You Can't Leave Home Without It
My inspiration for this week's article arrived as a thought to write about your passport. Then came the thought that I just did that. So I searched my blog for the last time I wrote on that topic and found the article dated August 2021. That was over a year ago, yet in my mind 'just the other day'.
Well that's exactly what happens to our passport, isn't it? You looked at it 'just the other day' and it was well within validity, far from expiration. After you read this, go check yours.
I think every US citizen should have a valid passport. I have seen too many people wanting to take a trip, perhaps invited to accompany another on vacation, only to have to miss out on an amazing opportunity because they aren’t prepared. Or they have to fork out the extra bucks for an expedited passport in order to take advantage of last minute international travel. If you are over 16, the passport books are good for 10 years, so the pro-rated cost is about $15 per year...a great value! Yes, it can be a little bit of a pain applying for your first passport, but after that, you can renew by mail or online. I’ve been asked lots of questions about passports, such as...
What is a passport? How does it differ from a passport card?
A passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies your identity and your citizenship. Only the US Department of State and US Embassies and Consulates have the authority to issue or verify US passports. Most foreign countries require a valid passport to enter and leave. All US citizens traveling internationally by air must present a valid passport to reenter the US. For more information on how to apply, read this. Passport cards are valid only for travel to Canada and Mexico when entering by land or sea. It is not valid for air travel.
Do I need a passport if I’m just taking a Caribbean cruise from a US port?
It’s a really, really good idea, but not a requirement in most situations, although many feel that it should be. When you depart and return to the same US port you must have proof of citizenship, (a passport or your official birth certificate), government-issued ID (driver’s license), plus a copy of your marriage license for women whose last name has changed since birth. A passport is a good idea, however, because if an issue should arise while you are abroad without a passport and you need to fly home, you’re in trouble!
Do my children need passports?
Yes! Every person, even an infant, must have his/her own passport to fly to a foreign destination. If traveling by land or sea from Canada or Mexico, a birth certificate or certificate of naturalization is required. Make sure you check the expiration date on your children’s passports because they expire in five years if the child was 15 or under when his passport was issued. Some countries have instituted requirements to help prevent child abductions and may require travelers to present proof of relationship to the children and evidence of consent from any non-accompanying parent(s).
This trip is our honeymoon. Can we travel as Mr. and Mrs. “Newlywed”?
I can understand how romantic it sounds to use your brand new last name on your honeymoon. However, your experience at airport check-in will not be romantic at all. You must travel under the name on your passport. Usually that is your maiden name, so use that for your airline ticket. Your name on your airline ticket must match the name on your passport exactly. Once you arrive at your honeymoon destination, people will be happy to address you both as Mr. and Mrs. “Newlywed”. When you return and have the time, you can apply to have your name changed on your passport.
Can you help me, my passport was stolen?
This is a call no travel consultant likes to get, but it happens. Make three photocopies of your passport before leaving home. Give one to a trusted friend or relative to keep handy, give one to your travel professional (you know who!!) to keep in your file, and carry the other copy with you stored separately from the original. This makes it much easier to have a replacement issued, if necessary. If your passport is stolen, contact the local US Embassy or Consulate for assistance. Let them know when you are scheduled to travel home, and they will do their best to help you. It is also a good idea to take an extra set of passport photos with you to simplify the transaction. Keep your original passport in a safe place (like your hotel room safe) when possible, to minimize the risk of theft. You don’t need to carry it around with you at all times while overseas.
I hope you have gotten the point that it is worth the time, energy and financial investment to be a US Passport holder. Don’t miss out on a great travel opportunity because you aren’t prepared! If you need any assistance with the application process, or have any question, please feel free to contact me.
'til next week.
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Contact: GLOBAL EXOTIC ADVENTURES - Juliet Weller, Founder