Safety and security
On 12 August 2017, one woman died and around 35 others were injured in Charlottesville, VA, when a car was driven into a group of protesters who were opposing a white supremacist rally against the removal of confederate monuments. Further protests and counter-protests are expected in the coming weeks. You should monitor local media reports and follow the advice given by local security authorities.
Take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your property against petty crime. Don’t leave passports in rental cars, especially in the boot, as there have been a high number of thefts by gangs targeting the vehicles of those who appear to be tourists.
Violent crime, including gun crime, rarely involves tourists, but you should take care when travelling in unfamiliar areas. Avoid walking through less travelled areas alone, especially at night. You can find public advisories and information about recent incidents on the websites of local law enforcement authorities
Crime associated with the illegal drugs trade is a major issue in Mexican states bordering Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. Some foreign nationals have been among the victims of crime in the border regions, but there is no evidence to suggest they have been targeted because of their nationality. Research your destination before travelling, be vigilant, and follow the advice of local authorities.
Traffic laws vary from state to state. If you’re planning to drive in the United States, check the driving rules in the state(s) you’ll be visiting. In most states, a full UK driving licence is sufficient. However, some states may also require an International Driving Permit, which you can get at various places in the UK for a small fee. The United States doesn’t issue International Driving Permits to foreign visitors, so you’ll need to obtain this document before you travel. Provisional licences aren’t accepted. Check requirements with your vehicle rental company. Driving is on the right hand side of the road.
Check the weather conditions before embarking on a long journey, particularly in mountainous and isolated areas where there is increased likelihood of snowfall, or in dry desert areas where you may need extra water and petrol stations could be scarce. Do not sleep in your car by the roadside or in rest areas and avoid leaving any items on display in your car. Try to stay on main roads and use well-lit car parks. If you’re hit while driving, indicate to the other driver to follow you to a public place and call 911 for the police.
Petrol stations that do not display the price of fuel usually charge considerably more than the national average for a gallon of fuel. They’re often found close to tourist destinations and airports, and notoriously near to Orlando International Airport.
Before you travel, check the security measures you’re likely to face at the airport on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website. The TSA has a helpline number to help passengers with disabilities and medical conditions before they fly.
Don’t make flippant remarks about bombs or terrorism, especially when passing through US airports.
Safety concerns have been raised about INSEL Air. The US and Netherlands authorities have prohibited their staff from using the airline while safety checks are being carried out. UK government officials have been told to do the same as a precaution.