a cowboy and ride off into the sunset. While demonstrations and protests are part of the country’s vibrant political fabric, they can sometimes escalate into unrest or violence. So, keep your boots away from these occasions.

Keep Your Ears to the Ground

Staying updated is as American as apple pie. Monitor local news outlets and social media for information on any ongoing or planned demonstrations. It’s always better to know if you’re walking into a peaceful protest or a potential commotion.

Listen to the Locals

Local authorities aren’t just good at managing traffic; they’re pretty adept at handling these situations, too. Follow their instructions, abide by any restrictions and respect curfews. Remember, these rules apply to everyone, even you.

Climate and Natural Disasters

The Many Faces of Mother Nature

In the USA, natural disasters come in all shapes and sizes. From volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and earthquakes to landslides, avalanches, hurricanes, tornadoes, and even extreme temperatures. And let’s not forget wildfires, floods, and winter storms that bring heavy snow, freezing rain, and blizzards.

Prepare for the Worst

Now, let’s talk preparedness. If a major disaster strikes, here are some friendly tips to help you prepare yourself:

  1. Secure your passport: Keep your passport safe in a waterproof location. You don’t want it to go on an adventure without you.
  2. Stay informed: Subscribe to an emergency alert system for important information and relevant updates.
  3. Follow local advice: Local authorities know their turf best. Follow their advice to stay safe.
  4. Expect disruptions: Flights might be cancelled or delayed, shelter might be hard to find, and essential services like water, electricity, and internet might be disrupted. Be ready for it.

Make sure to give your loved ones some peace of mind. Keep in touch with them and ensure they know your safety.

Hurricanes and Tornadoes and Severe Weather Events

In the United States, a severe weather event can strike at any time. If you’re visiting the United States during hurricane season (May or June to November), keep a close eye on the National Hurricane Center for weather reports.

And then there are tornadoes. They can strike whenever, wherever, but they seem to occur frequently in the spring and summer months (from March through September).

Just in case you’re in a tornado-prone area, learn the emergency procedures and warning signals, and follow the NWS Storm Prediction Center like your life depends on it.

After the Storm

If you’re thinking of jetting off to a tourist destination post-natural disaster, don’t forget to do a quick reality check! Make sure services are up and running and that the local conditions are safe. Adverse weather conditions are a possibility throughout the year in the United States, often leading to challenging situations.

Stay informed by keeping an eye on the National Weather Service (NWS) for the latest updates and forecasts, as well as severe weather warnings and alerts. Stay safe and weather-smart!

Terrorism

Yes, terrorism is a threat worldwide, and the USA is no exception. But don’t let that put a damper on your American dream. With a little awareness and some common sense, you can enjoy your trip while staying safe.

The National Terrorism Advisory System

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a system in place to keep everyone informed about potential terrorist threats. It’s called the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS), and it’s like your personal weather forecast for potential storms of humankind.

According to the NTAS, there is a persistent and heightened threat of terrorist attacks and mass casualty violence in the USA. These threats come from individuals or small groups driven by a range of ideologies or personal grievances. They might be inspired by recent attacks, including those against minority communities, schools, houses of worship, or public transport.

Now, before you start packing your bags in a panic, remember this: Knowledge is power. Subscribe to the NTAS for updates and advice. You’ll be as prepared as a Boy Scout on a camping trip.

Reducing Your Risk

So, how do you reduce your risk of being caught up in a terrorist incident? Here are some tips:

  1. Stay alert: Keep your eyes open in public places and near potential targets. If you see something that doesn’t look right, say something.
  2. Report suspicious activity: If you see something suspicious, don’t just shrug it off. Report it to the police. Better safe than sorry.
  3. Monitor the media: Stay informed about new or emerging threats. Remember, forewarned is forearmed.
  4. Take warnings seriously: If the US authorities issue a warning, they mean business. Take it seriously.
  5. Follow local advice: Local authorities know their turf. Follow their advice to stay safe.

