Your family travel assistant

When it comes to renewing children’s passports, I know a thing or two about the pitfalls! We once missed a holiday to Portugal when we realised a week before the holiday that our daughter’s child passport had expired. In a total panic, we managed to get an expedited passport issued with a promise that the new passport would reach us the morning (I kid you not) of our afternoon flight. Picture this.. The kids by the door in anticipation of the postman delivering the renewed passport. Bags packed. Taxi at the ready in the driveway. The mailman arrives and we eagerly open the envelope only to realise that the passport inside is the old passport with the corner cut off, and the mailman has no more post to deliver to us. Totally devastated we said goodbye to the taxi, stared at our suitcases by the door and cried quite a few sad tears!

I learnt a life long lesson from this experience. Always check passport expiry dates at the point of holiday booking. As well as checking passport expiry dates, double check the passport rules at the destination you are travelling to as this varies by destination. This will tell you how many months you are required to have left on your passport to enter the country. And then make plans well in advance to renew any passports as needed.

The best time to renew passports is when you have a clear window that none of you are travelling. With Covid that’s not been so much of a problem! But going forward, it’s worth thinking through the maximum time period that it normally takes to renew your country’s passport, and plan any holidays to give you enough time to complete the renewal process. It will save you a whole world of pain!

A little specific note on children’s passports, the first passport you get for your child tends to be shorter than the renewed passport. This is what caught us out with our daughter’s passport. We hadn’t realised that her child passport was valid for 5 years which was different to our adult passports. And this meant that we didn’t think to check her passport dates when we booked our trip to Portugal.

Since this experience, we’ve been religious about passport expiry dates, often renewing passports a few months before we have to renew them. We never got back to Portugal with the kids but it’s on the bucket list and we can’t wait to go when travel resumes!

Happy passport checking :)