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The Travel Factory employs 4 full time agents with 100 years total experience in the travel industry. Our agents specialize in cruise, tour and resort vacations as well as corporate incentive and school groups. Our mission is to provide the best, most courteous, most detailed, most informative service. Our slogan, "Building vacations to your specifications" says it all.

Visiting About Passports Again

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This is a good time to begin thinking about applying for a passport, especially if you are interested in taking a trip next summer that would involve the use of a passport for you to visit a country requiring it. So far, after applying, you can get the passport back usually at this time of the year within about 2-3 weeks. Waiting until March, it would increase to 5-6 weeks.

A while back there was an article talking about the history of passports that was very interesting. It answered the question “why do we have to have passports.....who thought that up?”

Well, according to this report, in October, 1920, a meeting was held in France that changed the way we travel internationally forever. It initiated the modern passport.

This is because the League of Nations, an intergovernmental organization founded after World War I to maintain peace, convened in Paris for the Paris Conference on Passports and Customs Formalities and Through Tickets.. Here for the first time, a set of standards for all passports issued by members of the League was agreed upon.

Prior to WWI, passports were not required for travel within Europe---crossing the border was easy. The war changed all that. European governments started cracking down on immigration and travel for security reasons, introducing tougher border requirements.

The Paris Conference specified the size, layout, and design of travel documents for the 42 member nations of the League.

It proposed that passports should be 15.5 cm x 10.5 cm and must contain 32 pages—the first 4 detailing the holders appearance and personal details with the remaining 28 reserved for the visas of the countries for which the passport is valid.

It stated that all passports must be bound in cardboard with the cover bearing the country's name and coat of arms on it. They have remained relatively unchanged for almost 100 years!!!

The most notable changes to standards have been in passport security, including holograms, watermarks, encoded data for computer reading, and embedded electronic chips.

Passports issued currently have a life of 10 years for an adult. For children 16 years of age and younger, the passport is valid for 5 years. The charge for a child is $80 plus fees; for the adult the charge is $110 plus fees. The fees usually run about $25. And of course, you have to allow for postage.

It's pretty easy to get passports. You can apply for them on-line or go to the downtown post office, the north window, and there is an individual assigned to take care of your request. You have to have your birth certificate and two passport pictures made to mail with your application.

The experienced travel counselors at The Travel Factory will be glad to help you plan a vacation where you can utilize this personal asset---your passport. So, give us that opportunity to help you manufacture the vacation of your dreams at 4150 Southwest Drive or call us at 698-1421. We just love to talk travel!!!

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