If there’s an attack, leave the affected area as soon as it’s safe. Avoid the area in case of secondary attacks.

Health

Mental and Physical Health

Before you start your American adventure, it’s crucial to consider your mental and physical well-being, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.

Arrange a visit to a travel clinic or your doctor to:

  • Do a general health check-up
  • Talk about how your travel itinerary and plans could affect your well-being
  • Organise any required vaccinations

Make sure you complete this in not less than eight weeks prior to your departure.

If you’re worried about your well-being or another fellow Aussie, don’t hesitate to contact the Consular Emergency Centre at +61 2 6261 3305. Alternatively, you can reach out to your nearest Consulate, Embassy or Australian High Commission to discuss available counselling services and hotlines in your area. Your health and safety should always come first!

Travel Insurance

Getting a whole package of travel insurance is not as fun as picking out your holiday wardrobe or as thrilling as booking that skydiving adventure, but it’s every bit as important. Maybe even more so. Because as the old saying goes, “It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.”

Why You Need Travel Insurance

Imagine this: You’re living your best life on a Californian beach when you suddenly find yourself in need of medical attention. Maybe you’ve had a nasty fall, or perhaps you’ve eaten something that didn’t agree with you. Now, you’re looking at a hefty hospital bill that could potentially wipe out your savings. Not the souvenir you had in mind, right?

Here’s where travel insurance plays its role. It takes care of all foreign medical expenses, including medical evacuation. And let’s make one thing crystal clear – the Australian Government won’t shoulder these expenses. If you were under the impression they might step in like a knight in shining armour, it’s time to reassess.

To break it down, if travel insurance isn’t within your budget, then travelling shouldn’t be either. That’s not just a snappy catchphrase; it’s the hard truth. This rule applies universally, regardless of your health or fitness level. After all, accidents don’t play favourites.

What to Look For in a Policy

Not all travel insurance policies are created equal. Some cover as many scenarios as a Hollywood disaster movie, while others might leave you high and dry when you need them most.

Before you sign on the dotted line, be sure to confirm:

  • The specific activities and care your policy covers
  • That your insurance remains valid for the entire duration of your trip
  • That your insurance includes coverage for any pre-existing medical conditions

Health Risks

While you’re busy exploring the Grand Canyon or catching a Broadway show, there are tiny creatures that might be planning their own adventure on you. But don’t worry; with a bit of knowledge, you can steer clear of these pesky pests.

The Buzz About Bugs

The USA is home to a variety of insect-borne illnesses. Top of the charts are various types of viral encephalitis and West Nile virus. Think of them as the ‘A-listers’ of the bug world.

And then there are the occasional outbreaks of chikungunya virus, zika and dengue. They’re not as common, but they do like to make a surprise appearance now and then, especially in places like the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

So, how do you protect yourself from these unwelcome guests? It’s simple:

  • Insect-proof your accommodation: Make sure your lodgings are as impenetrable as Fort Knox when it comes to bugs.
  • Apply insect repellent regularly: Think of it as your personal bodyguard against bugs.
  • Dress smart: Wear light-coloured, loose, and long clothing. It’s not just stylish; it’s also a great way to keep bugs at bay.

Ticked Off by Ticks?

Ticks might be small, but they can cause big problems. Diseases like Powassan virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and Ehrlichiosis are all tick-borne ailments.

So, if you’ve been frolicking outdoors, specifically in wooded areas or tall grasses., check yourself for ticks. It’s like playing a game of ‘Where’s Waldo?’, only the stakes are higher.

Stay Informed

For more information on infectious diseases, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. It’s like your one-stop shop for all things health-related in the USA.

And let’s not forget about COVID-19. For the latest information, visit the Department of Health and Aged Care website.

Medical Care

The American healthcare system, where the facilities are top-notch, the doctors are world-class, and the bills are… well, let’s just say they’re not for the faint of heart.

