You probably don’t think much about your passport until you need it. I, on the other hand, wake up in a cold sweat from a nightmare where I’m leaving for a trip only to realize my passport has expired! I encourage you to be proactive about your passport being up to date, even if you don’t have any international trips planned in the near future. A little advanced planning will save you from having to pay extra to expedite its renewal last minute.
1. Mark Your Calendar a Year Before It Expires
Did you know that there are certain countries that, if you have less than 6 months remaining on your passport, won’t let you in? It would suck, suck, suck to find that out the hard way. So a year before your passport expires make sure there’s a calendar reminder. You’ll need this much time because sometimes the State Department is flooded with passport renewals and it can take a while.
2. Take Off Your Glasses
If you wear glasses like I do, you need to know: you can no longer wear them in your passport photo. Now, if you have a current passport where you’re wearing glasses, don’t worry; you don’t need to rush out and get another one. But when you next renew yours, just take off your glasses when you get your photo. There’s actually a State Department-endorsed Walgreens app where you can take your own passport photo and print it at your local store that I want to try.
3. Spring for Global Entry
Seriously. If you’re going to spend thousands of dollars to visit an international destination, why cheap out on something that saves so much stress and time in the customs process? Do it.
4. Keep it in a Safe Place (That You’ll Remember)
I have a folder of important documents, so I always know where my card is. I don’t want to be scrambling before a trip, panicking that I left it in a purse somewhere. Be safe.