School is out, Kids are Home, and What do You Mean I Need a Passport …
At last it’s here… Spring term is over, kids are out of school, and work is matriculating into summer hours. Thinking about planning a summer vacation? Why not? Rates for travel are at an all time low, resorts are half booked, and you really deserve a vacation! So you decide to book a week long cruise, maybe a backpacking adventure in Canada, a few Mai Thais in Cancun, or a cultural excursion in London; it all sounds fantastic. But there are a few things every traveler should do before they book the excursion of their dreams.
First and foremost, check your passport. If your passport will expire within six months, it is highly recommended to renew your passport before you even step foot into an airport. Most airlines, cruise lines, or border crossing points will not allow you to enter if your passport is in question. Sometimes they will let you pass, but immigration officials at your final destination can/will turn you away. This is a certain way to cut your vacation short and waste lots of money.
Second, verify that where you are travelling doesn’t need a visa to enter the country. Please make note, visas and passports are too completely different things. A passport will let you travel internationally, but some countries require an entry visa in addition to the passport to enter. I highly recommend you reference three points of information, when making your travel plans. First, call the air/cruise line, second call a visa expediter company, and third, contact the host Embassy of your intended destination. Do not rely on information from a friend or the internet, as this is a sure way to end your summer plans.
Lastly, after you have secured all the necessary paperwork and documents, I strongly implore you to make copies of everything. It is best to make two copies as one set you should leave with someone for safe keeping and the second set to stow away in your travel bags. You could inadvertently misplace your passport, take a dive in the ocean, or fall privy to market pick pocket; having copies in your possession will make things so much easier when you approach the US Embassy.
Follow these tips and suggestions to enhance your summer vacation, keep more money in your pocket, and have a peace of mind. Now let the good times roll!!