The Lowdown on US Healthcare

The calibre of hospitals and health services in the United States mirrors that of Australia. Envision state-of-the-art equipment, pioneering procedures, and professionals who have their craft down to a science. Sounds great, right? And it is until you get the bill.

You see, medical costs in the United States are like skyscrapers – they’re really, really high. Even a routine check-up for a minor ailment can lighten your wallet by hundreds if not more than a thousand dollars. It’s enough to induce a stress-induced perspiration. And just when you thought it couldn’t get more thrilling, you might be required to display insurance proof or capacity to fulfil any hospital bills before treatment is administered.

Travel Insurance: Don’t Leave Home Without It

So, how do you protect yourself from these sky-high costs? The answer is simple: Have proper travel insurance prior to your travel date. Make sure your insurance has got you covered for the entire trip, including all the fun activities you’re planning. And also, don’t forget to double-check if it takes care of those pesky existing medical conditions and all those fancy overseas medical expenses, like medical evacuation.

And before you ask, no, the government of Australia will not bear the expenses associated with these costs. Moreover, there is no reciprocal healthcare agreement between the United States and Australia, resulting in Australian Medicare being invalid in the United States. So, unless you’ve got a money tree growing in your backyard, travel insurance is a must.

Medication

Whether it’s for a chronic condition or an unexpected bout of holiday flu, medication can be a lifesaver. But before you pack your medicines, there are a few things you need to know about bringing medication to the USA.

Not every medication that’s accessible over the counter or via prescription in Australia can be found in the US. Certain medications might be regarded as illegal or controlled substances, even if an Australian doctor prescribes them.

Therefore, if you intend to carry medication, it’s important to research beforehand thoroughly. Verify if it’s permissible in the United States. You don’t want to end up in a situation where your antihistamines are seen as more suspicious than a snowstorm in July.

Pack Smart

When it comes to packing medication, it’s always better to overpack than underpack. Make sure to pack enough legal medication to last your entire trip., and then add a little extra, just in case. After all, you don’t want to run out of your meds while you’re busy exploring the Grand Canyon or the streets of New York.

Paperwork is Key

In the US, possessing any prescription medication in the US without a valid prescription is against the law.. So, make sure you carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:

  1. What the medication is.
  2. Your required dosage.
  3. That it’s for personal use.

Think of it as your medication’s passport, granting it legal entry into the country.

Local Laws

Dual Citizenship

As a dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia, it’s key to know that the U.S. acknowledges your dual nationality status. That said, there are some important travel guidelines you must follow:

  • Always carry both your Australian and U.S. passports when travelling.
  • Make sure to use your U.S. passport when entering or leaving the U.S. and its territories.
  • Similarly, use your Australian passport while entering or exiting Australia.

These rules ensure a smooth travel experience while respecting the legal requirements of both countries.

Australian Laws

It’s important to remember that certain Australian criminal laws continue to apply even when you’re in overseas travel. Should you violate these laws, there could be potential legal ramifications upon your return to Australia, including prosecution. Always stay informed and mindful of these regulations to ensure a trouble-free journey.

Local Law

Consider this a friendly reminder to study local laws before you go on your travels. Because, let’s be real, ignorance isn’t bliss when it comes to breaking the law. If you do find yourself in a sticky situation, the Australian Government can lend a helping hand—but don’t expect them to wave a magic wand and poof your problems away. They’re not fairy godparents, and they certainly can’t spring you from jail or erase your missteps.

Just Say No to Drugs

The US doesn’t mess around when it comes to offences involving drugs. The rulebook is a mixed bag with state and federal laws, especially when we talk about holding and using marijuana (cannabis). The penalties aren’t a walk in the park – they’re stern and frequently include non-negotiable minimum sentences. And here’s an important heads up: some medicines that you can easily get in Australia are off-limits or considered under strict control in the United States, even if your Aussie doctor gave you a thumbs up.

Drink Responsibly

In the US, 21 years old is the right age for purchasing and consuming alcohol. However, there are state laws on consumption and possession that can be as diverse as a box of assorted chocolates. So, do your homework and check out the rules in each state before you toast to good times.

