If you’re planning to study abroad, you’ll be surprised how fast your trip sneaks up on you! Someone once told me to do as many things to prepare for your study abroad trip as soon as possible. Taking time before your trip to purchase luggage, your plane ticket and making room accommodations for any other travel plans you may have while on your trip are great ways to be prepared for your trip all the while lessening the stress load before you have to leave. This advice helped me tremendously before my trip to London. As you prepare to plan and prepare for your study abroad trip, one of the very first things you’ll want to do is make sure you have a passport.

If you’re traveling for the first time out of the United States, like I was, or if you already have passport, the first thing you will want to do is make sure that your passport is valid or plan in advance to get a passport. If you do not already have a passport or you need to renew the passport that you already have, you are going to want to do this as soon as possible. For me, this was the first time I ever traveled outside the United States so I started from scratch.  During Christmas Break, I thought it would be the perfect time purchase my passport so I had plenty of time for it to be sent to me before my trip. Every passport requires specific measurements for your photo and stores like CVS and RiteAid are great locations that will take your picture for your passport and print them out for a good price. Depending on certain locations, your post office may complete the passport transaction entirely, however some do not. If your local post office does not offer to expedite the passport, your local city hall will most likely offer this service. When you go to get your passport, you’ll need three things:

  1. Birth Certificate or Social Security Card
  2. Form of ID
  3. Check; If you do not have a check book, you can get a cashiers check

The cost for a passport is approximately $110, but prices may vary. Approximately two to three weeks after I went to the Redondo City Hall to get my passport, I received my passport in the mail and I was ready for London!

Main Points / Tips

  1. Get your passport as soon as possible (December – January)
  2. CVS can take and print your passport picture (Good Price $)
  3. Find Local town hall that can expedite and process your passport
  • Bring a check; if you don’t have a check book, you can always get a cashiers check prior. Don’t forgot your Birth certificate or Social Security Card and a form of ID such as a driver’s license.
  1. They will send you back your Social Security Card or Birth Certificate back in the mail approximately a week after you purchased your passport.

Savannah Shapiro studied abroad in London, England, in Summer 2017: