If you're traveling abroad this summer, these tips will ensure that you have a little blue book in hand before you take off.
Get The Facts Call the National Passport Information Center's toll-free number, (877) 487-2778. You can speak to a live operator weekdays 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PST). Also, visit www.travel.state.gov/passport.
Save Money You'll pay significantly less (just $55 to $80) if you apply for or renew a passport at least six to eight weeks in advance. Waiting until the last minute can cost you several hundred dollars. Also, AAA members can get passport photos for $6 ($4.25 in Utah) at most district offices.
Check The Expiration Date Many countries require that your passport be valid six months beyond the end of your trip.
Pay Attention To Details "You'd be surprised at how many people forget to sign their passport applications," says Kelly Shannon, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Consular Affairs.
This article was first published in March 2004. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.