Following is the first of a three part series covering some of the most important travel documents you should be familiar with before you travel across boarders. We want to help educate our clients and hope you find this information useful!
When it comes to traveling abroad, having your passport is a must. While this is common knowledge around the world, there are many things to consider when it comes to your passport, most notably when & how you get your passport, or renew it, and how to keep your passport safe when traveling. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind when it comes to travel and your passport:
· If you travel out of the U.S., you will need your passport. Even with countries that accept a birth certificate and photo id to enter, the United States requires a passport to come back. Save yourself the hassle and worry about having the correct document and get your passport.
· Be aware of your expiration dates! If you have children with passports, keep in mind, these expire after 5 years, whereas adult passports expire after 10. Many countries require your passport to be valid 3-6 months after your travel date. So plan to renew if your passport expires within 6 months of your travel date.
· If you are getting your passport for the first time plan for 6-8 weeks processing time to get your passport, so ideally you should complete the application 3-4 months prior to your travel dates. Often you can apply at courthouses or post offices when you have to apply in person. This applies to first time issuance and for children, who must be in attendance with at least one parent, and a notarized permission letter if the other parent is not available. Be sure to check the US Department of State website on Passports for all the up to date requirements that may apply to your personal situation.
· Once you have your passport, how do you keep it safe while traveling? The safest way to carry important documents like your passport and id while traveling is to have a travel document pouch that can be worn under your clothes. There are many options available, including ones that have RFID blockers. Radio Frequency Identification is now included on your passport, and many forms of id and credit cards. This high tech tool is to help in data tracking. Unfortunately this technology can be used by others to steal your information or identity. Getting a wallet or document pouch with an RFID blocker included will help protect all your information.
· Make copies of your passport and other travel documents. Once you arrive at your destination, chances are you won’t need your passport directly. Carrying a copy around as back up id can be helpful, and you can lock your passport in a safe at your hotel room, or with the front desk to avoid any risk of it becoming lost or stolen while you are out seeing the sights.
· If you do not want to carry a document pouch under your clothing, the next best place to carry your documents is in a front pocket or bag with a zipper that you can carry across your front. Do not use a purse that has a button only, or open bag, and never use a back pack to carry your passport, these bags are very easily pick-pocketed and major targets. It is also ideal to not carry your passport with your other identification. If one does get lost or stolen, you should have the other to use if needed.
· If the worst does happen when traveling abroad, and you are a C.P. Trips client. You can rest assured that we are here to help you get through the process as smoothly and quickly as possible. One call to our office and we will be your advocate to get you through your trip and safely back home.