Here are a few tips for making sure you don’t have anyone who has to miss their trip because they do not have a passport:
- Check with your travelers early on determine their passport status. (Do they already have one? Have they applied? Do they know how to get a passport?). I start asking them one year in advance!
- Set a application deadline for your travelers. You don’t have much control over how long it will take to process the application, so everyone needs to get started well in advance of your trip. In my experience, parents will wait until the last minute to take care of the details, and often cut it close to the date of departure for the trip. Setting an application deadline, means that you have the peace of mind knowing that they have all applied, you just need to wait for their applications to be processed. Set this deadline months before you trip!
- Educate your travelers on the process to obtain a passport. I have included the letter that I send to my groups on this topic. Steal it and edit for your needs!
- Keep in mind that, depending on your destination, your group members MIGHT need a visa as well. You cannot start a visa application until you have your passport. So, the sooner that they get their passports, the better.
- When everyone has their passports, you will need to make a copy of it and take it with you on the trip. This is just in case someone has a lost or stolen passport while on tour.
- Check the specifics for your destination, but often many countries require your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your planned date of departure. Have your group members check the expiration date for those who already have passports. They might need to get it renewed depending on its expiration date. So for example, let’s say I have a trip planned to Italy for June 15-25, 2017. I would need to make sure that all passports will expire AFTER December 25, 2017.
So get started early making sure everyone has a passport, or is at least in the process of applying for one. You don’t want to miss out on the trip of a lifetime!
Want to see the email that I send to all of my travelers about obtaining a passport? It has the information that they need, and it outlines the steps to obtaining a passport.
Click here for a word document
Click here for a PDF file
Do you have any ideas on how to make sure all travelers have their passport long before its time to travel? I'd love to hear them in the comments below.