When Disaster Happens, Does the State Department Know Where You Are?

Business travels are taking me to Veracruz, Mexico this week with anticipated future trips as well. There are no warnings to defer non-essential travel, though it isn’t the safest place to travel in Mexico either per this recent Mexico Travel Warning. Before I travel internationally, and especially to a place where safety may be a concern, I register my trip with the U.S. Department of State. If a natural or criminal disaster occurs, there is someone else who knows where I am other than my spouse and the company who is sending me abroad.

Before you head off on your next international travels (business or vacation), register your trip with the State Department.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.

STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency.

STEP also allows Americans residing abroad to get routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

STEP lets you subscribe to the Embassy or Consulate’s email list in order to receive specific notifications about events, security alerts, safety issues or other information for the specific area you are traveling during the dates you specify.

I wish you all safe travels, but if something were to happen while abroad, the State Department will have an easier time reaching you if you are registered. So be safe out there, and register your next international trip!

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  1. I always register with STEP when I travel internationally, you never know. Headed to Puerto Vallarta on Wednesday and have registered.

  2. I am lucky enough to have dual citizenship UK and US. My wife is Mexican (and US) we have a young son and live part time in Mexico. London continues to be the most dangerous place I have ever lived, believe me.

    Whilst I understand your concern and willingness even to help people, there is an element of scare mongering in your post. I have been to Veracruz and it is a beautiful safe place, full of normal church going residents. If you plan on drug dealing it might be dangerous however. Have you perhaps ever noticed how many murders occur in the US on a minute by minute basis?

    The state department should put out warnings for staying at home and NOT traveling, for some cities in the US. It amazes me…it really does. Hopefully you will have the decency and open mindedness to moderate this comment, and not block a view that is different to yours. Have a wonderful trip, have some fresh fish Veracruzana for me.

  3. I was happy that I was registered with the US when I went through the Kobe earthquake in 1995. A friend was concerned and had not heard my status, and called the State Dept to check on me.I happened to have returned to my devastated home to collect some things and was astonished when the phone rang to find out that a US official was asking about my well-being. I was fine. I stayed on for all of 1995, leaving in 1997 from that area. I participated in cleanup, restoration, and local charity work during that terrible time.

    This is a good reminder. I am right now in the backwoods of China and have not registered. I’m filling in a new trip report … bye..

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