May 24, 2016
You Need to Join the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)!
STEP is a service from the Bureau of Consular Affairs that offers U.S. citizens a connection with the U.S. embassies during their travels. You may be asking, why don’t I just check travel updates during my trip? Well, email notifications are quicker for you to access, and it is easier for an Embassy to offer support if you are enrolled with STEP.
Note: STEP used to be the Registration with Embassies Program.
It’s a simple process of creating an account, inputting your traveler and contact information, and adding an emergency contact. It allows you to also create group accounts for larger trips, and change your travel plans through your account as needed.
All the notifications you receive will be emergency-related. They include everything from a natural disaster to risk of terrorism to a family emergency back home. The goal is to make sure you are always aware and able to gain the protection or assistance you may need.
There are two kinds of notifications: Travel Warnings, to suggest postponing trips due to dangerous conditions, and Travel Alerts, for sudden and short term events that pose a significant risk and could affect your travel. These alerts are tailored to your travel plans, and are therefore more detailed than the ones you might find on the travel.state.gov webpage.
Safety is a huge concern for any traveler, and connecting with the closest Embassy on your adventures is a key way to ensure you’re protecting yourself while abroad.
Remember to also set your Piper to Armed Away Mode when you’re gone, to protect your house back home! Water sensors and smart bulbs can also help you save your home from burglary and unwanted surprises.
To our Canadian friends: wondering if there’s a similar service available for you? The Government of Canada has the Registration of Canadians Abroad, which works essentially the same as STEP. They also now have the Travel Smart – Canada app, which offers information on your destinations, border wait times, and helps you locate the nearest Embassy.
Safe travels this summer!