The STEP Program Defined
The STEP Program Defined
We live in an ever-changing world, one that isn’t always so kind. It’s unfortunate that for the second week in a row I have to write about fear of traveling and how we can help in these troubled times. The State Department issued a Worldwide Travel Alert yesterday and although I don’t believe we should stop traveling, I do believe caution needs to be taken and precautions should be put in place.
If it were up to me, I’d wave my magic wand and place a safety bubble around all of my clients so there would be no worry. Better yet, I’d create a peaceful world for everyone! Alas, my powers just don’t stretch that far so I have to rely on the tools and information that I can impart to travelers to help keep them safe. One such tool is the government’s STEP program.
STEP stands for Smart Traveler Enrollment Program and it is a service of the US Department of State. This program was created in order to help international travelers easily register their travel information to be shared with the consulates and embassies of the countries that they are visiting so that they can get assistance in case of any emergencies. It provides contact information for the government to help in natural disaster emergencies, evacuation emergencies and even with simple situations such as contacting loved ones at home or getting a lost or stolen passport replaced.
It is a simple enrollment process that starts with creating an account. This allows you to register each trip you may be taking, as opposed to having to register each separate trip and input all of your personal information each time.
If you go to the State Department’s website for the STEP program https://step.state.gov you can follow these steps to create an account:
|1||Go to the Welcome Screen of STEP, https://step.state.gov|
|2||Click on the Create Account link.|
|3||Select the checkbox acknowledging that you have read the terms of the Privacy Act Notice.|
|4||Click on the Account Information section tab.|
|5||Enter your desired username, password, security question, and security question answer in the Account Information section|
|6||Click on the Traveler Information section tab.|
|7||Enter your traveler information to be stored in your account in the Traveler Information section|
|8||Click on the Emergency Contact Information section tab.|
|9||Enter your emergency contact information in the Emergency Contact Information section|
|10||Click the Next button.|
|11||System will display a Confirm page.|
|12||Review the information provided about your account on the Confirm page|
|13||Is the information provided correct?
• If yes, click the Finish button
• If no, click the Previous button to edit information already provided.
After you’ve created your account, you can then register the trips that you will be taking abroad. You can add the family members that you will be traveling with if you all have the same itinerary and Emergency Contact information. If you’re traveling with friends, each individual should create their own account, and if you’re traveling with a group, ask the group leader if they have enrolled the entire group in the STEP program for their safety.
You can receive travel warnings and alerts specific to your travel plans and get assistance should you need it while traveling. The information you provide is not shared for marketing purposes and you have the secure knowledge that should something happen to you while abroad, someone has your back!
This is just one example of a precaution you can take to travel more safely. Checking the State Department’s travel website before you leave on your trip for any particular warning or activities is another precaution you may want to take. When you are traveling, being cautious and fully aware of your surroundings is the best way to keep yourself safe, but that’s another whole blog topic!
For more information on the STEP program and how the State Department can help you, check out www.travel.state.gov for all the information that you’ll need to travel safely!