You know not to forget your passport when you travel. But don’t forget to get your passport in tip-top travel shape, well before you leave. Take a peek at Explorica’s handy hints on how to make it smoothly through your host country’s border control so that the only thing you’ll be worried about upon arrival is whether you remembered to pack your toothbrush!
1. Check the expiration date on your passport.
Many countries won’t allow visitors to enter if they have less than six months left on their passport. And others, such as Spain and Costa Rica, require that you have at least three. Visit the government’s official travel website and make sure that your passport meets your destination country’s entry requirements. Worried you’ve left it too late? Don’t worry because help may be at hand. For an additional fee, the US Passport Office can get you a new one in under two weeks.
2. Find out if you need a visa to travel to your destination.
Traveling between the USA, Canada and many European countries is easy due to a special agreement allowing you to travel for up to 90 days visa-free. However, some countries require you to obtain a visa, such as Brazil, India and Turkey. Although you’ll usually need to submit an application to your host country’s local consulate by mail, the good news is that travelers to Australia can obtain it right over the internet. Oh, and remember you’ll need a valid passport before you can put in your visa application.
3. Make copies of your passport’s information page before you travel.
Leave one copy at home with a trustworthy friend or family member and keep hold of another in a safe, but separate, place from your passport. So, should the worst occur you’ll have all your information at hand for the staff at the US consulate abroad to get you back home, hassle-free.