There’s no getting around it – getting a passport is expensive! So, most people wait until they actually have international travel plans to apply for one.
However, there are some groups of people who need to keep a valid US passport handy at all times, even if they don’t have travel plans in the near future. If you fall into any of the categories below, you need a US passport:
People With Family Abroad
Whether it’s a joyous occasion like a wedding or a tragic one like an illness or funeral, people who have relatives living overseas should maintain a valid US passport at all times, just in case. If something comes up, you will want to be able to go to your loved ones quickly, without having to deal with a lot of bureaucratic hassle. If you don’t have a passport, get one. If you do, keep tabs on the expiration date. If there are children in the family, remember that their passports will expire in five years rather than ten.
People With Jobs that Require Travel
If your job requires international travel on short notice, you should keep a valid passport on hand at all times, even you aren’t required to travel outside of the country very often. Can you imagine having to miss a meeting with important clients because you had to replace your passport? In these circumstances, having a US passport is an important part of remaining competitive.
Travel Bargain Hunters
Do you dream of standing on top of the Eiffel Tower, or of partying underneath the full moon in Thailand? The cheaper your flights and accommodations are, the more money you’ll have for other travel expenses.
Some flight sales and travel deals are last-minute and short duration, so if you’re serious about getting away on a budget you’d do well to get a US passport just in case. Then, join some travel discount mailing lists or set shop monitoring airline accounts and travel deal accounts on Twitter. If a good deal last-minute deal becomes available, you’ll be ready to pounce with your passport in hand!
If you do have a last-minute international trip and you don’t have a passport yet, don’t panic. It’ll take a little bit more effort and a little bit more money, but you can get a passport quickly. If you have travel plans within the next two weeks, either make an appointment to submit your US passport application at one of the nation’s twenty-four regional passport agency locations, or use a reputable private expediting company to submit your application for you.
Alison Kroulek is a freelance writer and blogger with a focus on the travel industry.