YOU HAVE ENTERED THE PASSPORT ZONE
Our passports expire today, June 3, 2013. How do I know this? I marked it on our 2013 "cabin in the woods" calendar in big red letters back in January. Then thought, maybe we can squeeze in one more trip before they expire. Another stamp in our passports. The wheels were in motion- we were going to Ireland.
I bought airline tickets St. Valentines Day for travel in May. The countdown was on: 81 days. The next week I bought a couple guidebooks, a map, and some well worn boots. I actually found the boots on the street corner, they fit, so I was set. Well, I had to buy laces. Croagh Patrick here we climb!
April Fools Day I posted my first blog, reserved a car, and booked our first 3 nights in Dublin. 36 days and counting.
On April 14th, I came across an article in the Oregonian's travel section about an expired passport. Someone had written in that they were to travel in April, her passport would expire in October, but was held up in a dimension known as The Passport Zone. A random gap between your date of travel and the expiration date of your passport.
I didn't panic, but the clock was ticking-22 days. I checked websites: The State Department, KLM, Aer Lingus, Dublin pubs. All of them seemed to use words like recommend, endorse, advise but not "require". I checked the expiration date again on our passport, sure enough, June 3, 2013.
What to do? We could go on our merry way and hope no one notices. We could cancel the trip. Or we could start panicking.
I liked option one, just play dumb. Option two was definitely out. The third option seemed the most reasonable. Hali went with option three. We drove downtown to get our pictures taken. That Monday we FedEx our "almost expired" passports, paperwork, and a check to Philadelphia to get new passports expedited. We should have our new passports within 14 days.
In the mean time, planning continued. We'll have our new documents any day now. April 30th came and went. No passports. 7 days.
May first, Mayday, arrived and with it, a clump of flowers from my neighbor holding down a thin FedEx envelope. They're here! We're going to Ireland! With just about a week to spare, we now have 10 more years of travel.
So, unofficially, I recommend, endorse, advise renewing your passports within 6 months of the expiration date. Otherwise, you might find yourself stuck in, The Passport Zone...