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  • Starr Wlodarski

Why You Need That Blue Book

In the past I have written about bucket list travel and if yours includes foreign destinations you are going to need a passport, so go ahead and get one. Why? You never know when that great price or free international airfare comes up and don't you want to be ready to take advantage of it?

If you have a passport, check the expiration date, good rule of thumb for foreign travel is your passport needs to expire 6 months after your return date and while anyone age 16 and over, a passport is good for 10 years, it's really 9 years and 6 months. Do you really want to be sweating out waiting for the Fed Ex truck to deliver a new passport the day before you leave?

So maybe "exotic" isn't what you are looking for, but you may not realize that you need a passport closer to home. Thinking warm weather location in the middle of winter? Southern Florida can get chilly in January & February. By no having a passport, you are limiting yourself to only a few places to get out of the cold, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands, which also are not hot spots for all-inclusive resorts. So, if you are thinking warm weather getaway, get that passport application filled out.

While a certified birth certificate will be accepted on some cruise lines for Caribbean cruises that embark and end at the same US port, a passport is a much better option to take along. It is recommended by the cruise lines and me. What happens if there is a family emergency, and you need to fly home from a foreign port? Or if you are injured or sick and must be taken off the ship? From a practical standpoint, it's much easier carrying a sturdy passport than an older birth certificate that can easily be torn. Some countries require passports, like Martinique. If you are on a sailing with that island included a passport will be required for boarding.

Thinking of an Alaska cruise tour? you are going to need a passport, because you will start or end your adventure in Vancouver, Canada. Yes, you need that passport to fly into and out of Canada, even though the majority of your trip is spent in the United States. Also, some of the longer Canada New England cruises start or end in Quebec City or Montreal.

So go ahead and apply for that passport, it's your key to the world.

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