Travel tips: how to get a passport

SIX things you need to get a Passport:

1. Primary identification
Most use a valid driver’s license as proof.

2. Photocopy of primary identification
In order to process the application, present a copy of the primary identification being used (both sides).

3. Evidence of US Citizenship

Most use a certified birth certificate as proof. Make sure it has that raised seal. The office will not accept photocopies or just notarized copies as proof. To find these records, contact the local government in the area where you were born.

4. One Passport photo

A photo is required to get a Passport. Your local photo printing lab likely will take it for a few bucks. Some passport acceptance facility also will provide photo service on-site.

Yes, you can take your own photo — but you must follow some key instructions in order for it to be accepted.

Your Passport photo must be:

In color
Printed on matte or glossy photo quality paper
2 x 2 inches in size
Sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (between 25 and 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. View the Photo Composition Template for more size requirement details.
Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
Taken with a neutral facial expression (preferred) or a natural smile, and with both eyes open (source:

5. Payment

For first-time adult applicants, expect to pay 5 for a Passport Book. Personal checks, money orders and bank drafts are accepted. Exact cash is okay at some locations. (Also, the execution fee is paid separately. So, two checks are required)

6. DS-11 Passport application

This application can be filled out online. When finished, print it and bring it with you to the acceptance facility. Be sure NOT to sign this document until a processing agent asks you to.

What to expect:

Most first time applicants will receive a Passport by mail within 6-8 weeks after submitting all documents.

You can check the status online by visiting the Secretary of State website at

Tips for Shooting Portrait Photography from Cuba

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Well in Cuba I had a lot of different opportunities to shoot portraits. Thus, I thought it was the perfect time to give some of my advice on shooting portrait photography when travelling. Obviously, shooting travel portraits is a lot more than just point the camera at interesting people and wishing for luck. We need to think about composition, the subject, and most of all being confident. If you ever want to go to a country to shoot travel portraiture photography, I can’t imagine there’s a better place on the planet than Cuba. It was just one perfect portrait subject after another. This is my last video from Cuba, but be sure to stay tuned to the travel photography channel for upcoming episodes from around the world!

Cuba – Travel tips where to go by travelers

Cuba: Distant Lands travelers share their travel tips.

Historic towns, crystal clear waterfalls and lush national parks are some of out customer’s favorite places in Cuba.

The waterfalls at El Nicho: If you find your self between Trinidad and Cienfuegos, take a day trip to the El Nicho waterfalls. Hike the trails and you will get breathtaking views of the crystal clear waterfalls plunging into deep aqua pools.

The town of Remedios; If you want to experience an ols Cuban town off the main tourist path head to Remedios. The town is a good base for day trips to the northern cayos. At Christmas everyone celebrates the festival of Los Parrandas.

La Boca: Just south of Trinidad lies a tiny village of La Boca. Adorable homes line the coast and the village has only one restaurant, a general store and afew bars. The beaches of Playa Ancon are just a short drive away.

Guanayara National park: About an hour from Trinidad is Guanayara national park. The hiking is an easy hike and you will see coffee plantations, old forst and waterfalls. This area is filled with the tocoro bird, the national bird of Cuba.

Explore Cuba by bike: The Cuba landscape offers great views especially by bicycle.

Maria la Gorda: At the western tip of Cuba, a good hour’s drive from the nearest settlement is Maria la Gorda. Most come for the scuba diving leaving the white sandy beaches for the rest to explore.

Trinidad de Cuba: A Unesco world heritage site, beautiful streets and buildings.

Hotel Ambos Mundos: Distant Lands customers recommend this historic hotel where Hemingway once lived.

If you would like to order any books on Cuba contact Distant Lands – A travelers Bookstore. 626 449-3220, 20 South Raymond Ave. Pasadena, Ca 91105

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Travel Tips: Which Plugs and Adapters to use When Traveling

Travel Tips: Which Plugs and Adapters to use When Traveling

Cracking the Secret Code of Travel every Thursday.

Sonia Gil guides you through the plugs and adapters of the world and where to use them when traveling.

Don’t know which adapter to use? Check this out:

Kikkerland UL03

More info on plugs and adapters:

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Cuba 2015 #1 Havana day 1 Walking Tour, Hotel Tips, Habana Tour, Salsa cubana, Cars

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Watch Andy and Ninas travel Vlog from their recent holiday to Cuba!

For our first day in Havana we booked a solo walking tour. The tour guide took us from the Hotel Inglaterra and Capitolio Nacional to the area known as Old havana. Here we visited the bars and places frequented by ernest Hemingway. We were told the stories and history of Havana and of Cuba in general as we walked the streets and soaked up the atmosphere. Old Havana was definitely our favourite part of the city and in many ways the holiday as a whole.

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Cuba Packing Essentials – Globetrot Tips

Here is my list of things to pack for your trip to Cuba! After my last two trips earlier this year I realized that there are many travel essentials that you just can’t find in a pharmacy or store down in Cuba, especially outside of Havana. So it’s important to plan ahead and pack accordingly. Links to all of the essentials below.

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