Travel documents on vacation: What you need to know

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The peak travel season has begun, and ÖAMTC travel expert Yvette Polasek clears up some myths about passports, ID cards, and more. Find out why a valid passport or ID card is essential.

The peak travel season has begun, and ÖAMTC travel expert Yvette Polasek is using this time to clear up some myths about passports, ID cards, and the like and summarize the most important information. “A travel document is required whenever you cross a border – even when traveling within the EU and the Schengen area. This also applies to short trips to our neighboring countries. And no, a driving license does not count as a travel document. Therefore, a valid passport or identity card should never be missing abroad – only these documents prove your nationality and identity.” Crossing the border without a travel document is an administrative offense and is even punishable by law.

Check the validity of the passport, dogs also need a “passport”
“Contrary to many opinions, you are not allowed to travel anywhere with an expired passport. However, exceptions prove the rule: Austria has an agreement with some European countries, such as Germany or Croatia, which allows you to enter the country with a passport that has been expired for up to five years,” says Polasek. However, the ÖAMTC expert warns: “Both airlines and cruise ships require a valid passport in their transportation regulations. It can, therefore, happen that transportation is refused with an expired passport. Problems can also arise when checking into hotels with an expired passport.” Even when traveling to neighboring countries such as the Czech Republic or Slovakia, entry with an expired passport may be refused, or holidaymakers may even be penalized if they are found in the country with an expired passport. Therefore, all travel documents’ validity should be checked before your vacation so that they can be renewed if necessary. It should be noted that there may be longer waiting times for appointments with the relevant authorities, especially before and during the travel season.

Dogs also need a passport
If your pet is going on vacation with you, it also needs its own “passport”, the so-called EU pet passport. This is available from vets. Further information on traveling with dogs can be found at www.oeamtc.at/reisen-mit-hund.

Traveling with children – own passport and declaration of consent from parents
Children need their own valid passports when traveling abroad. Babies also need their own passports from the day they are born to be recognized for international travel. If minors travel without a legal guardian or with only one parent, a power of attorney, i.e., a declaration of consent from the legal guardian, should also be taken along, preferably in the respective national language. “If, for example, grandparents are traveling with their grandchildren, the parents are divorced, and only one parent is traveling with the child or teenagers are going on vacation without their parents, such a power of attorney should be taken along for safety reasons to avoid problems when entering and leaving the country,” says the ÖAMTC expert. Shipping companies, airlines, and hotels can also check such a declaration of consent.

Powers of attorney are available here
Powers of attorney in various languages can be downloaded free of charge from the ÖAMTC country information at www.oeamtc.at/laenderinfo/ or at www.oeamtc.at/allein-reisende-Kinder. “Some countries also require this power of attorney to be notarized – it’s worth taking a look at the ÖAMTC country information. There you will also find all the information you need on carrying obligations, traffic regulations abroad and general information on the respective vacation destinations,” concludes Polasek. Detailed information about passports and other documents for your vacation can be found at www.oeamtc.at/pass-irrtuemer.

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