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Traveling Abroad? This Passport Mistake Could Cost You Hundreds

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Image source: Upsplash/The Motley Fool

You need a passport to travel to most countries outside the United States. Adult American passports are valid for 10 years. However, many international destinations require travelers to have passports with at least six months of validity left before they travel.

If you book airline tickets and don’t check the expiration date, you could face a stressful situation in the days or weeks leading up to your trip departure date. You could also lose money on prepaid travel costs if you can’t travel as planned. Here’s what you need to know.

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Be prepared for international travel to avoid losing money

So, you recently booked airline tickets for an upcoming vacation to another country? That’s fantastic news. It can be so exciting to explore a new-to-you international destination. But don’t forget to look at your passport before planning the ins and outs of your itinerary to ensure your passport isn’t expiring soon.

Even if you have a few months left, you’ll want to confirm the expiration date to ensure you won’t need to renew your passport before departing. Many destinations require international travelers to have a passport with at least six months of validity. If you’re headed somewhere that requires this and your passport is valid for less time, you won’t be able to visit.

Many airlines alert travelers to this in advance if they enter their passport details when booking their tickets or shortly after buying them. But if you wait until check-in to add your passport details, you may find out too late that you won’t be boarding the plane as planned.

As part of your trip-planning process, review passport and visa requirements BEFORE booking airfare, accommodations, or other travel reservations. Doing this can help you avoid losing money on prepaid travel expenses.

How to research destination requirements

If you’re planning a trip abroad, you can easily review passport requirements and visa requirements for the destination you’re planning to visit. The best way to get accurate and up-to-date information is to visit the U.S. Department of State website.

You can search for your destination and review the requirements. You can check out passport details, learn whether a visa is required, and find other information, such as whether it’s recommended or required to get certain vaccinations before traveling.

If you need to renew your passport or obtain a visa to travel to your vacation destination, budget accordingly to ensure you can afford these additional travel costs. You don’t want to stress about your finances while on vacation because you didn’t plan ahead to cover your expenses.

Allow plenty of time for passport renewal

Finally, if you need to renew your passport before your next trip, allow extra time for processing. The U.S. Department of State website provides the current estimated processing times for new passport applicants and passport renewals. You can pay additional fees for expedited service. Remember, these are only estimates, so plan accordingly and allow extra time to play it safe.

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The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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