Late last week, the U.S. Department of State updated its processing time for passports, pushing the time it takes to get an expedited passport renewal from three to five weeks to five to seven weeks. Standard renewal is now at eight to 11 weeks, instead of six to nine weeks previously.
For reference, processing time begins the day the State dept. receives the application at an agency or center, not the day that the passport is mailed. That means that processing time for those using the mail might have several weeks added on to the door-to-door time it takes to get a new passport.
Those who are traveling with less time to spare are able to schedule an in-person appointment at a regional passport agency in order to expedite the process. Those appointments can be scheduled only via a phone call and only within 2 weeks of the travel date. Applicants will be required to provide proof of travel when making the appointment.
Processing time typically reflects the demand for passport renewal—more applicants means a longer processing time for the State Dept. The new, current time ranges for renewal are the same as they were last summer. — TravelMarket Report, February 27, 2023
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Spring Break seems to have snuck up on me…you? So in between planning all these fab trips for my clients, I am also trying to plan my own! (You know the one about the Interior Designer who never has time to design their own house…🙋🏻♀️). As I was prepping my plans, I thought I might share with you some travel tips to prep your own.
1. Double, Triple, Quadruple check all of your documents. Even your amazing travel agent sometimes misses things (not often!), so it is really important to make sure everyone’s names are spelled correctly, DOBs are accurate, transfers correlate with planes and trains, activities and tours are scheduled for the right dates. Do you have all the vouchers and tickets you need for your trip? Everyone has current passports? Everyone has a passport, right? Do you have some of the local currency on you? What about credit cards? ***I keep a clear letter-sized envelope with me when I travel to keep all my printed docs in and to throw in things like receipts or important docs I pick up along the way. Try These.
2. Print all the things. I know it is the age of AI, but it does let us down sometimes and usually in the most inopportune moments. It sounds crazy, but print things out like boarding passes, train tickets, museum tickets, tour vouchers, trip insurance phone numbers, and plan numbers. We all have great intentions to keep our phones fully charged, but big cities and long travel times drain batteries. Try This.
3. Speaking of chargers…do you have the proper converter for your electronics? Honestly, I have not had to use my converter much anymore because most international hotels and resorts have become very accommodating to American travelers. Really though, it depends on where you are headed and how many things you need to charge. It is nice to have an extra just in case because you really never know if you might need it. It’s a better safe than sorry item! Of course, apple has a great set, for $75++. I actually love this block one I have. It is easy to throw in your bag, and you don’t have to think about which ones to bring. Love This. Traveling to Africa? Try This One.
4. Something I like to do on my phone is organize my apps. I have a “Travel” app section where I have all things travel-related. I keep in there the Translator, Currency Conversion, Airlines, Trains, Ride Shares, Hotel Loyalty, and Restaurant Reservation Manager apps. When I am traveling I sometimes create an app folder specific to those destinations. For example, I am visiting London for Spring Break. I have in that folder my Delta, Virgin Atlantic, Bonvoy, TFL Oyster, Currency and Translator app (😆). Specific destinations sometimes require specific apps that you do not necessarily want to keep on your phone, but you need them in the moment and where they will be easy to find. Contactless Transportation, Tickets for Events and Activities, Hotel check-ins…the name of the game is quick and easy. (I don’t have a link for that.)
5. Part of the reason you hire me to assist in your travel planning is to make sure all the things are done before you get there. If you haven’t done all the things with me, make sure you have in place: a transfer from airport to your hotel, tickets for museums (most require advanced ticket purchases that are timed and dated), public transportation cards, and dining reservations.
6. Complete any Travel Ready forms the airline is requesting. It is tricky when you travel with minors because in most instances, you have to physically check in with them in tow. But complete as many forms as possible on-line so you don’t have to mess with it too much at the airport. Remember to select your seats in advance and check-in online 24-hours prior to your departure so they know you are coming and don’t give your seat away.
