Chuck and I are going to the Caribbean in early December to celebrate our tenth anniversary (I know! Awesome, huh? We’re pretty excited.) We wanted to go someplace where neither of us had been and that wouldn’t break the bank (home improvement ain’t cheap) and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic fit the bill. We’re staying at the Majestic Elegance Club, the adults-only area of the Majestic Resorts (yep, that’s us – total curmudgeons). Trip Advisor reviews are universally great, and we have encountered two folks who have been there and both raved about it. ANYway, that’s not really what this post is about – the important bit is that we are traveling out of the country.
We received a boatload of paperwork from the Majestic Resorts folks – vouchers for airport transfers, a zipline tour, stuff like that. They also included a sheet of travel tips which had a link to a (new to me – or at least really revised since the last time I visited it) to a State Department page for international travel: http://travel.state.gov/. The site is full of great info, but the thing that was completely new to us was the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP is a free service to American citizens traveling or living abroad that lets you register and let the State Department know about your travel plans to allow them to better assist you in case of an emergency (you also provide them with your next of kin info, so they can contact your family if necessary). This service previously existed under another name: Register with Embassies. Once you sign up and register your trip, they will add you to alert email lists for the region that will keep you posted on any travel advisories that may be in place.
The paranoid among you may think this is too Big Brother-ish. But personally, in a world that changes as fast as ours, I like the idea that the American Embassy/Consulate knows where I am and can keep me posted on what’s happening where I’m going.
This ends today’s public service announcement.