Any travel resource you can add to your tool belt will help make your trip even better. If you plan to travel overseas, it’s important to be aware of any possible dangers or interruptions to your trip – be it a tsunami, terrorist threat or national transportation strike. If you sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) from the United States Department of State, you’ll receive emails with alerts.
The STEP Program “is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.” Free services include:
“*Receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.
*Help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.
*Help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.”
This is an email that I received a couple of weeks ago because I’d registered for alerts about France:
“The Department of State has launched new Travel Advisories and Alerts to make it easier for U.S. citizens to access clear, timely, and reliable safety and security information about every country in the world. For more details and FAQs about our Travel Advisories and Alerts, please see travel.state.gov/travelsafely. You are receiving this because you are enrolled in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). You do not need to take further action to continue receiving these updates. Before any travel abroad, we encourage you to check our safety and security information for your destination at travel.state.gov/destination.
France, Level 2: Exercise increased caution
Exercise increased caution in France due to terrorism.
Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in France. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to France:
- Be aware of your surroundings when traveling to tourist locations and large crowded public venues.
- Follow the instructions of local authorities including movement restrictions related to any ongoing police action.
- Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the Crime and Safety Report for France.
- U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.”
On the one hand, it’s a little scary to receive this news when all you want to do is go on vacation. On the other hand, it’s a reminder to stay alert while traveling. This is our new normal, but we won’t let it interfere with enjoying ourselves.
For details about this STEP travel resource, visit https://step.state.gov/step/.