Search This Blog

Follow Us on Twitter

Common Passport Mistakes

International Vacation Home Exchange has properties all around the globe. If you want to visit any of these properties, you are going to need two things: a sense of adventure and your passport. Just one simple mistake can turn your tropical dream vacation into a staycation at home. And these days, you can’t simply wing it. Security is incredibly tight at any border in any country, so be sure you get things squared away with your passport well ahead of your vacation.

Here are common mistakes that travelers make with passports.

1)      Missing Passport. If you rarely travel abroad, it could be easy to misplace your passport. Especially if you have moved recently. The worst thing that could happen is your flight is departing in a matter of hours and you can’t find your passport. If you know where yours is at (mine is in a safety deposit box) then continue reading. If you don’t know where your passport is at, stop reading and go find it.
2)      Forgetting to renew your passport. Depending on what country you reside in, you will likely need to renew your passport every couple of years. Some countries have rules that state (in fine print) that passports must be valid for six months or more. If your passport expires a few days, or even months, before your departure date, you will not be able to enter the country you’re trying to visit even with a birth certificate, driver’s license, blood sample, and note from mom. Bottom line, check the expiration date to your passport. If it is close to expiring, time to get it renewed.
3)      Waiting too long to apply or renew your passport. If you live in the United States, it can take anywhere from six to eight weeks for the government to process your application for a passport once they receive it. You can expedite the process, but it is going to cost you. It can also take several weeks if you are simply renewing your passport. Plan accordingly.
4)      Errors on your application. If you have any mistakes on your application, your request for a passport may get denied. You will then have to resubmit an application. Crossing out errors on an application is a big no-no. Best advice is to fill out your application using an online form and then printing it.
5)      Conflicting names. If you recently got married and changed your name on your driver’s license, then you will need to change your name on your passport. If there are conflicting names between your license and your passport, you may not be able to enter the country. You may be able to change your name on your passport for free. Again it depends on the country you reside in.
6)      Not enough blank pages. This one surprised me. Some countries require that you have at least two to four blank pages in your passport. These pages are for customs stamps. This rule is important if you are a frequent international traveler. If you are, let me just say I am so jealous.

7)      Wait, don’t forget about the visa. Are you traveling to the Summer Olympics in Brazil in August? Or checking out the Great Wall of China? You will need more than just your passport. Several countries require that travelers also have a visa. Obtaining and visa is whole process in itself (and a costly one). I even wrote about it a few months ago. If you have questions regarding visas, you can reach out an embassy or do some research online. There are companies that will help you through the process of getting a travel visa. I should warn you that if you opt to use one of these companies, do your homework. There are scammers out there on every continent that will try to rip you off. Be sure you work with a reputable visa company.

Best advice is as soon as you book your vacation home exchange and your plane tickets, to double check and make sure that your passport is up-to-date and not expired. And as always, safe travels.

Thank you to guest travel writer Carla Pruitt, follow Carla on Twitter at @crobscarla.


  1. Great tips... but, what about missing my passport when "I'm placed" in my vacation house... in another country?
    What are the steps I must take in order to return home safe and health without passport?

    1. Hello Hector! I've had friends who traveled abroad and had their passports stolen from cars or their hotel rooms. They always manage to get home safe and with a story to tell. So it happens and there are safeguards in place to help you get home. Now, if you lose your passport while in another country, the first thing you should do is contact your embassy or consulate in the region you are staying. Your IVHE coordinators can help assist you in locating the closest embassy. The folks at the embassy will help you obtain an emergency passport to help you get back to your country (they may also have information posted on their website). If you are from the United States, for example, it will take about 24 hours to obtain an emergency passport. So worst case, you will miss your flight home. You will have to likely pay a fee for that emergency passport (the passport is only valid for a year or so depending on your country). Once you arrive home, be sure to cancel the passport that was lost (or stolen) immediately to protect yourself from potential identity theft.

      While waiting for an emergency passport, you will need to notify your airline of the situation. Trust me, they've seen it before and should work with you on rescheduling your flights.

      Before you leave on any international trip, it is a good idea to make some photo copies of your passport to take with you. I also will take a photo of my passport image using my phone so that I have it in case I lose my actual passport. Photo copies will NOT replace the actual passport, nor will be accepted at borders or the airport. However, they will help expedite the process of obtaining an emergency passport.

      I hope this answers your questions. :)

      Safe travels,



We would welcome your comments and ideas


FREE quick and essential guide to Home Exchange

All entries * are required

Read about our privacy policy.


Copyright @ 2014 Vacation Home Exchange .