Worry, Be Happy

Not so fast…

Your trip has been planned for months. You’re finally at the airport counter, placing your suitcase on the scale (48.4 lbs!), and the ticket attendant requests your boarding passes. “No problem, got them right here.” She grabs the passes, starts typing away on her computer, and then asks you for your passport. You reach into your purse and slap that little blue freedom booklet on the counter with a smile.

Please, for your sake, your spouse’s sake, your friend’s sake, and your sanity’s sake, be prepared. Find out what travel documents you will need to show as soon as you start planning your trip. Research whether you will need a passport, a travel visa, a birth certificate, a government-issued photo ID, or all of the above.

If you are traveling internationally from the US by air, land, or sea, a passport will be required. There are a few limited exceptions, but as with most things in life, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. First-time applicants can obtain a passport for around $135.00 US, and receive it in the mail in about 4-6 weeks. Expedited options are available as well for an additional fee.

One important rule to note is that passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the last date of travel. This means that if you are, for example, traveling in June and your passport expires in August, you will still need to get it renewed. If you have a passport, go dig it out right NOW and check the expiration date.  If it needs to be renewed, go ahead and get it over with. It’s a simple process and can be done for around $110.00 US. Plus, you’ll need every penny you’ve got come vacation time so get it out of the way now!

Don’t be that person that shows up at the airport and can’t board the plane because you don’t have the necessary documents! You’d hate for your friends and family to go without you.

This happened to a friend recently and right at the airport, not willing to leave the family member behind, they had to change their entire family trip to visit Puerto Rico instead of Cancun. It was an extremely stressful and expensive last minute change that could have been prevented with a little planning.

Please take a minute of your time and Click Here for more information on Passport and Visa requirements. You’ll be glad you did.

Share your Passport/Visa horror stories or tips with us in the comments. (click here to see Facebook comments if you can’t already)

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03 2012

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