Step #1

If you want to travel abroad, you will need a valid passport! So before you get your hopes up about going to the Congo or Thailand, make sure you are prepared. If you want to plan a trip immediately, there are rush options but that can get really expensive.

Passports typically expire 10 years after the date of issue. However, if your current passport is from when you were age 15 (or younger), realize that it expires 5 years from the date of issue.

Remember to check the passport rules for your destination. Some governments will not allow you to travel to their country unless your passport will be valid not only for the duration of your stay in foreign land, but a certain time period after date of entry or date of departure (typical is 3 months or 6 months).

Also keep in mind, some countries are "sensitive" about where you've traveled previously. For example, some African and Middle Eastern countries will deny you entry if you have been stamped in Israel, in which case, you would have to apply for a new passport (since you can't cover up the stamps or rip out pages from your passport).

If you are a frequent traveler and have filled up all of your passport pages, you can add extra passport pages. In South Africa, they require at least two blank stamping pages so you may need to order the extra pages.

Happy traveling!