Lately I have been reading a lot on my various Facebook group about travelers making reservations to fly and not giving the correct information.
So here it is: If you would like to visit any international destination you need a passport with at least 6 months remaining and more than likely blank pages along with maybe even a visa.
To find out the specific needs for your country visit the state department and put your country in it. You will find exactly what you will need, how long your passport need to be valid, and if you need extra pages they will also tell you.
Now how are you going to get to this said international airport?
I am guessing you are going to fly, maybe take a cruise ship or possibly drive. No matter what you decide get your passport. Don't wait do it first.
There is a passport card but in my opinion go for the passport and save yourself time. It is only valid for land or some cruises. In either case should something happen that you would have to get on a plane, you are out of luck.
You might say "I need to get my tickets first!" The answer to this is NO. Do everything in the proper order. Passport first, then tickets along with travel insurance. The reason, if you are not eligible for a passport and you purchased your ticket you forfeit the funds for changes and hope the airlines will let you use the rest of the funds towards a domestic ticket.
By checking the website for the country you are going to you will also know if you are eligible to enter. An example if you have been arrested you may not be able to go to Canada. If you purchased a ticket that goes through Canada they could turn you back to the USA. Or say you booked a cruise that departs from Canada. Unfortunately again you could be deigned.
Ok, now you have a passport it is time to make your airline reservations. When you are confirming the flights get your passport out so that you are looking at it at that time. You want to make sure that the name on your ticket is in fact the same as it is on your passport. Also, verify when the passport is expiring especially if you have had it for a while or you have minor children traveling.
The expiration date along with your name are so vital when it comes to your travel plans! You do not want to find out days before your trip that something is wrong. If it is expired to get a new passport would cost $110.00 and expedite fee of $60.00 plus $15.00 for express mail. If you are leaving within 2 weeks you would also need to go to the closest Passport Agency that you can get an appointment at.
So for this instance I live near Madison WI. I would have to get an appointment and drive to Chicago 4 hours. If I could get an appointment at 8:30 AM I would then wait around for it to be processed. Or pay to have it expressed mailed to me. If I have to for it to be mailed. If I could not get Chicago I would then start calling all of the passport agencies to see where I could get in. That would also include additional airfare.
There are services that will assist with same day or 2 day passports.
One company that I suggest for visa's will also assist with passports. The fee is $199 for this service and it could very depending on the agency that you use.
Now say you get to the airport and do not realize it until you are checking in. The airlines will not let you get on their international flight with an expired passport. Why because they then would have to have the expense to bring you back stateside. At this point you would incur cancel/change fees from the airlines, hotel, tour, cruise, etc.
WOW and that is just the passport!
Now let say that you have your passport and it is perfect. OH NO you put the wrong name when you were booking the tickets. Some airlines will let you adjust the name if it is spelled wrong. EX: Instead of Kimberly K I booked my ticket Kimbely k. Because it is close normally they could assist. Do they have too? NO but some are nice. However I do know someone that booked her ticket on the airline site, put her last name in the first name and vice versa. Guess what when she arrived at the airport the airline made her purchase a new ticket at current price $1000 more and she was not able to fly with the group nor out of Madison. She arrived a day later and returned a day later. In fairness the original ticket was refunded 14 days later. But she was out the funds (about $2000) while she was on vacation.
Lauren and Kim Medelberg's life in travel. We will talk about our trips, thoughts, and experiences in the travel world.