International Travel Tips & Tools
Who Needs a Passport?
Since September 11, 2001, passport regulations have changed dramatically and will continue to change as circumstances require. The following information is provided as a guideline. Check with your travel agent and the Transportation Security Administration prior to scheduling your trip, to ensure you have sufficient time to acquire the necessary travel documents.
A U.S. Passport identifies you as a citizen or national of this country and is a request for you to temporarily travel or reside in a foreign country. It allows the passport holder access to U.S. Consuls and Embassies worldwide and provides authorization to re-enter the United States.
U.S. citizens and nationals who should have a current U.S. passport in their possession are:
- Individuals who will be living or traveling in a foreign country
- Individuals who have family members who live or travel in a foreign country
- Individuals whose employment requires them to live, work, or travel to a foreign country
Individuals who are traveling internationally by air are required to possess a U.S. Passport Book. Those who intend only to travel to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and/or the Caribbean, need only apply for the more convenient and less expensive U.S. Passport Card.
Individuals must apply for a passport by filling out the "Application for a U.S. Passport." To obtain an application, go to the U.S. State Department's website, and follow the links for passports. Members of AAA may obtain an application, as well as have passport photos taken, at their AAA Travel Office.
When submitting your application, you must present identification that provides:
- Confirmation that are a U.S. citizen or national*
- Confirmation of your identity*
- Two current color photos
- Fee (visit the U.S. State Department website for current fee information)
*There are specific guidelines for passport applications for children under the age of 16. Consult the U.S. State Department's website for specifics.
Individuals who are renewing or have an expired passport, may submit their previous passport as proof of identification; doing so, may allow a quicker processing time. For more information on renewing a passport and processing times, refer to the U.S. State Department's travel website.
For more information on passports, visit the U.S. State Department's website. For frequently asked questions, visit their FAQ page. You may also visit the U.S. Postal Service website, click on "Locate a Post Office," then choose one of the options provided for additional information on passport locations.
The information just provided is subject to change at any moment. Therefore, to ensure that you are provided with the most up-to-date and accurate information on these passport procedures, please visit the U.S. State Department's travel website
Passport Acceptance Offices
The following is a list of 23 Post Offices in the Hampton Roads area that can process passport applications and provide up-to-date information on passport acceptance procedures. Customers may call (800) 275-8777 to reach any of these offices.
Hampton & Newport News
When applying for a passport, you must provide two (2) current color photos. Passport photos may be taken at any of the Hampton Roads Post Offices listed above, except where noted. AAA members may have their passport photos taken at their AAA Travel Office; depending on the level of membership, there may be a small charge.
When applying for a U.S. Passport, you may apply in person or through the mail. Applying in person is a bit more expensive, as you must pay an "Execution Fee;" however, to apply by mail, you must meet certain qualifications. Passport prices and other pricing information can be found at the U.S. State Department's travel website.
International Driving Permit
When traveling overseas, carry an International Driving Permit--even if you're not planning to drive. Should you need to communicate with foreign authorities, this recognizable form of identification can help you get on your way more quickly.
Valid in over 150 countries, the permit contains your name, photo and driver information translated into ten languages.
In order to receive your IDP (International Driving Permit), there are several things you need to know first:
- Applicant must be at least 18 years of age.
- Applicant must hold a current U.S. driver's license that is not under revocation or suspension and is valid at the time the IDP/IADP is issued.
- You must have 2 original passport size-photos, which may be taken and purchased at any AAA location.
- Download International Driving Permit Application »
- The cost to acquire an IDP is $15.
An International Driving Permit is valid for one year from the effective date provided that your state license is valid. Your state license should accompany your permit at all times. You may apply for an IDP at any AAA location.
Inter-American Driving Permit
Brazil and Uruguay are the only countries that require the IADP (Inter-American Driving Permit). All other countries accept the IDP.
Paying for products and services when traveling outside the country can cause inconvenience and extra costs unless you have local currency. Carrying local currency ensures that you are able to pay easily and with the knowledge that you have not been charged additional costs.
For your convenience, AAA now offers Foreign Currency Banknotes and Travelex CashPax™.
- Arrive with local currency for taxis, tips and a bite-to-eat.
- Become familiar with local banknotes and coins before departure.
- Spend less time standing in airport foreign currency queues.
Aim to arrive at your destination ready for anything with local currency in hand. AAA has the right mix of products available to you! Click here to learn more »
AAA Travel Money
Always ensure you have sufficient money in your possession to cover any expenses; not all businesses accept checks or credit cards. Small change may be required for bridge or road tolls.
Traveler's cheques are a convenient way and more secure way to carry larger amounts of money and they are accepted by most businesses and banks. They can be purchased through most banks as well as your AAA travel office.
AAA also offers a convenient VISA® TravelMoney Card. You can pre-load as little as $100 or as much as $9,999, then use it as you would any VISA® credit card. It is convenient, makes your trip budge easier to manage, and if it is lost, it is PIN protected. For more information about this service, visit the AAA Travel Money page, or contact your AAA office.
International Travel Tips
- Make sure you have all of your required documents (Passport, VISA, IDP, etc.)
- Check the weather at your destination prior to departure and pack accordingly.
- Pack extra underwear, socks and clothing in your carry-on—just in case your checked luggage gets lost.
- Mark your luggage with a ribbon, tape or sticker for quick identification.
- Always check with your airline a few days prior to departure to ensure there have been no changes.
- Pack enough prescription and over-the-counter medications for the amount of time you will be gone. Most other countries do not use or sell the same over-the-counter or prescription medications that are used in the United States; this includes many brand name pain relievers.
- To help you deal with jet-lag, drink plenty of water and limit your intake of alcohol. Try to resume a normal routine (getting up and going to bed at your normal time) as soon as you arrive at your destination, as well as when you get back home. For example, if you normally go to bed at 10 p.m. and rise at 6 a.m., try to resume that schedule on local time as soon as you arrive.
- Beware of local water! Many countries do not have drinkable (potable) tap water; drink bottled water from a reliable source instead. This also applies to local fruits and vegetables, especially if they are served uncooked.
- Always carry your hotel's business card with you; it can be helpful if you get lost while you are out sight-seeing.