When leaving the borders of the USA, it’s a keen idea to register your trip with the US State Dept via their STEP program for Americans traveling abroad. It only takes a few minutes to create an account and register your trip.
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) 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.
Why do this? It is solely for your benefit and safety. This program has added benefits such as:
- Allows loved ones to get in touch with you if there is an emergency at home
- Helps the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.
- Aids the State Dept to contact your loved ones if there is an emergency at your travel destination.
- Allows the US Govt to know how many American citizens are abroad in a given destination (to advise and keep them safe).
- If you lose your passport it’s quicker and easier to get a replacement if your trip is registered with the STEP program.
- You receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.
Yes! You can register for your trip while cruising. Myself and other colleagues register our trips as you never know when you may need the assistance from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
To find answers to common questions with the STEP program view the FAQ section
You may also want to consider enrolling in the Global Entry Program if you are leaving the US borders.
If you already have TSA Precheck this it’s only $15 more and this covers all international travel. TSA Precheck is for flights within the USA. Global Entry is for international flights. The Global Entry is a dream when returning to the US – especially the busiest airports.
Currently, it’s a cost of $85 for TSA Precheck and $100 for Global Entry. Well worth the extra 15 dollars. *cost is subject to change
Not sure if Global Entry is for you? Then read over the differences between TSA precheck and Global Entry here.
More resources for traveling abroad:
- Crisis Abroad?
- Ways to locate your loved one abroad
- State Dept Traveler Checklist
- Country Information
- Print the Travelers Card to take with you
Share this information with friends and family back home while you’re traveling.
It’s important to note – STEP is NOT Global Entry or TSA Precheck. Read my post about TSA Precheck or Global Entry here. Also known as the Trusted Traveler Program. You can also learn more at the official govt site
Until next time…
The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on or are linked to the above page. Inclusion of private groups on this page is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U.S. government. The order in which names appear has no significance. The Department is not in a position to vouch for the information.