Subject: Passports (was: Best use of frequent flyer points)
Hi Gregory,

You mentioned that more people than you'd ever realize find themselves having to travel at the last minute due to attending a funeral or visiting a loved one in the hospital.

>From my experience working at the government Consular Affairs office, I know that the above is true. And for this reason, I would advise anybody who has relatives in another country to KEEP THEIR PASSPORT UP TO DATE. Every week we get calls - especially over the weekend - from people whose passport has expired and they need to travel abroad urgently because a relative has died or is dying. (Worse yet is when they also need a visa for the country they need to travel to.) In many cases, nothing can be done for the person, often because they don't have the necessary document in order to apply for a passport (usually because it was lost or stolen many months prior). The best way to avoid not being able to travel for a family emergency is to always have a valid passport (as well as the documents required for obtaining a new passport).

Another thing to keep in mind is that most countries require that the visitor's passport be valid for at least 6 months after you leave their country.

Laurie in Ottawa