I kicked off this morning on the South Lawn of the White House awaiting President Obama's welcome to UK Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha. As part of the arrival ceremony, the White House hosted a Tweetup, a gathering of people who regularly connect via Twitter, to share our messages with the world. I manage the Consular Affairs Twitter account, @TravelGov, where I focus on travel and staying connected with U.S. citizens as they go abroad.
Our world is ever-changing, the Twitterverse is always moving at lightning speed, and the issues that matter to us as citizens are constantly evolving. But there are fundamental ideals shared by the United States and the United Kingdom based on guiding principles rooted in our collective history. Those ideals translate into extending peace, engaging in diplomacy, and even safeguarding travel. Together, we have this commitment to our citizens.
Today's arrival ceremony showcased the ongoing alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom. The relationship between the United State and the United Kingdom is an essential and important one; and the collaboration between the two nations on international diplomacy and security ensures that tangible benefits are realized in our global community.
This close partnership allows most U.S. passport holders to enter the United Kingdom with a valid passport -- no visa needed. Americans frequently visit the United Kingdom and similarly, UK citizens top the list of overseas resident visitors to the United States. Our nation's shared ideals guide our efforts in security matters, humanitarian assistance, and even in responding to terrorist threats -- issues that greatly affect Americans at home and abroad.
I was viewing the arrival ceremony through a consular lens, focused on keeping American citizens safe as they travel overseas. @TravelGov covered the event, and shared some travel tips about heading to the United Kingdom. For example, did you know that U.S. tourists in the United Kingdom aren't covered by the National Health Service? Always carry adequate medical insurance when you travel overseas!
If you're headed to the United Kingdom for the 2012 Olympics in London, or for any other reason, I encourage you to follow us on Twitter @TravelGov, enroll in the free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), download the SMART Traveler iPhone app, and of course, plan early, plan safe, and stay connected, regardless of which side of the pond you're on.
If you missed the live arrival ceremony, you are still welcome to be a part of the conversation by searching Twitter for the hashtag #WHTweetup.
Corina DuBois is a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of State. She serves in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Policy Coordination and Public Affairs.