Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most people probably don’t realize this, but one of the most convenient places to get tips for international travel is the U.S. State Department’s website.
For every country in the world, the state department’s travel website, http://travel.state.gov/, has a plethora of information that a traveler needs to know, such as entry and exit requirements, health-related issues and safety and security threats.
Most countries, for example, might list criminal and terrorist threats, but the threats in Antarctica are listed as “frostbite, dehydration, eye damage from reflected glare and overexposure to the sun.”
In other words, be afraid of Mother Nature.
Apparently angry Japanese whalers are also a threat, but who honestly is going to Antarctica to pick a fight with — people who carry spears and hunt large mammals? They are too occupied with other issues. See above paragraph for an explanation.
Of course, given the fact the safety and security threats to U.S. citizens in Iran include terrorist explosions and being placed under “surveillance” by state police, I guess angry Japanese whalers aren’t so bad.
There are a number of offerings provided by the State Department to help U.S. citizens when they travel abroad.
Some of its tips include filling in the emergency information section of one’s passport; leaving copies of your itinerary and passport data page with friends and family; checking overseas medical insurance coverage; reviewing local laws; taking steps to prevent oneself from becoming victim of crime and obtaining contact information for the local consulate.
The state department has a Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, where you can provide your travel details to the federal government.
“This will help us contact you if there is a family emergency in the U.S., or if there is a crisis where you are traveling,” the state department states on its website.
So, while that handy little guidebook on the best gelaterias in Rome might be a fun read, you should remember that it is not the end-all, be-all of information about your trip. I recommend everyone check out the state department’s website before making that trip of a lifetime.
Otherwise, it could turn into a nightmare.
Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at 770-478-5753, ext. 247 or via e-mail at email@example.com.