Vent -- Why are passports so expensive??

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by momtosam, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. momtosam

    momtosam Oh, Schmootsie-poo!

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    I started looking into ideas for a summer vacation and was checking out cruises, until I realized all four of us would need passports and how expensive that would be. Why on Earth do they cost so much money? It's just another one of those government fees that hits the wallet of the average person too hard. :mad: because I want to be -----> :beach:
     
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  3. beansmom

    beansmom <font color=blue>Your dream eludes you? Don't you

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    because they're issued by the government and they CAN charge it.
     
  4. robin09

    robin09 DIS Veteran

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    I've been thinking the same thing.... especially since we live Upstate NEw York, close to Canada.. and now we can't go there. We are looking into the card that lets you drive into mexico and Canada.. and we can use on the cruise. THe only setback I can see is if an emergency comes up we can't fly out. BUT it is sooo much cheaper to do it this way for us, as we are a family of 3.
     
  5. punkin

    punkin <font color=purple>Went through pain just to look

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    They're good for 10 years (except the kids' passports). I don't think it's that bad.
     
  6. Manda513

    Manda513 Mouseketeer

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    If it is a closed loop cruise (one that returns to the same place it departs) then you do not need a passport. That being said if something God forbid happens you will have difficulty getting back into the states without one if you need to fly home for whatever reason.
     
  7. Duckyiam71

    Duckyiam71 DIS Veteran

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    I feel your pain. We are moving to Germany and have no choice but to pay the fee. Of course, we can get no fee passports but technically you can only go to Germany and that is it. But they are good for years and think of all the good memories. :rolleyes:
     
  8. Marionnette

    Marionnette <font color=deeppink>Wishing On A Star<br><font co

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    I got my first passport 6 years ago and it was one of the best investments I ever made. The kids had to renew their's last year because passports for minors are only good for 5 years.
     
  9. Chelley00

    Chelley00 DIS Veteran

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    DH and I got our 2 years ago, but this weekend I'm getting ready to shell out the $$$ for all 4 of our kids to get a passport for our summer vacation.

    When DH and I got ours I was appalled about how much they cost because I thought that would be the only time we'd use them, but this will be the third time they've been used, and we still have another 8 years to go. When you look at it that way, the cost is easier to take.
     
  10. sk!mom

    sk!mom DIS Veteran

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    I agree! Great investment and not that expensive when you consider how long they are good. Ours are staggered, DH and I had them before our kids, so DH and I renew at the same time but DD does not.
     
  11. allison443

    allison443 DIS Veteran

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    I agree!
     
  12. McKelly

    McKelly DIS Veteran

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    How much are they?
     
  13. MrsPete

    MrsPete DIS Veteran

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    I agree that they're grossly overpriced, and while IN THEORY they keep "the wrong people" from coming into the country, the reality is that they just keep honest people jumping through hoops. They're also outdated because they don't fit into a wallet nicely.

    I also can't buy into the idea that they're inexpensive because they're good for 10 years. How many times will you use that passport in the next 10 years? If -- like my husband -- you're going to travel for business and will use it several times a year, it's money well spent. Or, if you're a family who's going to travel on non-cruise vacations, you may NEED a passport for some destinations. On the other hand, if -- like my kids -- you're going to go on 1-2 cruises before your passport expires, then it's an expensive proposition.

    An analogy: Which is more expensive? The $15 dress that you wore once, or the $100 jeans that you wear twice a week for two years 'til they fall apart? Sure, the dress didn't cost much . . . but in the long run, given that it got so little use, it was a waste of money. A passport that sits in the safe for 9 years and 50 weeks of its 10 years is the same -- it's pretty expensive when you consider its "cost per use".


    Back to the OP:

    If you're looking at a typical Caribbean cruise that leaves and returns to Florida (or another American port), you can cruise with just a driver's license and a certified birth certificate (be sure it's a certified copy). Those documents will get you on and off the cruise ship without any problem. They don't take any more time, and they aren't any more inconvenient.

    Of course, the doom and gloom squad will warn you that 1) if you have an emergency and need to fly home halfway through your cruise, you can't do that from foreign soil without a passport. Of course, you couldn't fly home 'til you reached an island anyway, and that could be 2-3 days . . . and some of those islands are US soil. 2) if you were stupid enough to miss the ship at one of your port stops, it'd be both trouble and money to be able to get back to the US. Yes, these things could happen, but they are highly unlikely. Everything you do -- even driving to work each day -- entails some risk. You have to decide upon your personal comfort level.

    Another option: The passport card. This costs much less -- I want to say $20, but I'm not sure I'm right on that. It's a wallet-sized card, and it allows ground travel within North America; thus, you can use it really just for Mexico and Canada. However, it is more expensive than the birth certificate option, and it doesn't allow you to fly, so for this application it has no advantage over the birth certificate.
     
