Who doesn’t love traveling abroad over the summer months? Think wining and dining amongst luxurious Italian vineyards or getting in on all the watersport action Down Under in Sydney. Beachside bliss can be found everywhere from the Caribbean and the Dominican Republic to closer sands around Cancun or Playa del Carmen, both in nearby Mexico. No matter where in the world you and the family are hoping to race towards, however, leaving the confines of the good ol’ U S of A and going international means that there will be a need for a passport.
No passport means no traveling, so be sure to get passport ready in time for all the wallet worthy summer travel deals that’ll be available this scorching hot season. Substantially discounted travel finds can be found all over the web, especially at leading providers like Hotels.com. Take advantage of their newest international travel deal for jet setters. Travelers can save $110 on international travel over $800! Just mention the Passport Offer – with the PromoCode passport17 – and you’ll be good to go.
Below are some tips to get passport ready. What are you waiting for? A whole world of fun awaits!
Check for Validity
For those who already have a passport, be sure -- first and foremost --- to see how much longer it is valid. Validity typically lasts for 10 years, though children's passports are only valid for 5 years.
Remember also that many countries do require that passports have at least 6 months of validity on it when entering the country. So, for those hoping to travel in August with only 5 months or less left on a passport, there will be a need to renew. Now.
Renew Renew Renew!
Passport renewals can be done conveniently and efficiently by mail at any time if certain criteria are met. If applying for the first time or are under 16 years old, there will be a need to appear in person at a passport acceptance facility, including designated U.S. post offices, clerks of court, and public libraries.
Be Sure Everything is Checked, Signed, and Dated
Don’t lose valuable time and money by showing up with an unsigned passport – which, by the way, is not fully valid. Take a moment always to check to make sure everyone has signed their passport, as even the kids’ passports need to be signed. School-age children can sign their own passports but if children are too young to sign for themselves, parents can sign their name followed by “mother” or “father.”
Remember that passports should be signed in blue or black ink using one’s full name as printed on the passport. Also, be on the lookout for wear and tear on a passport because a damaged passport can be a reason for you to be denied boarding of your flight or entry into a destination country.
STEP it Up
Before traveling aboard, make sure to get enrolled in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for security and emergency alerts. Not only is it a free service allowing U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but also provides safety conditions about the destination country, helping travelers make informed decisions for travel plans. It also allows the U.S. Embassy to contact you in case of an emergency -- whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency -- as well as family and friends to get in touch in an emergency.
Groups or organizations can create an account and upload a spreadsheet with contact details for multiple travelers.
Be fully insured for all medical, evacuation, and other unexpected expenses. Trip interruption or cancellation, flight delays, lost or stolen luggage, and other unexpected travel costs can truly add up. Check with credit card and homeowners’ insurance companies to see if there is ample coverage, and if not, consider additional insurance options.
It is important to keep in mind also that the health insurance you purchase needs to cover any special medical needs or risks you anticipate on an international trip. Many foreign medical facilities and providers require cash payment up front and do not accept U.S. insurance plans. Further, Medicare does not provide coverage outside of the United States. Always check if your U.S. health care policy is good overseas.