Planning a trip abroad is one of the most exciting things you can do — well, aside from actually getting to your destination, of course. It's so much fun creating your itinerary, shopping for vacation clothes and essentials and counting down the days until you've landed and you're on your way to creating memories that'll last a lifetime. But then it happens: You waited too long and you realize you forgot to apply for a passport.
Hey, it happens to the best of us. You finally book that round-trip flight to Europe you've been waiting years to do, and then — bam! — next thing you know, you have mere weeks, maybe even days, to get that very important, pocket-size booklet. Now, you're not only faced with trying to get the passport on time, but you're also forced to fork over way more money to expedite the process.
That amount of stress leading up to a trip is fun for no one, so do yourself a favor and get your passport ASAP — even if you have zero overseas vacation plans.
Here are six reasons you should have a passport by now.
You'll always have a backup ID
Let's say you lose your driver's license. Sure, getting it replaced will only set you back a few days, but you still need some form of photo identification. That's where the passport comes in to play. It's one of the most reliable forms of identification — and you can even use it to purchase alcohol at most places.
You can pick up & go in a pinch
Need to fly overseas at the last minute? Well, you can't do it if you don't have your passport. Get one now, and you'll know you'll always be prepared. According to the State Department, the quickest you can get a passport is within eight business days, but restrictions apply. For instance, if you have a life-or-death emergency, you likely qualify for the expedited service.
You'll avoid the extra fees
Currently, it costs $145 to get a passport ($110 for the application fee and $35 for the execution fee). If you needed to get it expedited, you're looking at adding an extra $60. And if you were to go to an agency that can get your passport to you within mere days, you'll likely spend even more. So, save the money, and spend it while you're overseas. That sounds like a better plan, don't you agree?
You'll always have proof of citizenship
If your citizenship is ever in question, you can show authorities your passport to clear up any confusion. Easy as that.
You'll have access to 172 countries
A passport from the United States is one of the most powerful passports out there. According to a Henley & Partners and International Air Transport Association report in 2017, U.S. passport-holders may enter 172 countries and territories without a visa. However, passport holders in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia have the least freedom of travel.
You can likely use it for school enrollment
If you have kids, it doesn't hurt to get them passports too. Passports are a reliable document that state one's identity and age and are usually accepted when enrolling in public schools. Of course, check with the school first.
Ready to apply?
About time! Let's do this!
To apply for a passport, download an application form and get all the information you need from the official U.S. government resource.