With the peak holiday travel season on the horizon, now is the time to check your US Passport, Global Entry and TSA Trusted Traveler registrations, and your annual travel insurance policy to be sure they are in effect now and during your trip.
Let’s go down the list, in order of importance.
Many countries require that your US Passport is valid for six months beyond the day you are due to leave that destination. Not arrive – leave.
That protects the country just in case you want to extend your stay, and then you can’t go home because your US Passport expired.
If there’s not enough time left on your US Passport, you could be denied a visa, or turned back on arrival by that country’s customs and immigration.
ecoxplorer travel tips
- Apply for or renew your US Passport at least three months before it expires, longer ahead if you have a trip coming up, and especially if that trip requires a visa.
- Plan far enough ahead so that you avoid last-minute expedite fees to speed the process
Extra passport pages
Some countries now require an empty passport page with no stamps on it.
That is for security, to prevent criminals from using overlapping entry and departure stamps from being used by criminals for fraudulent travel documents.
This is a fast-pass for US Customs when you enter the USA, using the kiosks.
Global Entry also includes TSA Pre-Check, so you get two skip-the-line priveleges with one card.
I just renewed my Global Entry card, which is good for five years. Since I travel often, I say often that it’s the best $100 I ever spent on travel. Okay, $200, since I just renewed.
Global Entry was introduced just over five years ago, so the first group of applicants is expiring.
Since your documents are on file, you don’t need another in-person interview to renew.
Just go online to https://ttp.cbp.dhs.gov/ and fill out an application with updated information.
You get a plastic card that looks like a driver’s license. I use it instead of my driver’s license as ID for domestic trips, as well.
You can also get a TSA Pre-Check card, called Trusted Traveler, for $90 for five years, but even if you travel internationally just once in the five years your card is valid, it’s worth the extra $10 to skip the line at US Customs.
Travel Loyalty Programs
Check the rules of your airline frequent flyer programs and hotel frequent stay loyalty programs, since some miles or points have an expiration date.
- Example: American Airlines: AAdvantage miles do not expire as long as you have qualifying account activity once every 18 months.
Other hotel and airline miles expire if you are not active. Here is a good summary.
Believe it or not, some currency expires, too.
- Example: The British Pound has new bills and coins. If you have old currency, bring it to a bank in Britain and most will swap it out.
Always check the value of currency, like Euros, you have saved from a previous trip, before your next trip, so you know how much things cost.