If you’re like me, after the holidays were over you went out and bought yourself the gifts you really wanted and didn’t get. Maybe you cashed in some gift cards, or maybe you had a few dollars left over.
But do you have the one thing that absolutely every self-respecting traveller should have? Do you have an up-to-date passport? It’s your ticket to the whole wide world after all, and they put pretty stamps in it when you go places.
It might seem like a silly thing to go out and buy if you don’t have immediate travel plans, but there’s no reason to wait until the last minute.
I’m proof of that, because for someone who has done a lot of traveling, I can still be a travel moron. Here’s the evidence:
Last year I planned a trip to Australia and New Zealand. I finalized my itinerary and made sure it included a Lord of the Rings tour and black water rafting. Woo hoo!
I got approval from my manager to take three weeks off, paid. Woo hoo!
A month before my departure, I opened up my passport only to see that it had expired several months earlier. Crap!
Luckily, I had plenty of time renew my passport before my trip, so the situation wasn’t dire. Mostly it was embarrassing that my passport had been so unused that it took me eight months to notice it had expired. Clearly I need to get out of the country more often.
Since then, my New Year’s routine has become:
1. Change all the batteries in my smoke detectors.
2. Make an appointment to have my eyes checked and contact lenses updated.
3. Email all the people I haven’t talked to since last New Year’s.
4. Check to make sure I have a valid passport.
I think you should always be ready to flee the country at a moment’s notice. You never know when an opportunity will present itself.
Here are a few passport tips:
- Visit Passport Canada to get your application, check fees and find out how long it will take to get a new passport or renew an expired one.
- If your passport expired less than 12 months ago, you may be eligible to use the Simplified Renewal Form, which means you don’t have to resubmit proof of Canadian citizenship. You will need to have new photos taken though.
- A passport is good for five (5!) years for adults. Even if you don’t have immediate plans to hit the road, get your passport now so that you’re always ready to go (unlike me). It will also be one less expense to worry about later.
Always be prepared!