Thursday, April 24, 2014

Travelers Beware & Six Month Validity Rule: Valid Passports Don't Mean You Can Fly

This is my form of a PSA inspired by my friend Cristi at Motherhood Unadorned. Travelers please take heed:

Source: Flickr

Right now?  I am feeling terrible for my friend Cristi whose family was turned away for a flight at the airport on their way to a family wedding in the Philippines yesterday. 

Yes, family packed up. Countdown for her excited kids finally over.  Get to the airport? Annnnnd?  No go.  I  learned something new as did she the hard way: 

Did you know even if with unexpired passport with 5 months left, you cannot fly to the Philippines?   
You must have 6 months left on your passport.

What foolish nonsense is this? I would have assumed if I had five months on my passport and I was going for a week trip, I would be covered...and I would be WRoNG!

Several people pointed out to me on Facebook yesterday that this is standard. However, if you are not a frequent traveler or do not travel internationally (like I haven't), it's a GUT PUNCH. Just like Cristi, I would have never have known. I would have shown up clueless at the airport just like her family did. You would never realize an unexpired passport isn't good enough.

People know to check for immunizations/visas, but would anyone realize an unexpired passport is actually not valid in the eyes of some countries?? 

Source: Flickr
From horror stories online on same issue, it's clearly not common knowledge.

Yes, my friends, a lesson learned the brutal way.  From my Facebook comments yesterday, what is common is getting turned away like Cristi or stranded. 

I heard of someone's son  traveling to the UK (no six  month rule) then getting stranded on their connecting flight to Amsterdam (different rule) for a job interview.

So what is the deal? 

According to the US Passport Help Guide:

"What is the 6 Months Validity Rule? 

The Six Months Validity Rule is imposed by foreign countries, and not by the United States. It simply means that your passport should be valid for more than six months before you would be allowed to enter a foreign destination. This rule is imposed by some of the countries we have listed below.

Countries with 6 Month Validity Rules
• Albania
• Angola
• Bahamas
• Bahrain
• Belize
• Bolivia
• Botswana
• Brazil
• Brunei
• Burma (Myanmar)
• Burundi
• China
• Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
• Ecuador (including Gal├ípagos Islands)
• French Polynesia
• Guyana
• Honduras
• Indonesia
• Iran
• Iraq
• Jamaica
• Kenya
• Kiribati
• Kenya
• Kiribati
• Laos
• Madagascar
• Malaysia
• Mauritius
• Mozambique
• Namibia
• New Caledonia
• Nicaragua (currently waived by bilateral agreement)
• Oman
• Palau
• Papua New Guinea
• Philippines
• Saudi Arabia
• Singapore
• St. Lucia
• Taiwan
• Tajikistan
• Tanzania
• Thailand
• Timor-Leste (East Timor)
• Trinidad & Tobago
• Turkmenistan
• Uganda
• Ukraine
• Venezuela
• Vietnam
• Zambia

If your passport is about to expire it is recommended that you renew your passport nine (9) month before your passport expires. This would give you enough time to apply for a U.S. passport with the passport office."

Furthermore, there are some countries that require 9 months or more left on your passport. Going to Cuba?  You better have a year left! Yes, apparently there is no point to expiration dates and it all depends on the whims of each country.  

Still?  I could see double and triple checking for places like Cuba and Iran which require visas with known political strife, but the Philippines and popular island tourist spots might throw people for a loop. Someone else mentioned on Facebook her niece was stranded in Costa Rica a few years back. Yep not on the USPHG's list.

Even more bizarre, you have to have a certain number of pages blank in your passport even if you are five years from expiration?

Ridiculous. There should be some international rules that an expiration date is an EXPIRATION date. Common sense, riight?

Now even if her husband could get his passport emergency renewed, Eva Airlines wanted FIFTEEN thousand dollars for her family's flight changes to delay the  couple of hours needed! 

 Anyone have a spare 15k just squirreled away to burn?

Source: Flickr
I would also think airlines, when they book your tickets, should have some responsibility to inform you of this requirement and require proof of unexpired passport, so no one gets stuck with 15k in change flight fees, riiight??

Nope, at least not EVA Airlines. They took to responsibility and had no flexibility for Cristi's situation. From what I learned yesterday, QANTAS airlines does check passport validity in their system when someone buys a ticket for an international flight and some most travel agents appear to as well. Luck of the draw.... 

They got Eva Airlines.

Travelers beware! You would think the airline would have informed them first and then helped them out--not rape them with last minute flight fares-- but sadly no. So he will miss his brother's wedding. Her daughter will miss being their flower girl.


Something is really broken with travel at the international level and also at the airline level with their lack of responsibility.  I see it like this:

Source: Flickr
Imagine buying an annual Costco membership. Now imagine being told that you will be a member for a year, but belatedly informed you cannot actually use your card for entry and purchases the last 3 months? 

