Layovers are one of the downsides of travel but there is a way to make it tolerable, nice even. Most large airports have lounges you can use without award miles or membership. You’ll have to pay a fee but considering there are comfortable chairs, wifi, food and drinks included, it’s not so bad once you do the math. It’s so much better than hanging out at a gate. Lounge Buddy is a good resource to find lounges around the world simply.
I HIGHLY recommend travel insurance when embarking on a journey. Even if you don’t care about getting reimbursed (though I can’t imagine why), at the very least get medical coverage, especially if you’re going someplace remote. Check out Insuremytrip, a website that enables you to compare policies from a variety of companies.
If you’re going to participate in extreme (or not so extreme) sports such as hiking, diving, mountain biking, skiing, kayaking, bungee jumping… I think you get my drift, World Nomads is great insurance to consider. Basically, they cover activities (over 150) run of the mill travel insurance may not.
To apply for or renew your passport you can do it by mail, online or in person. Make sure to read through the directions thoroughly as there are minor differences depending on your situation.
If you need to renew your passportmake sure you have more than six months before it expires. Many countries will not let you in with 5 months or less. Make sure to make allowances for processing and shipping times (see below).
First time adult application fee is $110 plus a $35 execution fee.
First time child (under 16) has to be in person and there is $80 plus a $35 execution fee
NOTE: Make sure you know your passport number and expiration date. An embassy or consulate CANNOT look it up. I have a photo of my passport in my phone for just such and emergency, plus a photocopy.
NOTE 2: When I lost my passport in Ottawa, I had to give my phone up at security when I entered the consulate. I would imagine it’s like that everywhere so make sure to you have a photocopy. You’ll need it to get a temporary passport.
Regarding an appointment: When I looked online to schedule an appointment, there were none available until after I was supposed to leave. I showed up in person anyway and while I had to wait around a lot they managed to turn it around in a day.
You’ll need to provide:
A Passport Photo (one photo is required; get it in advance to speed the process of replacing your passport)