Based upon the very negative experience one of our Hello English students had recently in his travels to California, I would like to offer a few tips:
- My students tell me that in most major cities in Japan, the wealthiest neighborhoods are near the downtown areas. This is the opposite in the United States. Many downtown areas in the United States are high crime areas that are not safe for travelers that go outside of their hotels on foot. Los Angeles is a sprawling city that has many high crime areas. The majority of Los Angeles is very unlike anything you see on the movies or television. Unless you have specific business in downtown Los Angeles or near Los Angeles International Airport, I would strongly advise you not to stay in these areas. They are unsafe. If you do stay in Los Angeles, the safest areas are within two miles of the coast. I can tell you about some great coastal areas that are safe and clean.
- You are responsible for knowing and following the rules of the road if you rent a car. In California, a lane with a diamond shape in it must have two or more people in the car during the morning and afternoon commute hours. The ticket for a violation of the diamond lane with only one person in the car costs a few hundred dollars.
- Southern California’s famed beaches do enjoy a Mediterranean climate and are temperate year round, but at certain times of year, the fog rolls in to the coast in the early afternoon, stays all night, and does not go until late morning or early afternoon. In a few short hours, the fog rolls in again.
- Public transit is not safe in all major cities. Also, it may not run to all areas of the city or at all hours. This is obviously very different than in Japan. Areas outside of major cities, like mine, may have no public transit or a very poor system.
When you are planning to visit a new area of the United States, I would suggest having an appointment with a Hello English teacher that lives in the same region for any tips they may have about weather, places to stay and visit, and tips about renting vehicles and public transit. We all want you to be safe when you come to America on vacation or for business.