U.S. State Department – The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
After this mornings news, I was thinking back to past years of various travel and living abroad in troubled spots around the world. At the time, I was expectantly excited to explore new lands, cultures and customs; yet perhaps somewhat apprehensive. As the world is becoming more unstable with much political unrest, I have become more concerned about personal safety. I ran into a friend today in the local market who told me she is going on a business trip to the Middle East this week. I was reminded of sincere advice I once received from a diplomat. And, as I hear from friends and colleagues who are planning their travels to Middle East, Africa, Asia and even south to Mexico, I feel the need to share. I am obviously more cautious today than when I was an eager 22-year-old travel heading overseas. Even so, I now share a program that I believe in. It is the U.S. State Department’s program call STEP. In addition to the routine travel warnings the U.S.D.S. provides, the Department also offers the STEP program. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. When enrolled, one receives important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in the destination country, helping make informed decisions about travel plans. I feel more comfortable in travel, knowing the U.S. Embassy will also contact you/me in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. There is also a process to help family and friends get in touch with you in case of an emergency. I like this program and keep the information handy, maybe you will too. For me, my bucket list is calling, and I am off to start planning my next travel destination abroad.