A friendly reminder, folks - just because your passport hasn't expired yet, that doesn't necessarily mean you can use it for travel. That sounds counter-intuitive, but it's true: just ask the Patton family of Ottawa, Canada. Although all four family members had valid passports (in the sense that they had not expired yet), Costa Rica refused to admit them when they arrived in the airport. Instead, they put them right back on the plane and sent them home. The reason? Costa Rica requires all visitors to have at least three months left on their passports, and three of the four family members had passports that expired before then. The mishap was frustrating, emotionally grueling and expensive, costing them about $6,000. Unless the spotlight of publicity causes the airline and/or the trav
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Posts Tagged ‘preventing travel disasters’
Last week's 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, devastated the city. Buildings are in ruins and at least 148 people are confirmed dead. Christchurch is a popular town for tourists, many of whom struggled to get out of the city after the quake. At a time like this, your first priority is obviously going to be getting out of the situation in one piece, not keeping track of your passport. Often, natural disasters leave victims stranded in the chaos without this all-important piece of identification. So, what would you do if you were in a similar situation? Although New Zealand temporarily waived passport requirements for evacuation flights according to the LA Times, tourists will still need to get them replaced prior to continuing their journey home. There are some s
How do you know when it's time to renew your passport? This may sound like a trick question. After all, isn't the expiration date written right there next to your picture? Not so fast...just because your passport hasn't expired yet, that doesn't mean that you can actually use it to travel. Many countries require that your passport be valid for a certain amount of time after you enter the country-usually 3 or 6 months. If you try to leave for your trip with a passport that's valid now but doesn't have enough time left before the expiration date, you won't be allowed to leave the country until you renew your passport. How do you know how much time you need to have left on your passport? The US Department of State maintains a website of country-specific information. Visit the site, look