Travel Advice: Check passports before you book holidays

January is good time to think about getting prepared prior to planning your 2017 trips

Last year was incredibly busy in the Passport Office, with substantial extra requests following Brexit. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Last year was incredibly busy in the Passport Office, with substantial extra requests following Brexit. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

January is the busiest month of the year for booking holidays, but it is also a good time to think about getting prepared. First things first, check everyone’s passport before you book holidays. Last year was incredibly busy in the Passport Office, with substantial extra requests following Brexit.

You can use the new Passport Card in all the EU countries. Download the app and order it from your smartphone. It arrives in days.

If you do not have a passport, the rules have changed somewhat this year. From March 29th, if you are over 18 and never had a passport, you must have a Public Services Card before you can apply for one.

This will also apply to anyone who has had a lost, stolen or damaged passport issued since January 2005. Everyone needs a passport if they are travelling abroad – no exceptions for infants or children.

Embassies and consulates

After buying your holiday, make sure to have travel insurance. Trips that have to be cancelled or disrupted are not covered unless you have insurance in place. Take out or renew travel insurance in plenty of time. Renew your European Health Insurance Card (Ehic.ie).

If you need assistance at airports or on board flights, arrange it well in advance. If you are bringing a wheelchair you need to let the airline know. Some electric wheelchairs may not be carried.

The same with special meals, order well in advance to ensure you receive them. Check the airline guidelines on baggage sizes before you travel. Cabin baggage is not standard and varies from airline to airline. Baggage costs go up in the summer.

Jscales@irishtimes.com

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