STEP

For those of you in the US traveling abroad with worried and overbearing mothers (jk mom) you should look into the STEP program to further let your government monitor your movements, AGAIN JUST KIDDING. NSA please don’t abduct me. Basically, you’re giving the US embassies abroad that you’re comin’ in hot and to keep an eye out for you in case things go south. It’s a good concept should a natural disaster strike or you need legal, medical, or financial help (WOAH). It’s relatively quick, plug in the dates, your passport ID number, give them your email, and a phone number to include you in the phone tree- should any travel alerts come up or information regarding your country of visit.

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Unfortunately, I experienced the timeliness and thoroughness of the US Embassy Jakarta. They emailed me notifying me about a suicide bombing in East Jakarta. Attached to the email were brief details of the attack and recommendations to double check travel plans and adjust accordingly. It also provided multiple resources, phone numbers, and websites to further follow updates or reach the your nearest embassy or Consulate General. I didn’t think I’d need it and signed up to placate my mother but will definitely keep this in mind for any other extended travels.