Once upon a time, there was a woman who was traveling to Panama with family and friends. Each member of this group worked on different aspects of booking this group travel adventure. Some members of the group had already been to the destination, so they were in charge of the excursions. Other members are great at negotiating the tan-to-body ratio, so they were responsible for allotting enough time for everyone to get their fair share of the sun.
Who was in charge of making sure everyone was passport ready for travel?
And thus, this is where the story gets interesting.
Imagine the joy on your child’s face as you enter the airport at 10pm and see 12 of your friends awaiting your arrival so that they can escape the US and enter Panama for their adventure.
Now, imagine the tears in your child’s eyes when it becomes apparent that you are unable to travel due to your not-yet expired passport being considered expired to the country you were attempting to travel to. Oddly enough, her son was able to travel with the group and not his mother, so his trip was not interrupted.
Looking back, there was a moment this woman (who will remain nameless) could have checked to see if her passport was invalid. The day before the flight, she received an email asking if she would like to check in for the flight. She did. When she had almost completed the process, there was a message that stated that there was an error and to present ID upon arrival to the airport. (Why this message didn’t just state to review the passport requirement for the destination city is a mystery for another day).
Since this woman was unable to board the plane to Panama, she was now charged with replacing her passport and taking the next flight out to catch up to her group. After taking an Uber home, she now went online to complete the application to renew her passport. Thank goodness for her friend who offered to run to CVS at 1am to take another passport photo and drive to NY at 5am to stand in the long line at the passport agency to apply for a new passport.
As promised, the renewed passport was ready in two hours and she was able to fly to Panama while only missing a few hours of this adventure.
Don’t let this happen to you
Visit this section of the US Passport website to gain specific information regarding passport requirements for international destinations. Please check it before you drive to the airport….