If you're traveling in southeastern North America between June and November, you have a good chance of running into a hurricane. Hurricanes form in the Atlantic near Africa and move northwestward, usually running into many of the islands of the Carribean and eventually hitting North America. A few commonly hurricane-plagued areas include Cancun, in Mexico, New Orleans, in Louisiana, the state of Florida, and North Carolina's Outer Banks. Hurricanes and tropical storms are named alphabetically and then convert to the letters of the Greek alphabet after running out of names. 2005 was a record hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin, with over 27 named storms.
Hurricanes and tropical storms are immensely dangerous and should not be taken lightly. The storms, which are often hundreds of miles wide, bring strong winds (sometimes up to 165 mph) and heavy rains, which will often cause flooding and mudslides. In the 2005 hurricane season, three hurricanes, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, caused extensive damage across the southeastern part of the continent. Wilma was the strongest hurricane on record for the Atlantic basin.
Fredericksburg (where I live) is usually spared during most hurricane seasons, though in 2003, Hurricane Isabel ripped through Virginia and caused some damage. What amazes me is that Isabel was very scary but was only a category 1 hurricane when it passed through Fredericksburg, as compared to the category 4 hurricane that Katrina was.
We have twins and we have been travelling with them since they were six weeks old (when we took them on a 2000 mile road trip through 4 states). The USA is very child-friendly because the freeways have rest areas and stops everywhere, with all the essentials easily bought. The only problem with kids less than one year is if they catch a nasty gastrointestinal virus (like my daughter did when we brought them to New Orleans for the Mardi Gras before Katrina). My daughter got the nasty Rotavirus, but my son did not. I don't think she got it from the plane ride - she most likely got it from our friend's kid whom we later learned had rotavirus about 2 weeks before (we drove to Texas from New Orleans). She had frequent watery diarrhea, so we brought her immediately to the hospital where IV hydration was started (I poked my daughter myself with the needle to get the IV since I am a physician and her veins were already collapsed from dehydration) and she was admitted for a day. With these young kids, bring to hospital when you see frequent diarrhea as dehydration happens very quickly. And although difficult, it may be prudent to avoid having frequent contacts with other kids who may appear sick or just got sick.
And not to scare you, but here are the facts: "Google Rotavirus: On Wikipedia"---- More than 500,000 children under five years of age die from rotavirus infection each year,and almost two million more become severely ill.In the United States, rotavirus causes about 2.7 million cases of severe gastroenteritis in children, almost 60,000 hospitalisations, and around 37 deaths each year. Public health campaigns to combat rotavirus focus on providing oral rehydration therapy for infected children and vaccination to prevent the disease. By the age of five, nearly every child in the world has been infected with rotavirus at least once. However, with each infection, immunity develops, subsequent infections are less severe,and adults are rarely affected.
Hotels and restaurants are generally "ready" for small kids, with baby chairs available and cribs available sometimes. There are "family rooms" in malls, and most restrooms in respectable establishments have diaper changing areas. Discreet breastfeeding is socially acceptable.
Traveling in North America during mid-winter? Then one of the biggest dangers to watch out for during that time is snow (unless, of course, you happen to be skiing). The most snow on the continent falls on places like the Cascades, Alaska, and the Rockies, but some cities in the country will also get large amounts of snow annually, including: Toronto, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, and Buffalo. Any mountainous area in the country is suspectible to snow. While the snow may be good news for many ski slopes, it's bad new for drivers, since snow can turn roads slick and dangerous.
Vagrants are a nuisance, (eg: spare a dollar for some gas, just finished work and ran out of gas. We gave one guy a dollar to get rid he pushed it back through the car window and asked for five) we felt unsafe going beyond Mans Chinese Theatre, LA.
Be careful when travelling for long periods between states, like Arizona to Nevada and back. The roads can all look the same and it becomes monotonous. Makes sure you have another driver with you and take regular turns and stop once in a while.
To our European Backpackers-don't hitchhike! In many places it its illegal and everywhere it is dangerous. Don't accept rides from people you don't know. Most of the time you will be perfectly safe in campgrounds as they tend to attract families and older retired couples.
Be very careful when you are on Market Street and Powell Street in San Francisco. These areas are the heart of cable car routes and feel very seedy especially after hours. I have found, however, that if you walk with a purpose (and preferably with a group) people don't bother you. Make absolutely certain that you know exactly where you need to go (such as the Powell Street BART station) BEFORE you leave wherever you are leaving from. USE COMMON SENSE!
Make sure everyone in your party is carring their own Water supply and Blanket....Just in case you get seperated at night! Trust me!!! No silly, I carry all my own gear! It wasn't me who had to sleep in a stump ALONE and thirsty!!!! Wow,glad we found them way later the next day!!! Without the Rangers! Thank God!
Rest areas on us interstates can be breeding grounds for criminal activities such as prostitution,drug distribution and various cons.
While traveling in big cities people will try and sell you things on the street, My tip, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is !
If you would like more information about travel on the interstates e-mail me at vt
Well you have to remember that North America is one of the largest continents on Earth, so all precautions should be taken. Ladies dont walk around on your own at night. Place all valuable out of sight.
Be firm, but polite with over friendly Mexican men if you are a female traveling alone. They will flirt with you-maybe even follow you around for awhile, but once you make it clear you are not interested they will go away and leave you alone.
As with any big city, be prepared! Watch out for gang activity. Keep a cell phone and something to defend yourself if the need arises. Make sure to keep your car in good working order, having a breakdown in L.A. or Fresno is no fun! It can be downright scarey at times!
this will not come as a shock to most Americans..
travel medical insurance - GET IT. Its that simple.
If you are from a British Commonwealth country, the system in USA is not the same folks. You DONT want to be treated at County General if you can avoid it ok?
I was lucky - I wasnt sick/injured. Insurance is vital though because it directly impacts on the level of care you receive.
Visiting a GP is expensive, unlike home where I pay nothing for the privilege.
Be prepared to tip just about everyone you come across.
Public transport in LA is mediocre at best.
Take a translator in some areas of the Southern US states ( serious ).
If you are an English tourist in Quebec tell them youre either an Australian or a New Zealander - they WILL treat you better.
Moose cross the road!!
I saw mummy moose that crossed and then waited for her baby...but he didn't come so...she went back, called her son and finally, they crossed together and disappeared in the woods!
What a lovely meeting!!!
North America -isn't- the scary place the news might make it out to be. We're actually a pretty friendly lot. However customs officials can be very frustrating for non-nationals to deal with in airports, particularly if you favor dark/black clothes.
Waiting for a bus in the middle of the night -anywhere- is generally a bad idea, regardless of what city you're in, just to be safe.
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