My wife and I love to travel. Okay, I hate the traveling part of travel but I love looking at things once I have arrived at our destination. One thing we have always packed into our travel plans no matter where we go is safety. If you plan on traveling abroad this Summer I'd encourage you to pack some of that "safety" in your bags too.

One of the best ways to stay on top of changes in our world and how they reflect on your safety as an American traveler is through STEP, a program designed to aid American travelers before, during, and after their trips out of the country.

STEP is an acronym for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. It's offered through the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs. The program is free for United States citizens. It automatically enrolls your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

That might seem like much ado about nothing but if you've encountered an issue in a foreign land these are the folks whose help you're going to need. The program also offers free travel alerts. That way you'll know about the dangers before you arrive.

Did you know that there are currently 57 countries on the State Department's Travel Advisory list? Among those destinations are France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the Bahamas. So you see it's not just in the destinations that make headlines on your evening news that you need to be careful when traveling.

I recommend you look into enrolling with the STEP service especially if you have travel plans that take you out of the country. This includes cruises too because some of those ports of call can be quite dangerous if you don't know what you're about to step off into.