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Government in general is not known for doing much right. The layers of people and bureaucracy mean that the best plans usually never come to fruition because of how big the government machine is.
But there are always exceptions…
Case in point: The US State Department released a great free app called SmartTraveler. It condenses the State Department’s travel information someone who is actually on the road with their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Sorry Google fans, I don’t see the app for Android powered phones or tablets.
One benefit of the app is the ability for you to register for with the State Department before you arrive in a country, or even when you get there. In case of emergency, say the earthquake/tsunami in Japan or riots in Egypt, the State Department can find you, help you evacuate or give your other resources you may need if you’re in trouble. Many people don’t register, but I think its an important service that is wrongly ignored.
STEP – Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is something you pay for with your tax dollars as an American, so certainly take advantage of it.
The app covers everything you would need to know for any country you plan on visiting in the world. Can’t decide where you want to go next? The app allows you to shake your iPhone and it gives the info on a random country. If you don’t have a world map on a wall, a blindfold and a dart, this just might do to pick your next destination.
The app lists the latest travel warnings as deemed appropriate by the US State Department. There is always the debate about whether the State Department is too conservative in their warnings, but you can never be too careful.
The app is not flashy, and that in my mind is what makes it great. Simple, orderly information for you to process and decide whether you should go, or whether you should get out if you’re there already. Check it out – Smart Traveler app
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