Given the recent events throughout the world, it would behoove travelers to think about enrolling in STEP on their next international trip.
STEP stands for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, and is available for U.S. citizens and nationals who are traveling abroad. It allows travelers to register their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to their destination.
Per the State Department: “Protecting the lives and interests of U.S. citizens abroad is a core mission of U.S. Embassies and Consulates. We encourage all U.S. citizens travelling or residing overseas to notify the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate of their contact information so that, in an emergency, we can contact them to provide important safety and security information, or support during a crisis.”
This is particularly relevant given the recent events, such as crisis situations and natural disasters. Travelers will receive travel alerts and warnings regarding their destination and procedures for getting assistance, if necessary. It will also help the State Department and even your family and friends get in touch with you in the event of an emergency, according to the STEP website. The Consulate can also assist if you face traveling hardships, like if your passport is stolen, or you need assistance in finding an English-speaking doctor or attorney.
So before your next trip, think about enrolling in STEP. While hopefully you will not need it, it could come in handy if there is a weather or international situation while you are traveling abroad.
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