For LGBTI+ Travelers

The United States is a melting pot of cultures, but it’s worth noting that there isn’t a federal law specifically shielding the LGBTI+ community from discrimination. Safeguards based on gender identity or sexual orientation are not consistently incorporated in all local and state non-discrimination laws.
Certain areas within the United States may have regulations that could potentially affect or discriminate against LGBTI+ travellers. Therefore, prior to finalising your travel plans, ensure you familiarise yourself with the pertinent laws.

Surrogacy

Thinking about surrogacy? The legal landscape can be as intricate as a spider’s web. It’s highly advised to chat with a professional legal expert before you dive into any commercial agreement. This will help you understand the full spectrum of your rights and responsibilities.

Travel

Passport

Your passport is more than just an ID—it’s your golden ticket to the world. As an Australian citizen, there are a few things you should know about using your passport when venturing to the US.

Validity Matters

When entering the US on your Australian passport, it only needs to be valid for your intended period of stay. Sounds simple, right? But wait, there’s more! If you’re planning to transit or stopover in other countries on your way to the US, different rules may apply.

Some countries have a “six-month rule,” which means they won’t let you enter or transit unless your passport is valid for six months after you plan to leave that country. So, if your passport’s expiry date is getting closer, you might want to consider getting a new one before you travel.

Keep in mind that some foreign governments and airlines may apply this rule inconsistently. So, do your homework and check the entry requirements for any countries you plan to visit or transit en route to the US.

In Case of a Lost or Stolen Passport

Your passport is as valuable as a treasure chest filled with gold coins. It’s attractive to people who may try to trick you into giving it to them or use your identity to commit crimes. So, always keep it in a safe place.

If your passport goes on an adventure without you (i.e., it’s lost or stolen), tell the Australian Government as soon as possible. If you’re abroad, get in touch with the closest Australian embassy or consulate. If you’re in Australia, reach out to the Australian Passport Information Service.

Passport Featuring ‘X’ Gender Identifier

While Australian passports adhere to international standards for sex and gender identification, it’s important to note that we can’t assure the acceptance of a passport with ‘X’ indicated in the sex field by other countries for entry or transit purposes.

We recommend contacting the nearest high commission, embassy, or consulate of your destination before your arrival at the border to verify whether authorities will accept passports bearing ‘X’ as the gender marker.

Visas and Border Measures

Each country is like a unique puzzle, deciding who can exit or enter its borders. If your travel plans include the United States, here’s a handy guide to help you through the maze.

Understanding US Visas and Border Measures

Decoding US Visas and Border Protocols, The US is firm with its entry prerequisites for foreigners visiting the country and transit travellers. It’s akin to a stern school principal who won’t let you into the playground without the right pass. Stick to their guidelines or risk being denied entry.

If your stay doesn’t exceed ninety (90) days, you might gain entry through the Visa Waiver Program and qualify for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). If this doesn’t apply to you, make sure you have a visa in hand before travelling abroad.

Remember that visa and entry conditions may change like sand dunes, including customs, quarantine rules, and money. It’s always wise to reach out to a US consulate or embassy for the most recent information.

Visa-Free Travel for Brief Visits

If your US trip is shorter than ninety days, you could be eligible to journey under the Visa Waiver Program. This also covers visits to Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands.

The Visa Waiver Program is constructed for brief, occasional visits and comes with a host of qualifying criteria. If you can’t assure the US CBP officers that you’re a bona fide visitor, you could face an entry denial and possible detention.

You are not eligible for VWP entry if you:

  • Previously entered under the Visa Waiver Program or been denied an ESTA
  • Possession of a Provisional Travel Document, an identity document, or an emergency passport
  • Been denied a U.S. visa
  • Been arrested without conviction
  • A criminal record
  • Went to Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, or Syria after March 1, 2011, with limited exceptions
  • Dual citizenship with Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria, or Sudan
  • Went to Cuba since its designation as a ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’ by the United States on January 12, 2021

Before going on your journey under the Visa Waiver Program, it’s necessary to apply and receive pre-approval through the ESTA. It’s advised to get on this as soon as your travel plans are concrete, as approvals can be processed for up to a three-day window. Once granted, ESTAs remain valid for a period of 2 years, giving you the freedom to enter the United States as many times as you’d like.

