Ideally the most unfortunate event to unfold during vacation is something minor, like spilling your drink on a new pair of pants, getting blisters on your feet after hours spent exploring a new city or maybe acquiring mild sunburn due to a lack of SPF. But this isn’t always the case, and sometimes bad things happen. No one likes to think about it, but the reality is you can never be too prepared when it comes to safety while traveling. Luckily, the U.S. Department of State created the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to better prepare travelers when an urgent situation unfolds.
STEP is a free service that helps U.S. citizens traveling or living abroad stay informed and connected with the latest security updates. If an emergency occurs at a destination, information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate will be sent to those enrolled in STEP who are in that destination via email to help them make informed decisions when deciding whether to change their travel plans. This information can also be used to help relay urgent news from friends and family to travelers while overseas.
STEP enrollees need to share their basic info (first name, last name, date of birth, contact information) and their itinerary information (at least the destination arrival and departure dates). They can voluntarily enter additional information, like an emergency contact and passport number.
Concerned about privacy? All information added to STEP is safeguarded against unauthorized disclosure and will not be given to third parties without written authorization.
For more information on STEP visit the U.S. State Department’s dedicated STEP page.