How to Avoid Making These 5 Surprising Passport Mistakes

Your next international vacation should be full of excitement, magical moments, and unforgettable stops at the most extraordinary restaurants, shops and destinations the world has to offer.

The last thing you need, then, is to show up at the airport simply to get turned away due to an expired passport, or even too many stamps in your book. (Who knew?!)

Mistake #1: Not Checking the Expiration Date

This doesn’t even just mean a passport long since expired. Some countries only accept passports that won’t expire for six months or more. So if you have four months left till your expiration date, it’s probably safer to get a new one than be turned away at the gate! Please do not think that you can show up and bypass the country regulations. Countries do not play when it comes to their rules and regulations.

Mistake #2: Waiting Too Long to Apply

It’s pretty common knowledge that passports take forever to receive and/or renew, but with all the stress of a trip, this important detail can sometimes be forgotten. In general, passports take at least six weeks to arrive on time. If you require it sooner, expedited services will cost $60 and take about three weeks.

Need it even sooner than that? Check out this page to learn how to book an appointment at a passport agency or center.

Mistake #3: Not Correctly Filling Out the Form

We’ve all made some typos here and there, but an error on your passport application will result in a missed flight. Even if the printer was to blame, you’ll still need to correct it before heading through security. The bright side? The correction process is free. You’ll just need a DS-5504 form that you can either mail in or fill out online

Mistake #4: Not Updating Your Name After a Change

Legally changed your name recently? Passports don’t automatically update, so you’ll have to go through the renewal process. You’ll need to use a passport renewal form (DS-82), submit a color passport photo, an official document showing your name change, and your current passport (plus the fees that go along with it). We suggest ensuring you’re eligible for the DS-82 form.

If it’s been less than a year since your passport with your old name was issued, you might be able to update for free with the DS-5504 form.

Mistake #5: Having Too Many Stamps

Who knew that being a world traveler can have its downsides? Though you’re very lucky to have so many stamps in your book, some countries require you to have two to four blank pages in your passport.

If you love traveling as much as we do, make sure you’re always on top of your passport status to avoid any mishaps at the airport and reach your destination as soon as possible!

Double check and triple check your information once you receive your passport to ensure that everything is correct. You do not want to wait until the last minute just in case there is a delay. Stressing about whether or not you will receive your passport back in time for your trip is the last thing you need before going on a beautiful vacation.

For more information or to book your next trip, go to journey2elation.com.

Common Passport Mistakes

If you’re traveling abroad, there are tons of passport mistakes that might hold you up at security. Some of these mistakes are easily avoidable, while others might just surprise you!

Not checking the expiration date

While this seems obvious, it’s also easily overlooked. Ensure your expiration date is far enough in the future, because some countries won’t accept passports that will expire in six months!

Waiting too long to apply

Expedited shipping for passports does not mean overnight or 3 – 5 business days. While expedited shipping is available, it still takes $60 more and three weeks.

Not correctly filling out the form

Make sure everything on your application is clearly written. Luckily the correction process is free for typo’s made to your passport.

Not updating your name after a change

Passports don’t automatically update, so when a name change occurs you’ll have to go through the renewal process.

Having too many stamps

Who would of thunk it? Some countries have a requirement for the amount of blank pages that travelers have in their books. Passport books have a limited number of pages.

For more information or to book your next trip, go to journey2elation.com.

Facts about Travel Insurance: What It Is and Who Should Get It?

When you plan a trip, you might be wondering, “Should I buy travel insurance? Is it worth the cost?”

Here’s your answer: Everyone should buy travel insurance. Every day people go on trips that are affected by unfortunate events, so it’s best to always be prepared. However, some travelers—as a result of their lack of interest in or knowledge of travel insurance—don’t even realize what it is and what kind of protection it provides.

We put together this guide to get you all the facts you need.

What Is Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance is a type of insurance in which people are offered protection while traveling. Such plans include trip cancellations or interruptions due to illness, weather, or any other conflicts, such as jury duty—as well as lost luggage and medical coverage. Travelers with insurance will be reimbursed if any issues arise before or during their trip.

You’ll be thankful you have it if a family member gets sick right before a trip, and you need to cancel, or if you get injured during a physical activity at a resort. 

Types of Travel Insurance

There are several types of travel insurance plans available:

  • Trip Cancellation and Interruption
  • Travel Medical
  • Baggage Delay
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment
  • Medical Evacuation
  • Flight Delay or Cancellation
  • The Cancel for Any Reason

Policies tend to vary in regards to domestic and international coverage, as well as coverage for single or multiple trips. Further, every plan doesn’t offer the same exact benefits, so it’s best to do your research to see which plan offers you the best combination of benefits for each trip you go on.

