Best Time to Visit the United States
The weather in the United States varies greatly. Southern states are hot in summer and comfortable in winter. Northern states experience extreme cold in winter. The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans moderate the winter temperatures. Tourists find California and Florida to be attractive destinations in winter. Skiers prefer the Rocky Mountains and Cascade ranges at that time of year. In the summer the national parks such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and the Glacier Park are popular. Las Vegas is perfect in spring and fall, but with its air conditioned inter-connected buildings, it is popular year round. New York is exciting regardless of the weather. Meanwhile Hawaii is roughly the same temperature all year long, so anytime is the best time to visit Hawaii.
United States – Visa Requirements
Travel visa requirements to the United States are not straight forward, because travel bans issued in 2017 have been challenged in the courts. So, visa requirements are very confusing. The US Department of State web site indicates countries that are eligible for their Visa Waiver Program. The web site also has the Nonimmigrant Visa Application online application form for those requiring a visa or check your specific country at VisaHQ. For a list of exempt countries, visit Project Visa.
People who travel to the United States from other countries are well aware of the higher cost of healthcare in the United States. Costs for doctors, medical facilities and prescription drugs are all significantly higher in the United States. On average, costs are twice as high in the US when compared to other developed nations. Insurance companies immediately increase their rates for any vacation that includes time spent in the US. So, if you travel to the United States, you need to purchase additional medical coverage.
Studies consistently rank the United States healthcare system poorly. In addition to high costs, poor coverage is a problem. According to PBS, 38 million people in the US have inadequate coverage and 44 million people have no coverage at all. That means 1 person out of 4 in the United States is at risk of financial ruin from unexpected health problems.
In 2017 the Commonwealth Fund assessed the healthcare systems for 11 developed countries and rated the United States last. The countries with better healthcare included the UK, Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Canada and France. Meanwhile Bloomberg posted a 2018 study on the efficiency of healthcare systems for 56 different countries. The United States ranks tied for next to last place.
Don’t confuse a poor healthcare system with the quality of care found at individual US hospitals though. The Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins Hospital consistently ranks as the best hospitals in the world. The issue is that many people in the United States don’t have access to quality healthcare. Make sure to top up your medical insurance if you travel in the United States.
U.S. Education System Ranking
The United States Education System ranks 14th in the world. Finland consistently ranks the highest. Finland does not use the charter school approach which is popular in the United States, so all children in Finland all have equal access to a quality education. Parents in Finland don’t have to search for the best school for their children because the country concentrates on making all their schools equally good. College education is free in Finland. The United States ranks at the top in perception based surveys, because it does have the best universities in the world. Yale, Harvard and MIT dominate world rankings. Here are the top 10 education systems in the world according to World Top 20:
Gun Related Deaths
According to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, in 2016 the United States ranked second in the world in the number of gun related deaths. Death rates in the United States are about 10 times higher than most countries in the world, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and all of Europe. The countries with lower death rates typically have tougher background checks, restrict concealed carry weapons and prohibit high capacity military style assault weapons. Here are the countries with the most gun related deaths:
When you adjust for population size, the United States ranks 20th in the world for most gun deaths. The other 19 countries are in Central America, South America and the Caribbean.