On the other hand, if your ESTA application doesn’t make the cut, you don’t meet the requirements to travel under the VWP, or you’re contemplating an extended stay (perhaps you’ve developed a fondness for American culture), you’ll have to seek a visa from a United States consulate or embassy.

Visa Requirements

Should your Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) application not be approved, or if you’re ineligible for the Visa Waiver Program, or if your US stay is planned to exceed 90 days, you will have to secure a visa. This process involves applying through a US consulate or embassy.

The visa type you should obtain will hinge on the purpose of your visit.

US Entry

The officials of US Customs and Border Protection serve as the custodians at the entry point. They hold the final decision-making power on your eligibility to set foot in the United States. Entry prerequisites are stringent, and these officials can assess your eligibility for entry and declare you unfit for any particular reason, as per United States law.

Get ready to respond to inquiries about your visit, covering its intent, length, place of stay, and connections to Australia. They might even request to scrutinise your electronic gadgets, emails, social media profiles, and text exchanges.

The Entry Checklist

Regardless of whether you’re entering the US via the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) or with a visa, you’ll typically need to present:

  • A ticket for further journey or return that does not terminate in the Caribbean, Mexico, or Canada (unless you hold residency in these nations)
  • Proof of sufficient resources to sustain yourself throughout your vacation

If you misrepresent facts or fail to persuade the officials of your visit’s legitimacy, you may face denial of entry. It’s akin to attempting to slip into a concert with a counterfeit pass; chances are, you’ll be caught.

Upon your arrival, the authorities from the United States will evaluate your eligibility to enter and establish the date you need to exit the country. This date might not align with the expiration date of your visitor visa or your ESTA.

They’ll mark your Australian passport and give you paper or electronic Form I-94 (Entry/Exit Documentation). This form is your proof of being a law-abiding resident in the United States and indicates the date you need to exit the country. Consider it as your temporary pass to the US.


Exceeding your approved stay duration (i.e., remaining beyond your I-94 expiration date) can lead to detention, expulsion, and a prohibition from future entries into the United States. If you need to prolong your vacation in the United States, request with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services using Form I-539 prior to your I-94 expiration.

Additional Requirements

It’s worth noting that certain U.S. states might have distinct guidelines or requirements in place for newcomers from abroad and/or travellers within the country. You can find more detailed information on the individual websites of each state.

For a comprehensive understanding of requirements before, during, and after you visit the United States, consider visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Other Formalities

Travelling to the US involves a bit more than just packing your suitcase and hopping on a plane. Here’s a run-through of some important formalities you’ll need to keep in mind before embarking on your journey.

Immigration Enforcement

US officials strictly enforce immigration laws. They actively track, apprehend, and expel individuals who are unlawfully present in the country. Spontaneous checks of travel documents, even on public transportation, are increasingly prevalent. As a traveller or visitor, it’s essential to always have your passport with an entry stamp, valid US visa or ESTA, and/or electronic or paper Form I-94 on hand.
If you’re one of foreign nationals residing in the US, be prepared to present evidence of legal residency such as a valid US visa and electronic or paper Form I-94, a US driver’s license issued by your state of residence, or a US permanent resident card.

Guidelines for Travel to Cuba

The US has restrictions on travel to Cuba that apply to anyone under US jurisdiction, including Australians living or working in the US. If you’ve been to Cuba since January 12, 2021, you won’t be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and will need to apply for a visa to enter the US.

If you plan to visit the United States after you’ve been to Cuba, be prepared with documents proving the purpose of your trip, as immigration officials may question you at the port of entry.

