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Passport expiry: the unforgettable mistake

passport renewalI have countless stories of people who arrive in the airport to board their plane all excited to start their adventure to actually be turned away. Why? Because they didn’t pay attention to the passport’s expiration date. Seriously it is one of the very few things we actually don’t put in our to do list before we travel.

I have a family friend who went to the airport with his wife and three children only for ALL of them to be turned away because one of their child’s passport had expired. This of course causes so much distress and arguments can flair between them because at the end of the day who’s responsibilities is it really?

His or hers?!

In my opinion passport renewal should be given to the one who takes care of all other important documents in the household.

The same happened actually to my mum just last week. I was about to book some flights to Dubai when I realised that I better check her passports expiration date and make sure everything is ok. I have no idea why or how I decided to do this, but my mum would not be allowed to board with me since her passport had less than 6 months. Especially since Dubai does require you to have at least six months left on your passport before arrival.

So what are the care instructions?

  • Every country is different. However most countries will require you to have atleast 3 or 6 months before expiration date.
  • If you are an EU citizen travelling to another EU country you can travel with even less than 3 months. You can travel even with a few days as long as your passport covers the duration of your trip. Always make sure to check for each country though.
  • You can also always your use national ID card and travel within the EU. Except the UK who don’t have this option.
  • Make sure you put a reminder on your phone or calendar to check the expiry date of your passport and a reminder to renew it.
  • It can be extremely costly if you don’t, since you will lose your flights and hotels if you have booked non- refundable options.
  • Insurance won’t cover this because it is your responsibility to have all the documents in place before your travel
  • If you are dual citizen you can use any passport, given that you can travel into the country. But make sure you know the expiration dates.
  • Different countries have different years of validity. For example my British passport is issued for 10 years however my mum’s Bulgarian passport is issued only for 5 years.

Tip: Don’t assume that airline employees always know the rules. If you have less than 6 months make sure you print out the information for them. If you are sure you can travel ask for your rights. You might want to check this guardian article as well.

Thankfully my mum had plenty of time to renew her passport. She was so excited for this trip she literally went the following day. If I hadn’t checked then our holiday would have been ruined and we would have lost the money or points in this case. Not so cool indeed.

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