What Happens When you Travel Without a Valid Passport..

It’s 5am on the morning on November 1, 2015 and we are literally the first ones at the airport.  We couldn’t be any more excited!  I cheerfully pull out our passports and boarding passes for the security attendant.  I feel like security attendants are one of two types-either long lost best friends or the crabbiest people ever known to mankind.  This person was the latter.  “Ma’am, your identifications do not match. I’m going to need a valid identification that matches your boarding pass or I cannot let you past this point.”

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Crap.  

 

Rewind approximately two years-Here’s us as happy newlyweds!
You see, I was told when honeymoon planning to NOT change my last name on my passport yet since all of my identifications would not yet have been changed at that point.  Well, that time came and went and while I got my name changed on all the other seemingly hundreds of documents, I completely forgot about my passport.

Our first destination was San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Thankfully, a U.S. citizen does not need a passport to travel between the two. Whew.  We’re in San Juan! (which, by the way, is absolutely amazing and highly recommended)

IMG_7476We had such a good time exploring all over Puerto Rico.  Greg and I laughed and joked about my not having a valid passport the entire time.  We knew that four days later when our boat was leaving for different territories I would most definitely need one.  (Of the six destinations, a valid passport was needed for FOUR-yikes!)

I tend to sometimes panic when something that is most likely minor but has a remote chance of being major happens.  Without thinking of any consequences of my poor choice of actions, I did the one thing most unreasonable, irrational people do….I turned to Google.  Of course, Google categorized this problem as life-altering. I would surely be held in a tiny nasty jail and never be allowed in the United States again. Bon Voyage, Greg!

Enter problem solving mode.  I planned to call my parents, ask them to drive three hours to our house, break in somehow, hunt down the marriage license, overnight it to us (in our hotel?) in Puerto Rico, and order would be reinstated.  Greg (figuratively) knocked some sense into me rather quickly.IMG_7553

With a smile and a tiny amount of explanation that I merely had not updated my last name on my passport since marriage, we were sailing away from one of the most beautiful places we’ve seen. Here are some things I learned through this silly ordeal (or lack thereof):

  • Plan properly for travel  (e.g. not waiting until 4am the morning of departure to grab the passports)
  • Don’t immediately panic when things go astray (I would totally be the first to hyperventilate in any stressful situation)
  • Most importantly, I learned to be flexible and to enjoy travelling for the sake of travelling.  We had been planning this trip for a few months, and I was really going to be sad if I didn’t make it on that boat.  However, spending even a second of our time in Puerto Rico worrying about my passport seems ridiculous in hindsight.  So what if we didn’t make it on the boat?  Who cares if I ended up in a nasty tiny jail?  Wait. I care. My poor Momma would worry herself to near death.

I would love to hear your travel mishaps, big or small!  Did they ruin your trip?  I encourage you to plan in advance for these mishaps-they are going to happen.  How you choose to adapt to them is entirely up to you!

 

Keep it kinetic,

Hillary

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