Passport Delays

The Countdown Begins: How to Keep Passport Delays from Affecting Your Travel Plans

Travel for 2022 is on everyone’s mind. At Life is Better Traveling we have seen an increase in inquiries for Spring Break 2022. If you are thinking of taking that Spring Break trip, we recommend checking your passport now. If it has expired, or will expire by September 2022, it must get renewed. But the delays!!

Here are some of the most recently asked questions we get so I thought I would share this valuable information with you.

How soon should I be planning ahead for travel?

If you need a passport, you should not be planning travel for closer in than 18 weeks. 24 weeks is the current waiting time for any passport activity, so we echo better err on the side of conservatism.

If you plan to travel before the summer of 2022, I strongly recommend that you get your passport applications submitted NOW. If you want the best deals and best flights available, you should be looking at six months to a year in advance. Last-minute travel has very limited availability, and you must be very flexible, especially if you are looking at traveling over Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Why is passport processing delayed right now?

It all boils down to health being tantamount. The offices were closed during COVID and are still not operating at 100%. This led to a backlog in requests. Labor in every field has been impacted from the pandemic, and the Department of State is no exception. There’s only so much each person can do, which leads to a ripple effect of consequential delays.

Why is it important to have a valid passport?

Quite simply, because you can’t leave or enter the country without one. Especially as international travel tightens due to current circumstances, having buttoned-up credentials as to your identity and citizenship can only be an additional safety net. If you try to use an expired passport, you will be turned away at the airport. There are no exceptions.

Can you still book international travel without a passport?

While you can ‘book’ travel without a passport, it must be valid upon departure. The names and dates of birth must also match. So advisors can go ahead and close that sale, but should emphasize strongly that whether booked or not, you can’t travel without valid documentation.

Does travel insurance and Travel Protection Plus cover passport-related cancellations or if you are turned away due to an invalid passport?

The short answer is no.

How long should one’s passport be valid for?

Passports are automatically assigned or renewed for ten years at a time. However, bear in mind that for many destinations, your passport cannot expire outside of six months of your travel date. That means if you’re planning on traveling in December and your passport expires that same month, you may face issues returning home since it needs to be valid through June, which is six months after.

How do you submit a passport application?

The U.S. Department of State offers several options to apply for a passport, much of which can now be conveniently done from home. Your first step is to fill out the appropriate form, choosing from new applications, renewals, data corrections, or to replace a lost or stolen passport. Then you’ll need to gather your citizenship documents and get a passport photo taken and printed for submission. Be sure that it’s unfiltered, in color, not a selfie, against a white background, and that eyeglasses are removed, or it will not be accepted. You can view examples here.

What is the best path to getting a passport?

Life is Better Traveling recommends doing it all through your local post office and being prepared when you arrive. Go to and print out the full application ahead of time so that it’s completed prior to your appointment. The post office can actually do the pictures and your application all at once and they will go through your paperwork to confirm that everything is filled out correctly. However, most post offices now require appointments, so be sure to plan ahead and make one!

What is the cost of a passport?

Passport fees vary, and expediting tacks on additional costs. A fee calculator and fee chart are available through the Department of State. First-timers who are 16 or older must pay an additional $35 on top of the $110 or $140 application fee that is standard. Passports for those under 16 cost less. And if you’re in a hurry, special services such as expediting may cost upwards of $60—another reason to get ahead of it.

Remember, Life is Better Traveling is always here to help you. We are a female owned, small business and every booking helps a local family. We thank you for your support and thinking of all of our agents during this time.

What is the third letter of the alphabet?


You need THIS app for international travel!

Don’t leave home without downloading this app… 


One of the main bottlenecks when coming back into the United States after international travel is getting through Customs.  Filling out forms on the plane, waiting in long lines, and answering a bunch of questions about your recent trip is tiring.  What if I told you there is now a way to do most of this through an app?  Would you download a simple app to your phone if it could save you time getting through customs?  I know I would. 


