The advent of the summer season brings schoolchildren, newly released from the confines of the classroom, ready to explore the outside world, make new friends, and enjoy new experiences. Summer is a time when families can reconnect, enjoy quality time together, and create lasting memories.
Modern parents now recognize the great benefits of bringing children along on summer travels, whether near or far. Elementary school-aged children are at a wonderful juncture to absorb the many and varied experiences which travel abroad provides. From vastly different cuisine to the richness of new climates and languages, children will recall the wonder of these new experiences for many years to come. High-schoolers may gain lasting impressions from the “culture shock” of many days immersed in locales without wireless Internet or familiar foods.
Increasingly complicated regulations for air travel can put a damper on plans to capture these fleeting summer days exploring new cultures as a family. In addition to the practical logistics of planning any journey, many parents remain unaware that passports must be obtained for each family member, including children of all ages, as well as infants. In addition, most parents are not aware that a very specific subset of regulations applies to obtaining passports for their children. Parents or a legal guardian must present valid evidence of a child’s US citizenship, present valid personal identification, provide evidence of parental relation or legal guardianship, and take a signed oath, in person, before an authorized passport agent. Further information pertaining to passports for minors are available for consumers on the US State Department website at www. travel.state.gov .
Once these required steps have been completed, a child’s passport is then subject to the standard federal processing time of 4-6 weeks. Utilizing a passport expediter while preparing for a family vacation can not only help speed along a lengthy “to do” list, it can ensure that the passport application and delivery process are supervised by qualified professionals. Travel Document Systems, Inc. Vice President, Dean Orbell, noted:
“Most parents don’t realize that stringent travel documentation requirements extend to the whole family, and are surprised when they learn that obtaining proper documentation for their young children can be a major roadblock to successful family vacations. We are delighted to assist so many customers annually with fulfilling their child passport needs.”
Travel experts highly recommend asking children to pitch in with trip planning. Helping to choose an itinerary, to pack their own bags, and to decide some of the daily activities can all positively engage children in their trip abroad. With preparation and qualified professional assistance, international vacations can be delightful for the whole family.