On top of that, those cases of toilet paper and nuts you bought online from them? 

Yeah if you renew your membership immediately, they'll sell them to you for an additional FIVE times the original price?

If not, they'll keep most of your money since you should have know your annual membership you paid could not be used the last 3 months? 

Yeah would anyone think that's okay?

PLEASE SHARE so nobody else gets throat punched at the airport by missing a family wedding, an important job interview, or gets extorted a small fortune from the airlines? Pretty please with airlines peanuts on top?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why? Why? Why! #FAIL


Of course my kids had left for school, there was none under the sink, & someone thought it was okay to leave 1/2 square. 




Tuesday, April 22, 2014

On Marathons & Discounts: Rock 'N' Roll #Seattle Marathon I am Coming on Hard @RunRocknRoll #RNRSEA

So this was me smiling yesterday...before running 5 miles. 

Yeah, remember two months ago I was going to start training for a half marathon? 

Yeah...'bout that? 

Injuries, sick dogs,and basically life distracted me from my Rock 'N' Roll Seattle Marathon and 1/2 Marathon goals. Yesterday I realized I had exactly two months to fix that load of excuses!

 Umm gulp only 2 months away?!

People, I need to start training...hard!!! I've only  done a handful of two milers in the last few months and, of course, crossfit.

I reached out to my community and got so much great advice. I read it all and then I got my kiddo involved. I decided to push past my two milers and straight to a five mile run and what happened?  I surprised myself.

Finished!! This was my first five mile run since I got pregnant in ROTC at Cal...18 yrs ago!!  Woot! 

Thanks to my reluctant running buddy, we made it in 48:25 which was a 9:40 pace with plenty of hills. Well,  except the last mile when he blazed off and left me in the dust. 

As a 12 yr old, It was his 1st five mile run...EVER!! 

So my pace was not great, but not embarrassing either. Ever a glutton for punishment? I went off to do 500 meter sprint rows, 3x5 135 lb. back squats and thirty 80 lb snatches. 

Today, my friends? I am feeling a bit creaky especially in the knees... Okay a lot creaky!  I can't decide whether I should run the creaks out or rest.  Time to consult my running friends again.

Want to know more? The Rock 'N' Roll Marathon series can be found nationwide and internationally.  I counted over 30 cities! Likely there's one near you. Stay tuned as I have a marathon entry giveaway coming soon!! In the meantime, ready to sign up now?  Use my discount code "SCOUTSHONOR"  valid for $10 off any half or full marathon until June 15th, 2014.  

Want to watch and take it all in for a bit? 

Follow me on Twitter @scoutshonor and on Instagram @unitedstatesofmotherhood . 
Then  on Twitter and Instagram, look for @RunRocknRoll and the hashtag  #RNRSEA .

We got this!! Join me!

Disclosure: I was provided free entry, merchandise and products as compensation for this post and future weekly posts.  I approached this company for this partnership because I had heard glowing reports of their events.  As always I only review and cover products and events I love or want to try out and review them honestly. Love it or hate it, you'll hear about it. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

ON MARRIAGE: My Husband is Fired...Again!

My husband is fired.

When your wife of almost 18 years is eating a pint of ice cream with bed head still in her PJ's at 4 PM in the afternoon and someone knocks on the door?

You say your freaking wife is asleep, indisposed, sick, not here, whatever.

You do NOT call upstairs so she frantically PULLS ON A BRA, SNAGS WHATEVER DUSCARDED CLOTHES ARE ON THE FLOOR WITH HER TOE, pulls hair back in a panic, swipes at the ice cream on the corner of her mouth and comes downstairs horrified.

Yes, there was an open door AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS between me and my closet. My daughter-- my PJs, silly teen movie & pints eating co-conspirator-- giggled as I was cornered LIKE AN ANT UNDER A MAGNIFYING GLASS..

Seriously Beau Raines? You. Are. Fired.

Husbands out here not wanting to be fired? Take note--this applies to your wives, sisters, and daughters too!

Ahem: As for you Beau Raines?  I will be taking applications again, but they better include back rubs, chocolate, and lots of Honey-Do lists!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ignore the Freaking Scale, Please?


This is why you should ignore the scale & listen to your body...

...and crossfit & eat paleo! Heh! 

I started my health & fitness journey in Costco-size Kirkland capris...X-large & squeezed on like a sausage. 

Then I lost 35 lbs & went down to large. 

Today my pants kept falling down during wall balls and burpees....after indulging at Disneyland for 5 days!! 

I thought I was being silly to buying medium goals pants at Costco today,but guess what? 

THEY fit. 

And according to the dang scale? I weigh 3 lbs more than when I bought the larges. Hmpffffph! 

Just shows you muscle weighs more than fat and just because the scale doesn't budge doesn't mean the inches aren't melting off.

 I'll take a smaller size over a number on the scale any day of the week! I guess  it'll be time soon to buy some small goal capris??? 


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