The Mobile Passport Control app is an app that can do just that, help you get through the whole process more quickly.  All you have to do is download the app to one of your smart devices, i.e. tablet or phone.  Once you download the app, create a profile with your passport information including name, gender, date of birth, and country of citizenship.  Once you have this set-up, you are ready to use the app on your next international trip. 



How do you use the app when coming back into the US?  It is actually quite simple.  Select “New Trip” in the app.  In your new trip you will put in your arrival airport, airline, take a self-photo, and answer the series of CBP inspection related questions.  Note: only select airports are participating currently visit for the full list of airports.  Once you have Wi-Fi or data available to you, submit your information and you will receive a receipt with your encrypted quick response code or QR code. 


When you get to the CBP officer they will scan the code and verify your information. 

No more filling out forms on the plane and answering a ton of questions with the CBP officer.  You are doing all the administrative tasks in advanced which helps reduce passport control inspection time and, therefore, overall wait times.  You will still have to go through the line, no skipping the line, but this will dramatically decrease the amount of time you are waiting. 


If you are traveling with your family, great news!  You can add up to 12 profiles for a single household and submit only once for those 12 people.  This helps out families who are traveling with little kids because you can easily do this on the plane, submit once you get off the plane, and get through CPB quickly. 


Currently this app is only available to United States and Canadian citizens.  Eligible travelers can download the Mobile Passport app from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.  After all, Life is Better Traveling when making it easier for you. 

Fill out the form below to get started planning your next European Vacation.  Looking for a motor coach tour, self-drive, or private tour, we can easily put together the perfect European vacation for you and your family’s needs. 

When you book your vacation with a member of the Life is Better Traveling Team, you are supporting local families and business.  Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the past 4 years, we have become an AMAZING travel agency due to your support!

Please understand we get several requests per day for European vacations. We provide experiences for our clients that provide a lot of value. If you are looking for a budget vacation, that is NOT us.


Passport Card vs. Passport Booklet

Passport Card vs. Passport Book

Which one is better?

I recently read an article on Facebook about a lady whose daughter booked her and four of her friends on a week-long vacation to Turks and Caicos.  The daughter booked everything through an Online Travel Agency (OTA), which I will not name, but an OTA is Expedia, Travelocity, or  The ladies were excited, all packed, ready to go, and at the airport the lady whose daughter booked the trip was denied boarding.  She had a passport card instead of a passport book.  She could not get through to the OTA so she called a local travel agency and one of their travel agents told her what to do so she could get to Turks and Caicos.

So why couldn’t she board with a Passport Card?  According the U.S. Department of State, a passport card can be used to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at, here is the big red flag, land border or sea ports-of-entry only.  The passport card cannot be used for international travel by air.  As this lady was flying to Turks and Caicos she was required to have a passport book.

Picture from Pixabay

So why is there a passport card?  The passport card is very convenient to have as it is the size of a driver’s license and can easily be carried around in your wallet.  It is much less expensive than getting or renewing a passport book.  The passport card also contains an RFID chip that according to the U.S. Department of State does not contain any personal information.  When the chip is read, it “points” to your secured information in one of the government databases.  Border Patrol can then access your information and photo identification.  Each card comes with an RFID blocking sleeve, just in case.

If you plan on crossing the Mexican or Canadian border often, a perk of having the passport card is that you can go through Ready Lanes.  These are certain lanes at the border that can expedite inspection when you are crossing the border.  Not all ports of entry have these lanes, but if you are interested in learning which ones have these Ready Lanes you can visit

If you are an avid cruiser and leave from ports of call in the US, then having a passport card is a convenience.  But next time you are flying out of the US, please keep in mind to grab that passport book on the way out of the house so you don’t get denied boarding at the airport.  Having the wrong identification will surly have you starting your vacation off on the wrong foot, and could cause delays in getting you to your destination. 

If you have any questions about photo identification for travel, please contact me with any questions or visit

NOTE: Life is Better Traveling always recommends a Passport Booklet even when cruising out of a US port.  Why?  If something were to happen and you were left behind on the island, you would need a passport booklet to return back into the states.  The Passport booklet is just a few dollars more, and is good for 10 years, so we always recommend getting a passport booklet. 


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