Your bags are packed, check. Cell phone and charger, check. Clean underwear, check-ish. Passport, Che.. Wait! Are you sure? Before you make your journey abroad, we need to talk about some things!
Traveling the world is a rewarding and exciting part of touring. The ability to see things and meet people that you otherwise would have never dreamed of has life changing effects. With that being said, constant travel can take its toll on your perception of how things work. If you do not pay close attention to the details, you can end up sitting in a stateside airport while the rest of your crew travels to some far away, exotic location.
There are several different scenarios where you can make a mistake and prevent yourself from joining your crew for a show. Here is an example of an easy oversight in your travel preparations. The most important piece of equipment you will need to travel is a valid passport. A passport is a passbook validated by the State Department that identifies your name, nationality and right to protection while traveling. It also ensures your re-entry into your country of origin. Make sure you have it.
If you already have a passport then you are ahead of the game. But what happens when your globe trotting ways happen to fill all of the pages of your passport? When this becomes an issue, you can have pages added to your existing passport. There are different travel restrictions everywhere you go. Some places don’t allow you to enter without 2 fully blank Passport Visa pages. Even if you have traveled to a layover destination on the way, you may still be denied access to your international flight. This very scenario played out in my own life…
On my way to Johannesburg via Philadelphia I had a layover in Atlanta. When I arrived in Atlanta with my touring party we headed to our gate. At the gate the attendants were assigning seats for every passenger who had not received their assigned seat with their ticket. My seat was not assigned so I went to the desk to make the arrangements. Upon inspection of my passport the clerk informed me I would be unable to travel any further because of my lack of blank, valid Passport Visa pages. As it was, the pages that were blank in my passport were for amendments and were not valid for travel. The pages have to have “Visa” printed at the top to be valid for travel. The amendments pages are for name changes, additional pages or any other information that the US Department of State wishes to note in your passport. Unfortunately, I had to catch a flight back home that night. The next day I made an appointment to get pages added to my passport and followed suit. Problem solved (a little too late)!
So in closing, you should always feel the need to keep your travel documents up to date and ready for travel. A one-off may pop up in South Africa and you could be two blank Passport Visa pages away from an amazing trip!