Are you planning a vacation to a tropical paradise this summer? Before you go, take a moment to think about how a hurricane
or typhoon might affect your trip.
My name is Jim Pettit, and I am the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Overseas Citizens Services.
Preparation is the best defense against any natural disaster. Preparing a family emergency plan and supply kit, maintaining updated travel documents, locating designated shelters, and having travel insurance are important ways to prepare for a crisis.
You can also monitor local media and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's website at www.noaa.gov for weather developments. More information on storm preparedness and some country specific information can be found on the Bureau of Consular Affairs' "Emergencies and Crises" page at travel.state.gov.
Travel.state.gov has links to U.S. Embassy websites and important information about conditions in the countries you will be visiting. Refer to the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate responsible for your location for the latest updates and guidance on local resources. I encourage you to follow us on Twitter and become a fan of our Facebook page.
You can also sign up with the U.S. Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at travel.state.gov when traveling abroad so you can receive the most recent security and safety information before and during your trip. And, now you can also download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to register your trip and have travel information at your fingertips.
I wish you a safe and relaxing trip abroad, but in case disaster strikes, please know that the U.S. Department of State stands ready to help. Thank you.
U.S. citizens considering travel to storm-prone regions during hurricane and typhoon season should carefully consider the potential dangers and inconveniences associated with their travel before finalizing plans. Those who choose to travel should devise an emergency plan in advance of their departure. Even inland areas far from the coastline can experience destructive winds, tornadoes, and floods from tropical storms, hurricanes and typhoons.
In the event of a tropical storm, hurricane or typhoon, the Embassy will send out a warden message and will monitor the storm's track, issuing updated messages as information becomes available. The Department of State may also issue Travel Alerts or Travel Warnings to apprise the traveling public of the situation. Please take this time to check your travel documents and those of your family members to assure that all U.S. passports are still valid and that any non-U.S. citizen family members have valid U.S. visas. You may need to travel to the United States on short notice and would not want to be stuck without valid travel documents.
For situations involving an injury to, or the death of, an American citizen, contact the OCS Call Center at 1-800-407-4747 (from overseas: 202-501-4444)