Visiting America can be a right of passage and fun for many people. It’s a cultural place with plenty of quirky interesting people; great food spots, and more for visitors to take part in. But in the past year, it is no secret that America has experienced one of the worst spikes in violent crime arguably ever. Shootings are up across the country (especially in places like New York for example) but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Against the backdrop of anti-Asian bigotry; targeted gay attacks, murders, and now grocery store shootings…. it’s understandable if one reconsiders a trip across the pond.
- You should always probably have some sort of location based app on your phone that way a friend or loved one you’re traveling with knows where you are.
Some of our favourite pro-safety apps include Life 360 and Noonlight. The first of which gives a time based map as to where you are; have been, and how long you may have spent in a certain place. It also allows you to alert your fellow travelers in your circle if someone is in trouble. It does such by sending out a mass alert to your circle and your little bubble pops up on the map to alert them where you are.
It absolutely is one of the top 5 must haves for all travelers to America especially if traveling in a group.
If you’re solo-traveling, you should consider “Noonlight.” Noonlight is a great app that works like a panic button. If you’re a woman for example you could use it for a night out; just arriving while traveling, or getting home from the bar. It is a button that when summoned you hold it in until you arrive safely to your destination. If something is wrong; you are in trouble, someone is following you (etc) — release the button and the local authorities will be summoned. You must enter your saved passcode for the killswitch to the police to be disabled (otherwise the cops are most certainly going to show up.)
Noonlight requires that you fill out a profile so they know who you are and so they can pass on your information to police if required. When entering the passcode (the app counts down to the moment they trigger the cops) the app will turn off the killswitch and you can go about your business. Both apps are great for travelers.
2. In cities like New York…
You should probably avoid the subway after a certain time of the day. This has always been at thing but recently there has been a rise in violence on the subway system. Where possible hop in a cabbie or an Uber (the same safety apps will also help you in these situations. If you’re in a cab and he/they are acting suspect.. activate the app.)
It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea either to Google the local laws where you are going. In most places, you can at minimum carry pepper spray and or a taser. Some places you can even carry a weapon so long as you are licensed to do so and pass a background check.
3. Definitely don’t be face down in your phone walking around alone.
It’s wise in the United States these days to keep your wallet or slingback close to your persons and hidden where possible. Especially if you’re walking around with a new Iphone on top of that (probably best not to have it out for anyone to swiftly grab.)
This applies to most places not a place in particular. When walking around alone be sure to be aware of your surroundings and anyone who approaches you unexpected. You’ll know the difference between someone asking you directions and someone looking to cause trouble.
Wear headphones where possible, like Airpods for example. Airpods have the feature where you can listen to your phone but the headphones will reverse the noise cancellation where you can still hear from the outside. Your headphones will also play your text messages and such in your ear — so you can be alert while out and about. It really is one of the best features on the Airpods/iPhone combo.
4. Always memorize the address to your hotel and or residence of a loved one where you may be staying.
In the instance you have to swiftly run for a cabbie or a bus (for whatever reason) you should always know where you’re going to return safely to your room. Especially in situations where you may be out and a creep is following you — always know where to go in the event you quickly flag down a cabbie or a have to call an uber.
When traveling it is important to remember that you can program the name of an emergency contact and the address to your hotel into your phone.
5. If meeting someone at the bar or perhaps going home with them — always know who you are going somewhere with. As a traveler, do not ever get into the vehicle of anyone person you are not aware of who they are.
Travelers meet people left and right while in different cities. But to protect yourself, it’s always important to know who you are meeting at the bar or for a night in after a few drinks. Without evidently having to make it awkward asking them to see an ID (to confirm who they are) — simply asking for their number will do the trick these days. Most phones (at least smart phones) have some form of caller ID on them. Apps like T-Mobile ‘s “Scam ID” and “Mr Number” will automatically bring up the information of the caller you suddenly are texting.
6. We can’t believe we have to type this one. But LGBTQ+; Asian, Brown/Black, and travelers who otherwise fall into any other minority or protected category should exercise caution in the United States.
After four years of hate, America has seen a violent rise in targeted attacks on groups otherwise some don’t like. If you fall into one of these categories — you should travel with extra caution.
In our next article, we’ll explore some of the essential apps to have on your phone/ipad while traveling into or through the United States.