Not every traveler is smart. We’re not talking about book smart. We’re talking more like street smart, where you are knowledgeable and know how to navigate the world. Do you know how you can become a smart traveler? By enrolling in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
STEP is a free program run by the U.S Department of State that allows U.S. citizens and nationals enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate when they’re traveling or living abroad. So what’s the advantage? According to the State Department, travelers enrolled in STEP:
- Receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in their destination country, helping them make informed decisions about their travel plans. Travelers can even sign up to get travel advisories before they travel, to monitor the destination before they get there.
- Help the U.S. Embassy contact them in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.
- Help family and friends get in touch with travelers in an emergency.
To enroll, you have to provide your name, date of birth, contact information (either phone number or email address) and passport or passport card number (entering this info is optional). Then enter emergency contact information for someone who is not traveling with you, which is also optional, but could be helpful if something happens to you when abroad.
Next is to add your destination country and choose the U.S. embassy nearest to where you're staying. Then you provide your travel dates, reason for traveling and a phone number where you can be reached during that time. If there are any active travel warnings for your destination country, that will come up on the next screen. Then you can confirm your trip details and your info is sent to the nearest Embassy or Consulate.
Enrolling in STEP can give your a little more peace of mind when you're traveling, especially if you're visiting a country for the first time. If you frequently travel abroad, create an account so you can simply log in, enter your trip details and go!