Memphis

Memphis, considered the home of blues music by many, is the biggest city in the state of Tennessee which is located in the southeast of the United States. The city is famous for Graceland, the mansion where Elvis Presley lived in during his later years. However, Memphis has more to offer than just Elvis. There is a lot of history and culture! The city was founded in 1820, and it was a shipping center due to its locations near the Mississippi River.  After the Civil War, Memphis resurfaced as the heart of industries such as cotton, hardwood and mule. Nowadays, its the main hub for Fed Ex. There are plenty of activities in this beautiful city like fine southern dining and the lively Beale Street. It is important, however, to take precautions to fully enjoy your stay in Memphis. Bellow, you will find what you need to know when visiting the city.

SAFETY INDEX

Warnings & Dangers

Mid Priority-96 OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

Unsafe areas are generally far away from any tourist attractions and have little to no interest for visitors. Most crime occurs between individuals who know each other or in high crime-ridden areas of the city. We recommend you take normal safety precautions and exercise common sense as you would in any other major city. Watch out for pickpockets in tourist areas and protect your valuables.

Mid Priority-96 PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH

Pickpocket and bag and purse snatching are common in tourist locations and public transportation. Remain vigilant for thieves that use different strategies to rob you.

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

Muggings are the crime for tourists to be concerned with. Though most victims are not physically injured, criminals usually do not hesitate to use force if the target does not cooperate; in case of being robbed, do not resist and hand over your valuables.

Mid Priority-96 SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

As in any touristic place, there may be people trying to scam you. Homeless people can be aggressive towards you if you don’t hand them money. Be aware of “gold ring” tricks, fake petitions, groups of teenagers acting strangely or trying to distract you. Credit card scams are also common. Never leave your card out of sight, and withdraw money from reputable banks or hotels.

Mid Priority-96 TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

If you want to see more than the Downtown, traveling by car is the best way to get around Memphis. However, there is a bus service provided by the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) that is available across the city. However, some routes are poorly served at night. Moreover, at nights and weekends the routes change, so be careful or you might end up far from your actual destination. Trolleys and taxis are considered safe, and they operate in the downtown area.

Mid Priority-96 NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

There can be some occasional natural hazards like earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

Mid Priority-96 TERRORISM RISK : LOW

Terrorist attacks are unlikely. However, they cannot be ruled out. Remain vigilant and take advice from authorities, hotels and tour operators.

Mid Priority-96 WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

Women should avoid walking alone at night, particularly in empty areas.

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WHAT TO DO?

While the Beale Street area has kept its safety, there is a high crime rate throughout the city, so use common sense and take standard precautions. It is best to not explore outside of the downtown area. You will see a large police presence throughout the day (especially at night) in the downtown area as well as the area around Beale Street. Stay away from neighborhoods in North and South Memphis since these areas have reports of high crime rates.

Beale Street

The street is located in Downtown Memphis, and it runs from the Mississippi River to East Street. Not only it’s important due to the city’s history, but it is also important in the history of the blues. If you’re walking on Beale street, you’ll notice many blues clubs and restaurants that are major tourist attractions. There are also outdoor festivals and concerts throughout the year. You’re likely to see homeless people asking for money. There are signs in the downtown area that ask you not to give them money, but if you feel like doing it, don’t take out your wallet; instead, give them loose change from your pocket. Most beggars are inoffensive, but there are also thieves that will grab your wallet.

Graceland

If you are an Elvis fan, then Graceland is a must-see. However, the area can be dangerous, especially at night. We suggest that you stay in a hotel or motel in a safer part of the city and plan a day trip to Graceland.

Downtown

Most of the attractions in Downtown are close to each other, so you don’t need a car or public transport. However, there are also taxis and trolleys that can get you to your destination. If you’re out at night, we

Useful Information

The US has one of the harshest entry policy, sometimes asking for an interview even for a tourist visa. Prepare to pay fees up to USD 160 for your application. Some countries like the ones from the EU or Australia have a visa waiver program (ESTA) which can be filled online. See https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en.html for more information. Strong custom regulations also apply (see the CPB website for more details), and the Travel Safety Administration can open your luggage without your presence. www.doyouneedvisa.com is a useful website that can help you know if you need a visa or not based on your nationality and the country you’re visiting.
The currency in the United States is the US Dollar. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted countrywide, and ATMs are found nearly in every city. The costs can vary widely between the states, but it is fair to assume a $100 budget per day on average, $150 if you rent a car and around $300 for top end accomodation. A 10% service tipping is customary in many sectors such as airport and hotel bag porters, bartenders , hotel maids, restaurant servers and taxi drivers.
The weather in the US varies greatly between the states : from the mediterranean weather of California to the Glaciers of Alaska or the subtropical Florida, each region has its best time to visit; although major cities can be visited all year round. This graph can be useful for finding the best time to travel.
The main international airports are in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Dallas, Denver and San Francisco. If you’re looking fore cheap flight deals, you can find some on JetRadar
As in any country, we advise travelers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on our travel insurance page