As travel professionals, we get more questions about passport and visa services than any other topic. The process of obtaining these documents can be overwhelming and intimidating if you have never done it before. However, having valid documentation is critical if you want to travel anywhere outside of the United States.
For entry to many countries, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER your scheduled return. This may seem like overkill, but I suggest putting a reminder on your calendar to renew it a full year before it expires. What could ruin an experience more than being denied entry into a country because of an expired passport?
You should keep your passport in a safe, dry place before and during travel. A passport case or protector is also a good idea. We have had travelers denied boarding due to water damage. We have also helped travelers who were denied boarding because the corners of their passports were frayed. Since this can be an indication of tampering in addition to normal wear and tear, the best practice is to keep it protected in a case at all times. Please note, you will need to remove it from the case to go through most customs and immigration stations. If it is time to renew your passport, you can download all forms and even make appointments online.
If you are traveling to a country that requires more than a passport, we highly recommend employing a company that specializes in obtaining travel visas. Those partners are on the ground near the embassies. They have connections, access, and knowledge about the process that can be invaluable. Countries like China and Russia do not make the process easy. Aladdin Travel recommends clients contact CIBTvisas.
I joined Aladdin in 2004 and my favorite destinations are Africa, Italy, anywhere in the Caribbean and Costa Rica. I love to travel with my family, have extensive international travel experience and am passionate about helping others explore the world. I have managed events all over the globe. Whether it is a high touch board meeting abroad or a large medical convention in the Caribbean, I bring passion for travel and industry knowledge to work for every single client.