Our most recent international trip – a P and O cruise to Papua New Guinea and we made arguably the biggest mistake you can make when traveling with kids. It almost cost us our family cruise and if I, after six years as a family travel blogger can make it anyone can. Four days before our departure we realised our son had less than six months remaining on his passport. From our departure he actually had five months 26 days remaining on his passport. This is the clincher – most international destinations require that you have at least six months remaining active on your passport or they will not allow you to pass through their border. In the case of our cruise I called P and O who confirmed that without the full six months remaining before expiration they would not allow our son to board the cruise. In the instance of international airlines, without a full six months remaining on your passport they will not allow you to board their aircraft
So what did we do? Well, I panicked – big time. I’d organised the cruise and it was my mistake. It wasn’t a mistake that travel insurance would cover either – there would be no reimbursement for the cruise ticket lost if he didn’t board. I called the Passport Office who told me they would not give us a passport interview until four days after our departure and we’d have to take our chances submitting at Australia Post. The Passport Office told us that even with their rapid passport system they didn’t guarantee a new passport for less than five working days. It was looking grim whether we would get the passport in time so we arranged for the passport to be released from the Brisbane Passport Office – the departure port for our cruise. On the morning of our cruise my husband raced from our hotel in a cab to the Brisbane Passport office to collect my son’s passport (it was there!) and we were able to board the cruise as a family. I’ve never had such a stressful pre-travel week nor been so relieved when we commenced a journey.
The moral of the story is to ALWAYS check that every family member has at least six months remaining on their passport when traveling overseas. Children’s passports are only active for five years which means in reality you need a new one every 4.5 years.
Sharing my tale of woe on some Facebook groups I also gained some new info. Despite the Passport Offices hard line stance over the phone – others told me that when they had made similar mistakes by fronting up at their nearest Passport Office they been allocated new passports on the same day. We had made another mistake by listening to the Passport Office over the phone when they told us they wouldn’t see us and we applied via Australia Post.
Have you made the same mistake as us – please make me feel better by sharing your own mistake here as a comment.
© Copyright 2017 Danielle, All rights Reserved. Written For: Bubs on the Move