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Passports-YES, you should have one!

We get this question all the time, and we get it, it's a hassle and costs money. Especially when kids are involved. Personally, we think that every US Citizen should be required to have a passport. It just makes sense to us, and we have seen too many people miss out on an amazing last-minute travel opportunity because they aren’t prepared. If

you are over 16, the passport books are good for 10 years, so the pro-rated cost is

about $15 per year. Certainly 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.

- 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. To cross by land only into Canada or Mexico, you may use a less-

expensive passport card, but if you are going to go to the trouble to get a

passport card, why not go ahead and get the real thing? For more information

on how to apply, read here.

- 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!

Remember the Carnival Triumph fiasco? One of the reasons the ship had to be

towed all the way to Mobile, extending the misery by an extra day or two, was

that the majority of the passengers didn’t have the necessary documentation

to be flown home from you didn’t know that! Also, if you become

injured or ill and need to fly home, having a passport will greatly minimize the

hassle...and you don’t need hassle when you are sick or hurt! Don't even get us

started on travel insurance, just read about it here.

- Do my children need passports?

Yes! Every person, even an infant, must have his/her own passport to fly to a

foreign destination. 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). See child abduction country information pages

for information about your destination.

- This trip is our honeymoon. Can we travel as Mr. and Mrs. “Newlywed”?

We 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, I can assure you. 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. Ever! But it does happen, rarely.

Make three photocopies of your passport before leaving home. Give one to a

friend or relative to keep handy, give one to your trusted travel professional

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 a 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-depending on the country, we review this with you prior to traveling.

We know that passport issuing was on hold during the pandemic, and that there is a backlog of documents. However, if you do plan to travel next year now is a great time to get your paperwork filled out and submitted. We don't want you to miss any amazing adventures. We're happy to answer any questions you may have, contact us when you're ready to start planning your next get away.

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