Thursday, September 6, 2012

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

My trip back to the USA is finally here.  My taxi to the bus station will be here in about 6 hours.  I'm way too excited to sleep.  Plus, I'm still doing a bit of last minute packing.

If you've read this blog before then you know that I do quite a bit of traveling.  But this time I'm not doing part of my normal routine and it seem kind of weird not to.

Before I go on any trip I always log on to and register with the U.S. State Department.  I let the embassy/consulate in the country I'm visiting know my travel dates and where I'm staying.

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to U.S. citizens who are traveling in, or living in, a foreign country.  When you register your trip, the embassy or consulate will be able to better assist if there is an emergency, natural disaster, etc.  You will also be provided any relevant information about what is going on in your selected country.

For example, on my trip to Serbia, I was warned about a scheduled protest in Belgrade and advised to stay away from a specific part of town.  On my trip to Spain, I was warned about upcoming demonstrations and a planned general strike in Barcelona

I feel pretty safe in Europe but you just never know what can happen.  You can be sure that I let the U.S. Embassy in Moldova know what my travel plans were when I went to Transnistria.  According to the State Department, U.S. embassies and consulates help around 200,000 Americans who are victims of crime, accident or illness, or whose families and friends need to contact them in case of an emergency.  Better safe than sorry. 

The U.S. Embassy in Prague knows that I am living in Brno.  I've registered my contact information here and my emergency contacts' information back in the USA.  The embassy also sends me routine information about services provided and about embassy functions happening in Prague.

Note: I also received a warning from the U.S. Embassy in Athens warning me about the November 17th protest.

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