  14. Leajess99

    Leajess99 DIS Veteran

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    Thank you so much for this information. I was wanting to take my kids on a cruise but because of my ex and I being divorced, getting a passport for the younger 2 kids is not gonna happen. I was upset that we would never get to take a cruise but now I feel better knowing there is a chance still.
     
  15. ilovemk76

    ilovemk76 DIS Veteran

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    They are not expensive. They are the #1 form of ID in the world. You will be paying thousands to travel outsideof the country and find the cost of the passport to be prohibitive?

    The fee is set for all the investigation they do before they issue this form of ID. The person getting the passport is the one paying for the investigation. Do you want taxpayers to pay for the investigation so you can travel abroad?
     
  16. ilovemk76

    ilovemk76 DIS Veteran

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    I could be wrong but I believe you will need his permission to take them on a cruise.
     
  17. SandrA9810

    SandrA9810 DIS Veteran

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    You still need both parental permission before taking a child out of the country, that way one parent can't try to abduct a child to oversees.

    It is the most universal form of ID you can have, and ALWAYS accepted. Like when applying for a job, you can provide your passport or two other forms of ID. And of course it is good for 10 years.

    I've debated about getting one, while the upfront cost is a bit much, it's good to have.
     
  18. ExPirateShopGirl

    ExPirateShopGirl <font color=blue>My posts are sanitized for your p

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    Not every divorce situation requires the consent of BOTH parents to travel abroad if a child has a passport. By the same token, consent may be needed just to take a child out of state from the non custodial parent. Because laws and divorce agreements can vary so greatly, please don't offer generalized information.
     
  19. momtosam

    momtosam Oh, Schmootsie-poo!

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    Back to the OP:

    If you're looking at a typical Caribbean cruise that leaves and returns to Florida (or another American port), you can cruise with just a driver's license and a certified birth certificate (be sure it's a certified copy). Those documents will get you on and off the cruise ship without any problem. They don't take any more time, and they aren't any more inconvenient.

    Of course, the doom and gloom squad will warn you that 1) if you have an emergency and need to fly home halfway through your cruise, you can't do that from foreign soil without a passport. Of course, you couldn't fly home 'til you reached an island anyway, and that could be 2-3 days . . . and some of those islands are US soil. 2) if you were stupid enough to miss the ship at one of your port stops, it'd be both trouble and money to be able to get back to the US. Yes, these things could happen, but they are highly unlikely. Everything you do -- even driving to work each day -- entails some risk. You have to decide upon your personal comfort level.

    Another option: The passport card. This costs much less -- I want to say $20, but I'm not sure I'm right on that. It's a wallet-sized card, and it allows ground travel within North America; thus, you can use it really just for Mexico and Canada. However, it is more expensive than the birth certificate option, and it doesn't allow you to fly, so for this application it has no advantage over the birth certificate.[/QUOTE]

    Thank you so much for this! These are things I didn't know.
     
  20. maggiew

    maggiew DIS Veteran

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    The past poster MIGHT be asked to provide evidence that she is allowed to take the children out of the country. Whether that is a notarized letter, a copy of the divorce papers, etc. They should be prepared to produce something. Otherwise they might not be allowed to board. You can read these situations almost daily on the Cruise critics board. (It seemed the PP was talking about a situation without a passport.) It also seems from the stories I read on Cruise Critic that if you have a different last name from the child (like if you remarried), you might have a higher chance of being asked.

    Anyone who is traveling with a child and both parents are not present should be prepared to provide documents. You might be asked, and you might not. But you sure don't want to be in the situation where you are asked and don't have the documents. This includes if you are taking a "girls only" trip with your daughters and no divorce is involved. It also includes things like taking a friend of your child on a cruise with you.

    To the OP, as stated previously, you do not NEED a passport to cruise on a closed-loop cruise. (Just don't do a transatlantic or repositioning cruise.) However, I am one of those who recommend getting a passport just in case. No one thinks they will miss the ship, etc. BUT, if you think you might cruise again or go someplace later that requires a passport, why don't you think about slowly getting everyone passports. You can maybe get one per year? Or split it up to 2 per year to get them faster depending on how many people.

    Maggie
     
  21. nunzia

    nunzia You can't top pigs with pigs, but you CAN top Toys

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    When I got one a few years ago, they were $99. Have they gone up? I think the fee is actually amazingly cheap considering it's from the government..(and if things don't change, I'll need mine to fly DOMESTICALLY since NM gives out drivers licenses to illegals they aren't an accepted form of ID to fly)
     

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