Guidelines for Children

Children are not exempt from the travel rules! Regardless of their age, children must have their own ESTA approval or US visa. If your child is under 18 years old and travelling alone or with only one parent or legal guardian, it’s recommended they carry a notarised letter of consent signed by the non-travelling parent or guardian. This proactive step can help avoid potential hold-ups due to additional inquiries at entry and exit points.

Biometrics

When you arrive in the US, you’ll have your fingerprints scanned and your face photographed, a process known as biometrics. It’s like a high-tech version of signing a guestbook when you visit a friend’s house. The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) uses this information to verify your identity and track your entry and exit from the country.

Local Travel

Driver’s Licenses and International Driving Permits (IDP)

In certain US states, your Australian driver’s license might be valid for a short period, while others necessitate you to secure an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) prior to your departure from Australia. Some car hire companies also insist on an IDP.

Driving without an IDP in locations where it’s mandatory could potentially invalidate your travel and vehicle insurance. For more detailed information, it’s wise to get in touch with your rental car company and consult the motor vehicle department in each US state you have plans to drive in.

Local Restrictions

Please be aware that COVID-19-related restrictions and preventative health measures may still be in effect, and these can differ depending on the location.

Road Travel

Did you know that you’re statistically more likely to be involved in a motor accident in the United States than in Australia? It’s an important reminder to stay alert and practice safe driving habits.

Traffic regulations can differ greatly from one state to another and even within different regions in the same state. If you anticipate driving during your American visit, here are some useful guidelines:

  • Familiarise yourself with local traffic laws before you hit the road.
  • America uses miles rather than kilometres to measure speed, so familiarise yourself with the conversion rate.
  • Americans drive on the right side of the road, so adjust your driving habits accordingly.
  • Always be mindful of signs and posted regulations.
  • Before embarking on a long journey, make sure to check the weather forecast.
  • Be extra vigilant when driving in mountainous or isolated areas, particularly during snowfall.
  • When driving through arid desert regions or in places where petrol stations are few and far between, ensure you have an ample supply of water.

Motorcycles

Are you considering riding a motorcycle in the US? You’ll need to obtain a motorcycle license. Additionally, verify your insurance from the travel provider if your plan includes coverage when operating an ATV, motorbike, quad bike, or similar vehicle. And don’t forget, wearing a helmet is a must.

Taxis

Taxis and ridesharing services are abundant in most US cities and are typically safe. As with any location, exercise the same safety measures that you would in Australia.

Sea Travel

The US serves as the starting point for several of the world’s leading cruise lines and busiest cruise ports. Favored destinations include Alaska, Florida, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
If a cruise is part of your itinerary, ensure that your passport, ESTA visa, and I-94 permit you to re-enter the US after journeying to international waters.

Air Travel

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade doesn’t supply details regarding the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. However, you can review the USA’s air safety profile through the Aviation Safety Network.

Money

First things first, the local currency in the US is the United States Dollar (USD). It’s like the superstar of the global currency stage – everyone’s heard of it, and you can exchange your AUD for USD at any Crown Currency Exchange store in Australia before you go. Find out more about buying USD with us here.

With us, competitive rates, no commissions, and a swift service are guaranteed!

Banks and ATMs

Although banks and ATMs are conveniently located throughout the U.S., it’s wise to have cash on hand. Having some USD in your wallet is highly recommended, as you may not always have access to a reliable ATM.

Credit cards are widely accepted in the US, but it’s essential to be aware of any foreign transaction fees that may be applicable.

Declaration: No Secrets Here

If you’re rolling in the green and carrying over USD $10,000 (or its foreign equivalent), you’ll need to declare it on arrival and departure. And no, this isn’t only about cold, hard cash. It includes all forms of currency, not just US dollars. So, if you’re planning on bringing a treasure chest full of gold coins, think again.

Failing to declare could result in your money being seized and forfeited, and possibly even criminal penalties. So, honesty is definitely the best policy here.

