Travel Ease and Tools: Passport

Traveling abroad? the Bahamas? Mexico or Puerto Rico? Then you need a passport. Having a passport is a good idea, anyway. When the zombies hit, you're going to want first dibs at a flight, and if you think post office lines are long at Christmas time..!

Pete has never had a passport [newbie!], so here are a couple links to get you [and him] started:

Passport from US Gov
How to apply
Ready-to-Print Application forms
Emergency Passports

There was a time you didn't need a passport for the Bahamas or Puerto Rico, if you were a US citizen, I'm not sure how much of the rules has changed, but this is a great article for those questions.

You will also need a passport photo. The govt is very specific about these, it must be 2in X 2in, and your head has to be precisely centered, just right. Both ears have to be showing, and the image must be against a solid background, preferably light-colored. I'd keep makeup to a minimum, and your hair the way you typically wear it. I've actually seen people get stopped for looking nothing like their passport photo because they decided to go Hollywood Glam in the RiteAid. You can get a set of passport pics taken at almost any local drugstore, and sometimes, they have coupons!

If you don't have time to run down to the store, many pack-n-ship shacks take the photos, too, as well as official post offices. However! Now you can take your own passport photos! Here is a neat tutorial on making your own passport photo. Do me a favor and don't dig up the 1986 college pic you cling to because your hair hasn't fallen out yet and you didn't need glasses. Either take a picture to crop, or find a current pic taken in good lighting! Here is a site that allows you to do all the cropping online, just upload, crop, and print! It's a neat site, actually-

You should receive your passport in a few weeks. After that, keep it in a safe place, keep it clean. There are numerous places to buy passport sleeves, cases, jackets, etc. I have a clear plastic one I bought at CVS for $2, but here is a way cuter one and other passport accessories!

I have a few passports of my grandfather, they are a testament to his life and I cherish them greatly. I travel as much as I can, to places that require stamps so that my kids, and their kids know that I did stuff, went places- and I hope they do, too.
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