7. I do confirm all of my bookings prior to your arrival- including your transfers. But I always encourage my clients to call as well, especially when in-Destination. Call 24-hours prior to your transportation pick-up time to confirm services. Make sure you have your transportation company’s phone number on hand in case you are stuck on the tarmac (it happens a lot!) so they do not leave you! If you reaaallllyy want that upgrade or connecting rooms, call the hotel yourself the night before and ask- it helps!
8. Make sure you have downloaded all the movies and shows you want to watch on that long-haul flight. Noise Cancelling Headphones? (Try These or These or These…also do you have This?) Ear Plugs? (Old SkoolNew Skool) Eye Mask? (This is my fave) Travel Pillow? (Haven’t found one I like yet. Do you use one you love?) Foot Rest? (Only if you are going Main Cabin) Travel Scarf that doubles as a blanket? (Sometimes I use these if traveling to somewhere warm) Compression Socks? (These are fun!) I also like to throw in some Liquid IV packets with the Vitamin C and Zinc, and a face mask or two to keep my skin hydrated. And, also doesn’t hurt to have a few health-related face masks as well. Even though most countries have dropped all restrictions and regulations around COVID vaccines and the use of face masks, there’s always the one-off store or bus or random small airport that might require them, and unlike the US, they may not have the funds to provide or offer them to you.
9. Do you know what the meal situation is on your flight? Mine doesn’t look so good. Can you purchase items on the flight? Can you access your airline club lounge? Starbucks (Delta points) or other Grab-n-Go spots after security? Sometimes airlines will allow for meal selection prior to your flight depending on how far you are traveling, and there may be a Kid’s Menu option. I like to buy a bottle of water after Security to have with me on the plane so I don’t have to wait for the flight attendants- tho I have noticed many airports offer filtered water refill stations now, so an empty water bottle can also be a good idea. Snacks are generally ok to bring through security but remember not all things not all things will clear through TSA.
10. Speaking of Clear…do you have your TSA and/or Global Entry ready and on all your boarding passes?
Have you been prepping your immune system for your travel?
Masks are now optional in most modes of transportation and destinations, but that doesn’t mean your immunity still won’t be affected! My friend, Dr. Meg Landis, who also happens to be a double board certified Doctor of Naturopathy/ND, . Dr. Meg practices proactive and personalized medicine, based out of Las Vegas, but she also works with patients all over the world via Telehealth.
Dr. Meg put together a list of Healthy Travel Tips to get us prepped for our big trip.
Looking for the most 5-star experience in Anaheim, California? Look no further than the Westin Anaheim. Located directly across the way from California Adventure, the Westin Anaheim provides a backdrop for coveted park view rooms and fireworks displays.
Pull into serenity off of Katella Ave. (if you know, you know), and immediately, you know you are in the right place. A regal structure beckons you with a fab lobby bar, impressive breakfast buffet, Heavenly beds with soaking tubs, and a rooftop bar with views. I mean, how could you not?
On the corner of the entrances, you will find Blossom for coffee, light bites, and a gift shop with unique clothing and souvin-ear options, and Puesto, one of the more revered Mexican restaurants in the area. A little walk down also brings you to Fleming’s Steak House, with an outdoor patio and a perfect kid’s menu (and a lovely bar with a top-notch wine list and martinis).
Inside dining offers The Tangerine Cafe where that yummy breakfast buffet is held (they also have great menu items as well), and Rise Rooftop, which, offers a relaxed vibe with music and a drink and dining menu to lend to the magnificent views of the park. When you book the Westin Anaheim with RSMLVTravel, you will receive a complimentary breakfast buffet for 2, a $100 Resort Credit, and a possibility of early/late check-in/out.
Ready to book? Call me and we can discuss room configuration options that are right for you and your family. The Westin Anaheim offers all levels of room categories from Leading to Presidential Suites, connecting rooms, and main floor with patios, also Club Level options. There’s also a sweet family program to make your littles feel welcome.