Summer’s the perfect time to travel. Everyone wants to have fun in the sun. It doesn’t matter when you decide to travel abroad—this little mistake could cost you big time.
Whether you’re heading to European destinations, safaris in Africa or my dream vacation in New Zealand, there’s one thing you don’t want to forget when you go abroad. It’s simple, but often overlooked.
My friend forgot and it turned her vacation into a nightmare at first.
Let’s call her Nicole. A few months back Nicole was sitting on Cloud 9 after she booked an awesome vacation to the Bahamas. After all, she found an unbelievable package for a family of four online.
Let the countdown begin! They couldn’t wait to get away and walk on those beautiful sandy beaches. Her kids were excited about visiting the place with all of those fun and amazing commercials—Atlantis.
Finally, travel day is here. They are all packed up and ready to go. With fun and excitement on their minds, they arrive at O’Hare airport early to check in.
Then all of a sudden it comes to a screeching halt. When they hear, “Sorry, three of your passports are expired.” What? No way. Nicole couldn’t believe it, her passport had expired months ago and the kids were only valid for five years (not ten years like adults).
This moment called for a two hands on your cheeks and a wide-open scream (like Kevin McCallister a.k.a. Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone).
Was a trip that cost more than $3,000 about to go down the drain? So you can only imagine how she felt.
The panic set in. They were grounded with expired passports. Those great priced non-refundable flights were about to take off without them. For real.
The airline representative told Nicole it happens all of the time. People often make international travel plans without checking their passports. But don’t let that be you.
There is Light at the End of the Tunnel (even in O’hare airport)
The airline representative rebooked all four tickets to leave on the first flight out the next day without any additional charges. Nicole didn’t have to pay any change fees or fare difference, which could have easily cost $1,000+ (light is peering through now).
He told her to go downtown and get expedited passports today to fly out tomorrow.
From airport check in to the passport office, they frantically rushed to get new passports. At the passport agency, they quickly discovered other people who were in the same exact situation. It really does happen to a lot of people.
In the end, Nicole said those same day passports cost them an extra $500 and one night at the resort. But the incredible vacation her family had in the Bahamas was priceless.
Nicole’s story had a happy ending. Fortunately, she lived in Chicagoland and had access to same day passport services. There are only 25 passport agencies in the U.S. that can expedite passports in-person. According to the U.S. Department of State, you must:
- Schedule an appointment
- Have proof of international travel within two weeks
- Pay a fee to have it expedited
Nicole encouraged me to write this post because she doesn’t want anyone to experience this. So please remember to check your passport expiration date before you travel abroad.
Click here for more tips on traveling abroad. Happy Traveling!!!
Has this ever happened to you? If so, how did you handle it?