US Travel Alerts, US Travel Warnings, and the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
A few days ago, the Department of State updated and broadened its Mexico Travel Warning for US citizens considering travel to Mexico.
Sadly, 110 Americans were killed in Mexico last year (up from 35 in ’07) causing the Department of State to issue a stronger statement.
When traveling outside of the United States, citizens should always visit the Travel.State.Gov website to check for situations that might make travel to a particular country unsafe.
The Department of State issues two types of travel notifications:
- A Travel Alert – “We issue Travel Alerts for short-term events we think you should know about when planning travel to a country. Examples of reasons for issuing a Travel Alert might include an election season that is bound to have many strikes, demonstrations, disturbances; a health alert like an outbreak of H1N1; or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks. When these short-term events are over, we cancel the Travel Alert.” (via Travel.State.Gov website)
- A Travel Warning – “We issue a Travel Warning when we want you to consider very carefully whether you should go to a country at all. Examples of reasons for issuing a Travel Warning might include unstable government, civil war, or ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks. We want you to know the risks of traveling to these places and to strongly consider not going to them at all. Travel Warnings remain in place until the situation changes; some have been in effect for years.” (via Travel.State.Gov website)
To further aid US citizen’s awareness, the Department of State has created the 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.
Dear reader, please don’t bury your head in the sand when it comes to your travel safety. Be aware, and register with the Department of State when traveling outside of the United States.