My passport has expired! I need a passport to go there? But my child never needed a passport before. Does any of this sound familiar?

Applying for a new passport or renewing an existing passport may not be the easiest part of preparing for an international trip, but it does not have to be extremely difficult either. There are several options for your group to obtain travel documents required for your trip. The following article is a guide on the available methods to get a passport, and to help travelers avoid potential passport pitfalls along the way.

Passport Tip – Plan Ahead!

When travelers plan ahead and are not in a need of a passport quickly, the first option is to go to one of more than 4,500 passport acceptance locations, such as a post office or courthouse. If potential long lines and little customer support are not a factor, the post office can be a good resource. If travelers are in a hurry and need their passport in less than two weeks, they can make an appointment and go to one of the regional passport agencies across the country to expedite the process themselves. Although these options may not seem difficult, they are not always the most efficient.

Consider a Passport Expeditor

Experienced travelers and group leaders know there is an easier way to travel. Serving as a facilitator between the traveler and the United States government, passport expediters can help obtain passports fast, sometimes in as little as 24 hours. Think of them as personal passport assistants. Because passport expeditors work directly with the government, they are able to hold appointments at the 14 regional passport agencies without the traveler having to physically be present. In addition to hand-carrying the application, passport expeditors will also review the application materials to help ensure all forms are filled out correctly. This up-front quality control is very important, reducing application errors and ensuring that the passport will be back in time.

The following true story is an example of why passport expeditors are very useful. Working more than 40 hours a week, Jenny was in need of a vacation and decided to take a trip to Paris, France. Looking at her calendar, she realized her trip was only seven weeks away and she had yet to apply for a passport, which generally takes six to eight weeks to arrive. The following Saturday, after running her morning errands, Jenny finally made it to the post office passport window only to find the window closed. She had to drive more than 45 miles to find the nearest open passport acceptance location.

So the solution is to interview all parties to learn what will win each individual’s vote. The presentations must show each person that he will get more of his benefits, with less risk, and less effort than any competitors offering.

Once Jenny arrived, she had to wait behind a family, whose five members were all applying for passports. When the family finished, Jenny finally got her application. She proceeded to call her mother, father and everyone else whose Social Security Numbers and addresses were requested and then was able to get back in line. She nervously handed in her application materials, hoping that all the information was correct. If her passport application was submitted with an error, it could take up to six weeks to even find out.

Check Passport Acceptance Locations

Like Jenny, many travelers have similar experiences with passport issues and acceptance locations. Unfortunately, with the new United States government passport regulations, passport acceptance locations will be even busier. Starting January 1, 2007, Americans were required to present a passport when traveling by air or by sea to and from Bermuda, the Caribbean, Canada, Mexico and Panama. Starting in 2008, the requirement also applied to land travel as well. The change is expected to increase passport demand, resulting in longer lines and waiting times. Passport expeditors, such as, can save you time and the hassle of having to go get your passport.

Remember, other travelers don’t have to go through the same stressful process Jenny did. Plan early or let an expediter handle travel documents so your group can enjoy their vacation and worry about the things that really matter, like how they are going to get all those souvenirs home!