I’m aware of the government’s registration service for travelers but I’ve never used it. I hadn’t t crossed my mind to use it for my three week trip to Chile either, but maybe it should have.
Had the earthquake happened a week later, or my flight was a week earlier, I would have arrived in Santiago just hours before the quake. This was pointed out to me with some horror by my future daughter-in-law.
What’s the difference? There are phones, aren’t there? Yes. But my neighbors, the Chileans who are lending me their condo, spent all of Saturday trying to communicate with family to confirm that everyone was safe. Even in Santiago, phones were down and cellular service was incredibly unpredictable. It was through Facebook that they managed to communicate best but I would likely have had difficulty getting online in this situation.
When I think about it, it would have been a good thing to be on a list with my government. In a situation such as the earthquake, I could have contacted my embassy to be counted. My family could have contacted the government to ensure that I was counted. It seems simple. I hope this system really works for people.
In the “Solo Travel Safety: 50 Tips” post I mention the travel alert and registry services of the American, British and Canadian governments.
I offer them to you again:
- Check your government’s travel sites for information on travel document requirements, travel advisories and other recommendations. UK: travel alerts. US: Travel alerts. Canada, travel alerts.
- Register with your government as a citizen traveling abroad. UK, US , Canada
I invite you to add the alert and registry websites for other countries in the comments below.