U.S. Government Program Helps Spring Break Travelers Stay Safe

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Spring break is right around the corner for LPS and UNL students, and whether you're traveling in the U.S. or to a different country, there are some important safety steps to consider before taking off.

Sunscreen, swimsuits, shorts and flip flops may all be on your packing list for a spring break trip. You may even tell neighbors or family members you're going out of town. But one thing you may not remember to do is let the U.S. government know.

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, is a free service designed to help travelers who won't be vacationing in the in the United States.

"It generates an itinerary of what they plan on doing, and while you're enrolled in the Smart Travel Enrollment Program, you will receive certain things like the country's climate and if there civil unrest," said UNLPD Officer, Koan Nissen.

For parents of college students, or if you're family's somewhere tropical, it may bring some piece of mind.

"You don't have to keep tabs on them 24 hours a day, but it is probably important to know where they're going especially if they're traveling abroad," said Nissen.

The U.S. State Department program helps government workers easily find travelers if something unexpected should happen. Families traveling in groups can also benefit from the service that helps Americans find the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. And even if you're not leaving the country, UNLPD says be aware of your surroundings at all times.

"What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, well that could be your wallet staying in Vegas if you leave it laying around and someone steals it," said Nissen. "Crime is everywhere, take care of yourself."

UNLPD says you should also advise your credit card company before you leave. Tell them where you're going, how long you'll be back, and when you're coming home. This will prevent companies from putting a hold on your account while you're gone.