Your passport is one of the most important documents you will ever own. It’s the key to verifying your identity, opening accounts, getting government cards and most importantly it unlocks the door to travel all over the world.
However, without a valid passport you won’t be jetting abroad anytime soon. So to avoid problems at the airport, Travel at 60 team leader Kellie Banditt has shared the top five passport mistakes to look out for.
Most passports have a minimum amount of validity required before you are allowed to board a flight. These stipulations vary depending what country you live in.
In some places, it may be three months and others six months so it’s important to check these requirements before you are due to leave on your holiday or you may not be able to enter the country you’re trying to visit.
“When travelling most countries require a minimum of six months validity on your passport on your return into Australia and entry in,” Banditt explains.
If your flight booking doesn’t match the name on your passport, you might not be allowed to fly. There are a few different reasons why airlines require full names in bookings. It may be due to immigration and border security, a particular government, an added check for people with similar names or to ensure that names match visas.
“When travelling overseas your name on the airline ticket must match your passport,” Banditt says. “Airlines are now becoming a lot more strict on this rule, so if you have a middle name on your passport, your ticket must be issued like this — first, middle, surname.”
If your passport is damaged, you might need to get a new one. Normal wear and tear will not affect its usability, but serious damage to your passport — such as water damage or any visible tampering — could prevent you from travelling overseas, Banditt explains.
If you’re unsure whether your passport’s condition is good enough for travel, Australia’s Smartraveller website recommends calling the Australia Passport Information Service or visiting an Australian passport office, Australian Embassy or Consulate to check.
Losing your passport while travelling overseas is every traveller’s nightmare. It’s not an easy thing to replace and proving your identity when you don’t have a lot of other documents on you can be difficult, especially in a foreign company.
To save yourself a lot of stress, take a photo of your passport on your camera, mobile phone or tablet — whatever device you’re bringing along with you. If you want to be extra safe, you can take a photo of your passport on your phone and then email the photo to yourself. That way, if you’re having a particularly bad day where you’ve lost both your phone and passport, you can access the photo version of your documents wherever there is an internet connection.
In some countries, too many stamps in a passport could see you rejected from a flight. If you are an avid traveller, and your passport has filled up but won’t expire for more than two years, you can purchase a 34-page replacement passport, which will have the same expiry date as your old passport. The fee for a replacement passport is $184.