Everyone knows if you’re planning to travel out of the U.S you have to have a passport. If you have traveled out of country before, you also know passports can be a pain in the neck. If you have never had a passport and don’t know where to begin you’re in luck! All of the information you could possibly need is right here.
Steps to getting a passport: Click here
Getting a passport if you’re under 16: Click here
Getting a passport if you’re 16 or 17: Click here
Just need a passport card? Click here
Make sure you order your passport 3-4 months before leaving the country. Passports can take 4-6 weeks to get (2-3 if expedited) but it is always better to be safe than sorry.
When you receive your passport in the mail make a BLACK AND WHITE copy of the page with your picture on it, shrink it to the size of an ID, and then laminate it. Why? If you lose your passport overseas you can use this card to go to the nearest US Embassy and get a replacement. It MUST be black and white. If it is in color it is considered forging a document and you can get fined. And wouldn’t you rather use that money on another fabulous trip?!
Another important travel document you may need is a visa. Certain countries only require them for long term travel (generally over 90 days,) others require them for shorter trips, and some don’t require them at all! As soon as you know your vacation location research whether you need a visa and whether you need to receive that visa while you are in that country or in the states. For example: I went to Germany for a month and I didn’t need a visa. But, when I went to Ethiopia for two weeks my parents had to get me a visa. They also were able to get that visa in Ethiopia rather than the US. It saved us time and money so make sure you research what your country requires. Your age and if you are traveling with a program are also factors with Visas, so this should be one of the first things you research. You do NOT want to be turned away at the airport and miss your trip!