Tips for Traveling Abroad- Passports

Eat, Paint, Cook Tour of Tuscany!

It’s time to begin the fun of anticipating our upcoming adventure.  In today’s blog I have some important tips that might surprise even seasoned travelers regarding passports, credit cards and how to keep track of paperwork and documents while traveling.  All of these will help you get ready to GO.

Anticipation of a big trip is part fun and part challenge.  While I look forward to going, there is a lot to think about in order to get ready.  I have a checklist which ideally begins about 7 months prior my trip.

First on the list:  Check my Passport!
Mine is due to expire in about 9 months.  Even though it will expire after I return, I need to renew now.


  • News Flash!  If your passport expires 6 months from your date of entry, you may be prevented from traveling abroad!  In fact, most countries require that a passport be valid for at least 6 months beyond the completion of a trip. Check your passport early and renew well in advance to avoid trouble getting on the plane.

Renewing a passport is no big deal…It will give you the chance to take a good photo instead of settling for that old one taken 10 years ago on a day you forgot to wear lipstick. 😉


Renew Your passport by Mail if All of the Following are True

Your Most Recent U.S. Passport:

  • Is undamaged and can be submitted with your application;
  • Was issued when you were age 16 or older;
  • Was issued within the last 15 years; and
  • Was issued in your current name or you can legally document your name change with original or certified copy of your marriage certificate or the government-issued document evidencing your legal name change.

Be aware that there are lots of “agencies” online to help you get passports and give assistance.  They often charge for the privilege of their help, so I make sure to only deal with US government run sites.  That way you avoid paying the middleman.

For more passport info you can visit:

Keeping track of your passport, travel documents and cards is also important while traveling. Here are some tips that have helped me stay together and organized.

  • Make a photocopy of your cards, passport and ID before you leave and put them in your carry-on.  When you arrive at the hotel, put them in the safe so you have access to information in the event of theft.
  • Contact  credit card companies before you leave to tell them the dates and places you’ll be traveling abroad.  It avoids fraud protection issues that can impact your ability to use the cards while traveling.  (God forbid we can’t spend money!)
  • Check to see if your card charges foreign transaction fees.  Ask your credit card representative.  If you will be charged fees,  think about getting a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.  Barclay and also Bank of America both offer them.
  • Bring medical insurance cards and your healthcare savings credit card if you have one.
  • Always keep your passport in your hand…do not set it down or let it go out of your sight with employees of any restaurant or rental companies.  Hotels sometimes keep your passport on tours, and though this really bothers me, I will cooperate if they insist. .
  • Consider money belts or bra-wallets to increase the safety of your cash, cards and identification.
  • Keep your paperwork together and secure:  I generally make a manila envelope as my travel file.  I keep my boarding pass there, and I put copies of my itinerary there and any travel emails sent to me by my carriers or travel companions.  That way I have one place to look when I want to refer to travel arrangements.  I keep this with me while I travel in my carry-on.  I also make a copy for my husband to keep at home if he’s not traveling with me.
“A Whole Lot Going On Upstairs” Watercolor Diptych of Siena, Italy Rooftops



The Bells of San Fedele- Watercolor by Rebecca Zdybel

Watercolor and Ink on Paper Rebecca Zdybel
If you have travel tips to share, please leave your comments below.  I love hearing your ideas!Rebecca Zdybel
Artist, Instructor, Art-Travel Instructor
Art Lessons in all media
Myrtle Beach, SC
rebecca@rebeccazartist.comSpread Light, Share Love, DO Art!


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Author Rebecca Zdybel

Artist, Instructor, Art-Travel Instructor - Spread Light, Share Love, DO Art! Rebecca Z Artist (Rebecca Zdybel) is an artist and instructor in Myrtle Beach, SC. She blogs and teaches locally and internationally. Sign up for her blog, classes, workshops, art travel tours, or see her work at

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