Local Contacts

Emergencies: Dial 911 for a Lifeline

As you journey through the expansive and diverse landscape of the US, it’s vital to keep in mind that while seeking adventure is thrilling, safety should always be your top priority. We’re not attempting to cast a shadow over your vacation, but let’s discuss how to handle situations that veer off course.

If you encounter an unforeseen setback, your personal support network – including family, friends, travel agents, insurance providers, or employers – should be your first line of assistance. For any flight-related issues, your airline should be your initial point of communication.

However, if circumstances escalate and you urgently require medical assistance, fire and rescue services, or law enforcement, there’s one number you need to remember: 911. Consider it your multi-tool for emergencies – adaptable, dependable, and always prepared to assist.

Should you unfortunately find yourself a victim of a crime, always obtain a report from the police when reporting the incident. This isn’t just sound advice for liaising with law enforcement; it’s also crucial for processing your insurance claim.

Consular Contacts

Connecting with Consular Services

The Australian Government’s Consular Services Charter provides an outline of the assistance it can and cannot offer you when you are abroad.

If you require consular aid, your first point of contact should be the nearest Australian consulate or embassy.

Please refer to the respective consulate or embassy websites for details on any temporary shutdowns and operating hours.

Australian Embassy, Washington DC

If you reside in Alabama, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Maryland, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, or Tennessee, reach out to:

Australian Embassy

1601 Massachusetts Ave NW

Washington, DC 20036-2273

Fax: +1 (202) 797 3331

Phone: +1 (202) 797 3000

Social Media:

Website: usa.embassy.gov.au

Australian Consulate-General, Chicago

Residents of Kansas, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota can reach out to:

Australian Consulate-General, Chicago

123 North Wacker Drive, Suite 1330

Chicago, IL 60606

Fax: +1 (312) 419 1499

Phone: +1 (312) 419 1480

Facebook: facebook.com/AusCGChicago

Website: usa.embassy.gov.au/chicago

Australian Consulate-General, Houston

If you are based in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, or Oklahoma, contact:

Australian Consulate-General, Houston

3009 Post Oak Blvd, Suite 1310

Houston, TX 77056

Fax: +1 (832) 831 2022

Phone: +1 (832) 962 8420

Website: usa.embassy.gov.au/houston

Australian Consulate-General, Honolulu

If you’re located in Hawaii, connect with:

Australian Consulate-General, Honolulu

Penthouse, 1000 Bishop Street

Honolulu, HI 96813

Fax: +1 (808) 529 8142

Phone: +1 (808) 529 8100

Facebook: facebook.com/AustralianConsulateGeneralHNL

Website: usa.embassy.gov.au/honolulu

Australian Consulate-General, New York

If you are in Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Ohio, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States or Vermont, reach out to:

Australian Consulate-General, New York

150 East 42nd Street, 34th Floor

New York, NY 10017

Fax: +1 (212) 351 6501

Phone: +1 (212) 351 6500

Facebook: facebook.com/AustralianConsulateGeneralNYC

Website: newyork.consulate.gov.au

Australian Consulate-General, San Francisco

For those in Idaho, Northern California, Northern Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Washington State, or Oregon, contact:

Australian Consulate-General, San Francisco

575 Market Street, Suite 1800

San Francisco, CA 94105

Fax: +1 (415) 536 1982

Phone: +1 (415) 644 3620

Website: usa.embassy.gov.au/san-francisco

Australian Consulate-General, Los Angeles

For those in Arizona, Alaska, Colorado, southern California, New Mexico, Utah, and Southern Nevada, get in touch with:

Australian Consulate-General, Los Angeles

2029 Century Park East, 31st Floor

Los Angeles, CA 90067

Fax: +1 (310) 299 2380

Phone: +1 (310) 229 2300

Social Media:

Website: usa.embassy.gov.au/los-angeles

24-hour Consular Emergency Centre

In case of a consular emergency where you are unable to reach an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre at:

  • 1300 555 135 if you’re in Australia
  • +61 2 6261 3305 if you’re overseas

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