What Can Happen If You Don’t Have Travel Insurance?

I am sure there are clients who may wonder why their travel advisor ask them are they sure they do not want travel insurance. Travel Advisors know the benefits of having travel insurance and the downfalls of not having travel insurance. Therefore, they want to educate their clients on the benefits of getting insurance that some clients deem as “an unnecessary extra charge”. I tell my clients that although Travel Insurance is not required, it is highly recommended.

Recently, I had a client who booked a cruise with travel insurance an a client who booked a hotel room without travel insurance. The client who booked with travel insurance was able to cancel their 2020 cruise with no charge. That client booked a new cruise for 2021. The client who booked with no insurance was given a supplier credit for the amount of the hotel stay. That client actually wanted a refund. I explained to them that because they did not get the travel insurance (they signed the insurance waiver), they would only be able to get the supplier credit. Their money will not be refunded.

Who Should Buy Travel Insurance?

It doesn’t matter if you’re going on a business trip, a family vacation with the kids, grandkids, or just by yourself. Everyone should buy travel insurance because unforeseen events could take place.

According to the U.S. Travel Association release in 2014, “One in six Americans (17%) say their travel plans have been impacted by medical conditions, natural disasters including severe weather; or mechanical or carrier-caused problems.” 

However, 22% of people from this survey had travel insurance while the rest did not. The U.S. Travel Association also points out that most people are happy that they invested in travel insurance, with a satisfaction rate of 85%. Although more people are purchasing travel insurance when they go on a trip, as also reported by the U.S. Travel Association, there is still a large number of people who choose not to.

These facts about travel insurance prove that many travelers have to deal with unexpected events both before and during a trip. Why take the chance of not being prepared, especially when other people who have done the same are happy they did?

For more information or to book your next trip, go to journey2elation.com.

Bahamas Cruise 2010

At the beginning of 2010, the opportunity came for me to take my first ever cruise. A friend of mine had already booked a cruise, but one person dropped out. I had never been on a cruise or out of the country before. So, I jumped a the chance to go on this one. This was in January or February and I had about 6 or 7 months to get everything together. I had to get a passport. In order to get a passport, I had to order a certified physical copy of my birth certificate because I did not have the original. Once my birth certificate came in, the process to get my passport was quick and easy. I filled out the passport application and went to CVS to get my 2 passport pictures. Then, I went to the post office, turned in my paperwork, paid the fees. I made sure to expedite the delivery of my passport to ensure that I received it before September. Make sure you get to the post office early because the lines can be long and make sure you have your paperwork and required documents completely filled out and ready. It won’t make the time prior to your cruise go by any faster, but it will make the process of getting your passport a lot smoother.

It seemed like it took forever to get to September. I was excited and kept looking at my travel documents that I had printed imagining how the cruise was going to be. We chose the latest dinner time because we were sure we were going to be eating throughout the day since all of our food was included. Since our cruise terminal was about 2 hours away in Charleston, South Carolina; we drove there the morning of our departure and left the car at the cruise terminal.

Prior to that day, I hadn’t been to Charleston since I was a kid. So, I was super excited. When I saw the ship, I started getting butterflies in my stomach. I don’t know if I was nervous, but I was ready to experience something that I had never experienced before. Checking in was a breeze for us. I was taking it all in and paying attention to everything that was going on around me. Because we had gotten there so early, we had quite a long wait before embarkation at 4 pm. So, I was just watching people and listening to what they had going on.

I heard 1 person talking about how they left their passport at home in Tennessee. I heard another person talking about how they only had their birth certificate because they were told that they did not need a passport. I heard another person trying to get their passport sent to them via FedEx. I heard a group of people talking about how they had traveled from up north and they were not going to be able to get on the cruise because someone in their party did not have all of their required documents. The entire time I was thinking that I was so glad that I made sure to get everything that I needed months in advance. You do not want to be stuck at the cruise terminal on the day of your departure and not know if you are able to go on your cruise or not.

Because I had not been on a huge cruise ship before, I did not know how it would affect me. So, I went to the doctor and got the patch for motion sickness. However, that patch did not work for me. Once we got on the ship and to our cabin, we went and checked out the ship. I was fine as we left, but that night, the sickness just came over me. I just knew that I was going to be able to watch my team’s game on the ship in one of the dining halls, but I did not feel good enough to even sit up. I went to the room to lay down and thought maybe I will watch the game in the room, but I was too sick to keep my eyes open. I thought there is no way I could enjoy this cruise being this sick. It was my first night on my first cruise and I just went to sleep.