21 days to go until your Road Trip – are you excited??!! What are you most looking forward to? Weather, food, exploring someplace new? All of the above??
Road trips are one of my favourite things in the entire world. The excitement you feel as the days tick down and your departure gets ever closer. Having said that, there is SO much to organise. Like, crazy amounts. If you've never done it before, it can seem a little overwhelming.
That's why I designed this 21-day countdown, to help get you in the mood, and also make sure you don't forget anything vital. You know, like the biscuits or bottle opener! Over the next 3 weeks, I'll post a daily task. Some will take two minutes (hopefully like todays!) and others will be a little more involved. They don't have to be done in order, but we're starting with the things that take the longest to fix if there's a problem, so bear that in mind!
Let's get this checklist started. Every day will have a new task for you to check, so that in just 3 weeks time you will be ready to roll. Or ride. You know. In your car/ motorhome/ campervan. Coz it's a road trip. Right?
If you want to see the full list of tasks, here's the main page: Road Trip Travel Checklist- Countdown to Departure.
Passport Check- what to look for:
I know, I know, a Passport check is not exactly the most glamorous start to our Road Trip Travel checklist, but it's one of the most important!
Of course, if you're staying in the UK, then feel free to skip this day. How generous am I- a day off!! You can thank me later 🙂 But if you're going overseas, you're going to need to check your passport.
I'll be honest, if it's the middle of summer and you discover an issue with only 3 weeks to go, you're cutting it a bit close… but there are options, which I'll explain later.
- Do you even HAVE a passport? You do! Good job.
- Is it in date? Make sure you check the expiry date- you ideally need at least 6 months left on the passport after your scheduled RETURN date, not the date you start your trip. This is pretty standard for all countries- any less than 6 months left and Passport Control will be unimpressed. I have heard of people being refused entry, so don't take the risk, even if your trip is only a week long.
Make sure you check children's passports too. ALL children need their own passport– the days of going on Mum & Dad's have long gone. Even tiny babies need a passport, which is hilarious as they're valid for several years. Jade's baby passport had her at about 2 years old when she was still 6!
TOP TIP: If you are travelling with any children not yours, including step-children where you don't have custody, make sure you are carrying a signed and dated letter of consent from the legal parents/ guardians. Passport control has become very strict on this- when Mr WB took Jade away to Lapland for a Daddy/ daughter trip to see Santa, they questioned BOTH of them (yep, including 5-year-old Jade) about the trip, their intentions and whether Jade was happy to go with him. A little embarrassing for the parents, but I'm glad the precautions are there.
This is also a good time to check any pets passports.
Should you bring your passport even if you're not going overseas?
Honestly, this is completely up to you. I don't carry important documents if I don't have to, so I leave mine somewhere safe when we travel in UK. Mr WB carries his everywhere, in case he needs to grab a flight at the last minute, but he carries it with him when we leave the motorhome. It's always useful to have some form of ID on you, so a passport or driving licence makes sense.
What to do if you find a problem with your passport
Can't find your passport?
First, don't panic. I know that's easier said than done, but there are options. Your Motorhome trip isn't off the cards yet! I would suggest turning the house upside down first, as honestly, if you can find it that's your easiest option. Make ABSOLUTELY sure it's not been placed somewhere silly, (like the freezer, which is where I once put my car keys…!!)
Think about where and when you last had it. What were you wearing (including coat)? What bag did you have? Where you in the motorhome/ car (and could it still be there?)
If it's definitely not anywhere, (and you're now screaming at the computer that you've “DONE THAT, YOU SILLY WOMAN”) you MUST contact HM Passport Office immediately (or tell them online). This article HERE explains what you need to do and why.
Discovered your passport is out of date or is in the wrong surname?
Confession- I did this after we got married. We got married overseas (at Victoria Falls in Zambia, which really was as amazing as it sounds!) but because I flew home on my maiden passport and then we didn't travel for a while, it didn't even occur to me until about two weeks before our next trip that I'd booked a flight in my married name and HADN'T CHANGED MY PASSPORT. Doh!
You can get a passport within a week, and there are a couple of ways to do this:
If you've had a Red UK passport before: Then you can use the Online Premium service. You need to apply online, book an appointment, pay in advance- and you can collect your new passport at your appointment. This service will require you to travel to your nearest Passport office and you NEED to still have your old passport as you need to hand that in at your appointment. For full details, click HERE.
If you don't have your old passport or haven't had one before (including a childs): Use the Fast Track service. This takes a little longer than Premium, and you still need to book an appointment online at a passport office, but you should get it within a week of your appointment. You will need to bring ID and photos- for full details on what's required and to book, click HERE.
If you are flying or travelling further afield, now is also a good time to check if you need any Visas for the country. Click here to check.
Want your passport to travel in style?? Here are some fun ideas for you- they also make a great pre-holiday gift for partners or kids!
Hopefully, all that wasn't too painful! I always say if you have a passport and a credit card you then you're all set for anything!
Onwards… or downwards I guess- the countdown continues tomorrow!
And don't forget to check out the Road Trip Tips section for more good ideas for your trip. If you know someone who'd benefit from this series, share it with them on Social media!