Adventures in passport renewing.


As you know from our to-do-in-2015 list, Kevin and I are planning to embark on an adventure in Europe.  Our preliminary plan is mid-April – Amsterdam, Bruges, and Paris.

Chapter 1 of the travel prep has a working title: “How to Make the Passport Renewal Process as Complicated as Possible.”

Before I can travel abroad, I need a new passport as my current one:
a) claims me under my maiden name.
b) is full of stamps.
c) has a horrid picture.

Speaking of horrid passport pictures, I was in Walgreens a few weeks ago and decided it was as good a time as any to get a passport picture.  It wasn’t until I had purchased said picture that I realized the lighting in Walgreens did nothing to enhance the beautifulness that is me with a greasy ponytail and no makeup.  So to the question am I more frugal or vain…let’s just say vanity won that battle and I bought another picture at a later – better hair and skin camouflaged – date.

Fresh, decent passport picture in hand, I completed the passport renewal/name change application and bribed Kevin to duck into the County Clerk’s office on his lunch break to obtain a certified copy of the marriage license.  Packet complete, I went to the post office and within 10 minutes had it sealed, stamped, and sorted for delivery.  Leaving the post office I thought to myself, rather smugly, “That wasn’t so painful.”

As I unlocked the door to my office at work thirty minutes later, it struck me like a lightening bolt – the Department of State likes to get PAID for their time and trouble.  The reason the renewal felt painless was because I hadn’t written a check for $110 to send with the application.  Back to the post office with me.  The lovely postpeople were very accommodating and produced my packet from the outgoing bin after I presented my receipt.

All’s well that ends with a passport.

Have you traveled to Paris, Bruges, and/or Amsterdam?  Do share any must-see-and-do tips!

I’m linking up with my pal, Miriam, who knows about international travel – she’s from Germany and lives in Canada!

Farm Girl


19 thoughts on “Adventures in passport renewing.

  1. Just stopping by from the link-up and I love your blog! I totally know how much of a pain getting a new passport can be. It seems to be that way with any official federal/state documents actually. Glad you remembered the check though! :)

    I’ve never been to Europe (except for Germany when I was 3) but my husband and I plan to make a long trip there hopefully sometime in 2016. We are going to Costa Rica this year and can’t wait!

  2. The one thing I tell everyone about Paris is when you are out and about and want to grab a coffee somewhere or a spontaneous place to eat, look around the windows of the restaurant (usually by the door) there should be some flags in the window. If there is a British flag in the window, it means that they speak English. It was kismet that we figured this out the first night, but it really helped us throughout our trip (even though I did learn basic French phrases).

  3. I just got my passport with my married name earlier this month! My picture was terrible but I didn’t want to pay $12 to do it over. Surprisingly it was processed super quickly, a bit over 2 week but that was over Christmas/New Years Holiday too! I’m so jealous of your trip. I adore Paris. My husband and I went to Lyon, Paris, Ghent, Antwerp & Brussels in 2013. I have posts on all of that :)

  4. I am so excited for you (and a little envious of) your adventures!! And I would totally get a new passport picture if my first one was unflattering. In fact, I’d keep on trying until I got it right!! :)

  5. Eek that sounds like such a fun trip!! :) I have no Europe experience yet so no advice here but can’t wait to see how the planning goes! I got my picture done at the post office…poor lighting there too but I had to get it done quickly because my trip was only 3 months away!

  6. Thanks so much for linking up my friend! You rock! Great save with that check :-)
    As to picture do-overs: you will be forever grateful that you did that. I once had the most horrific passport photo (don’t believe me? check it:, and the border guy laughed out loud when he saw it. True story! But in his defense, it was an awful picture.
    You will have so much fun!! I have been to Paris a few times (but not in the last 17 years) and to Amsterdam once, and want to go back to both cities. They are incredible! Never been to Bruges though! Can’t wait to see all your pictures and follow along on your adventures!

  7. UMM you should go in March because I will be in both Amsterdam and Paris! How hilarious would it be if we couldn’t meet in our own dang country but have to go to Europe to do it?! hahaha

    PS – I totally support the photo mulligan.

  8. I’m so excited to hear about your travels, and travel vicariously through you :-) Also, I would have made the same photo decision haha. We had to renew mine really last minute when we booked a spontaneous trip to Mexico, so I didn’t have time for a photo redo, but I’m practically counting down the days until it expires!

  9. I’ve actually never been to any of those places (or outside of the good ole US for that matter), but I would love too someday! My first picks have always been New Zealand and Germany! So much beauty, culture, and history! I hope you guys have an amazing time and be safe!!

  10. That’s fun your old passport is full of stamps. Mine is not even sort of close to being full. I only have 1 stamp! The passport process is usually terrible, and even if you forgot the check, it still seemed like 10 minutes is an insanely low amount of time. I stood in line for close to 50 minutes for mine. It was crazy.

  11. My husband and I have to renew our passports this year as well! Lucky for him he gets the simple renewal, but like you, I have to change mine to my married name, so paperwork galore is awaiting me :(

  12. Oh passport woes! Ugh. I feel ya!! I had my passport picture taken when I was 14 or so, and the person taking it was like “You’re not supposed to smile!” haha. So I had to retake the picture and it was just awkward!

  13. I had my passport picture taken when I was in middle school, and let’s just say that most days I like to pretend that middle school didn’t exist. I just redid my license picture too. That one’s always a mess. I seriously don’t trust people who look good in their license pictures!

  14. How fun! I’m so glad to hear you all are planning this euro-trip, i’m mostly looking forward to hearing all your stories! One thing we would highly suggest is trying out an airbnb, we were so impressed with these, great for cultural submersion too. Not so impressed with the hotels. I’d be more than happy to chat with you more about this if you guys think you’ll be interested. :D

  15. wanna know a secret? i still haven’t legally changed my maiden name. we think about it, but then we need the passport or file taxes or renew the car or something else comes up. it’s definitely on the to-do before the babe arrives though (not to mention it complicates things at the hospital/airport/etc — people wondering why my husband has a different last name). as far as travel – i’ve been to amsterdam and paris, but it was so long ago, and on such a teeny tiny student budget, that i’m not much help. also, i always think the best thing of all is exploring without a plan and just soaking it in :)

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