|If you don’t have one, why not? It’s the absolute best means of ID there is, well worth the price ($100), and it’s good for 10 years. $10/year is cheap insurance to be ready to travel at the drop of a hat!
Be ready to go. You never know when you’re going to want or need to travel to a foreign country. You may win a trip in a contest; your spouse (who has never wanted to travel) may pass away, and you have an opportunity to go with friends or family on a much-needed, get-away-from-it-all vacation they have in the works, which leaves in a month (personal experience speaking here); your child unexpectedly decides to get married in Jamaica, or Italy, and you, of course, want to attend. Remember, as of last year, a passport is even needed for Canada and Mexico.
Ready to do it? If you are a first timer, if you’ve lost your current passport, if your previous passport has expired and was issued more than 15 years ago, or if it was issued when you were under age 16, you must go in person to a passport acceptance facility (for instance, the BC post office) to pick up an application form. Bring back the filled-out form with two color photos, proof of U.S. citizenship (birth certificate), and a valid form of photo ID (such as a driver’s license), pay the fee, and send it in.
How long will it take? At present, four weeks, but there is no guarantee; passport requests are seasonal and subject to political vicissitudes. If you need it sooner you can pay an additional $60 fee to get it in three weeks.
Don’t wait to renew. Those with current passports can’t rest on their laurels, either. If your passport is getting close to expiring, be aware that some countries require passports to be valid at least 6 months beyond the dates of your trip and to have two to four blank visa/stamp pages. Some airlines will not allow you to board if these requirements are not met. So if you’re in your ninth year, consider renewing now. Renewals cost $75, and you might be able to do it by mail. If most of your pages are full, take the steps to get some extra pages.
For more helpful information, affordable tours, and more, visit www.driftersister.com.
Catch the wind…
Taste the rain…
And touch all of your tomorrows…