Nate & I planned our trip to Bali about 8 months in advance. I had found cheap tickets ($800 roundtrip per person) flying out of LA & we bought them right away & spent many, many months excitedly planning & awaiting our trip. I had wanted to go to Bali for several years & was especially excited. When it finally came time to go on our trip we were more than just excited. Our inlaws drove us from San Diego to LAX & we were got there about 3 hours before our flight.
I remember thinking how cool it would be if they could upgrade us to first class since it was such a long flight. We tried to scan our passports at the do-it-yourself kiosk, but it said to go to the front desk. When we got up there, they took our bags & asked if we would like to sit next to each other. We said yes & they changed our seats. Then the scanned Nate's passport, all good. Then they scanned mine & then scanned it again & again. Then the lady helping us called the manager over. She explained to us that my passport would not let us travel to Indonesia. I looked at her like she was crazy. Of course I had made sure that my passport was not expired, it still had 4 months left until it was expired & we would only be in Bali for 2 1/2 weeks. We were then told that in order to travel to Indonesia, you must have a passport that is valid for 6 months or more. I was very frustrated that none of this was stated on the website when I was buying our tickets & I had put our passport information & expiration dates in when buying our tickets. I think that you should not be able to proceed to payment when your passport will not be valid for a trip! Or at least something should pop up to let you know!
There was nothing we could though. I could not believe it. We walked away in a daze & had no idea what we were going to do. It was evening time on a Friday & it was also a holiday on Monday so no passport offices would be open until Tuesday, 4 days away. We had already paid the places we would be staying at. I just felt sick & like we were in a bad dream.
We had to decide if we would just cancel our whole trip or try to make things work. I was all for making things work. So we called our inlaws & they turned around to pick us up. We stopped at Lemonade in LA & felt a tiny bit better as we ate there. Then we made the drive back to San Diego. It was a very long 4 days & I admit I was not very fun to be around as I was a mix of stressed & grumpy, not knowing if we would still be going on our trip & picturing where we should have been on our trip at that time.
Tuesday morning we were on a mission as Nate dropped me off at the passport office in San Diego an hour before it opened. There were already 2 other people in line & the line kept getting longer & longer so I was so glad I was there early. Then Nate ran down to the marriage license office, a few streets over & was able to get a copy of our marriage license (I needed to show that my last name had changed). When I was finally able to meet with someone at the passport office they were soooo friendly & everything went smoothly. They said that my passport could be ready within a few hours & I was soooo relieved. We did have to pay extra, but it was worth every penny!
Right after we left the office, I called the airline customer service & at first they were very rude & acted like we would need to pay around $2,000 extra. That was more than we could afford & I was almost in tears. Then I asked to be transferred to a manager & I was transferred to a very nice lady who let me change our flights to that night at midnight for $800 extra. It was worth it to us, so we made the change & then rushed to get down to the airport!
It was such a whirlwind, but we made it on the flight & I never felt better to be on a 15 hour flight! We landed in Taipei, Taiwan for a layover. Our flight from Taipei to Bali got delayed because of a storm for about an hour but then we finally made it on our next flight & landed in Bali! I will post more about our trip, but it was completely worth the stress & extra cost & ended up being the most amazing trip!!!!
The silver lining about all of this passport stress was that we were able to stay in Bali 3 weeks instead of 2 1/2 (it was much cheaper to fly back a few days later) & we appreciated every bit of our trip soooo much since it had been such a struggle to get there!
I also decided that I will never let my passport have less than a year left until it expires! If you are reading this, make sure that you look up information on how much time you need to have left on a passport in order to travel to a foreign country. I will post some of the dates below!
Website with countries that require 6 month passport validity:
**Many places require 3 months validity such as : Italy, Spain, Canada, & many other European countries.