In the midst of planning a trip to Spain and Italy this summer, I realized my passport was still in my maiden name. Despite having to pay to get my passport renewed before its official expiration date, I was elated because it meant I could replace the worst photo ever taken of me in my entire life. (It is so bad that the man who took this photo when I was 19 said, "Wow, you are much more attractive than your passport photo. This is not a good photo." This was before everyone went to digital photography.) Excited to get my glamor shot, I wondered if I should take it myself. But then I thought, why risk it? The government specifications are fairly rigid, and I'd have to pay to get the photos developed somewhere anyway. So, I discovered...
Tip 26: Use CVS for your passport photos.
Sure, you'll feel a little awkward standing in the middle of the store when the friendly clerk pulls a white screen from the ceiling, but the service is fast and efficient and not very expensive. Call ahead to make sure your local CVS has passport photo services, but most do. Before you go in print off this coupon for $2 off your passport photos. The lady who took my photo was so impressed that I brought my coupon..like I would forget it. She even took my photo twice and gave me the second set of photos for free, saying, "You pick which one you prefer." All in all, a way better experience than the one I had in 2001.
Also, if you're in the market for renewing your passport, now is a great time to do it. I mailed my passport materials on January 17, and I received my new passport in the mail on February 11. I think that's record breaking for a government service.
Once I get our trip better planned I will report back with my travel findings.
Next up...you've got a house full of vinegar (I know this because at least a dozen of you told me you both copious amounts of vinegar this weekend to wash your towels)...now what? More suggestions!