Passport error costs family their dream vacation

Posted at 10:05 PM, Jan 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-16 00:27:09-05

It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime for Cambridge hog farmers Don, Teri, and their two adopted grandchildren who have never been outside of Idaho together. 

"My mom who lives in Texas decided she was treating us to a trip to Cancun, Mexico for Christmas,” said Teri.

Don and Teri said money has never come easy so they thought the trip was beyond exciting. 

After spending a year making sure everything was just right at the farm, they headed to get their passports.

They told the postal employee this was their first time flying together as a family and paid a passport execution fee. It didn’t take long for the passports to show up.

“Letter says put them in a safe place and protect them. We did that,” explained Teri.

They said they spent three days packing and then finally it was the day of the trip. 

“We were all so excited. It was Christmas. My husband and I were like little kids at Christmas again,“ said Teri.

They checked in online and then drove two hours to Boise. 

“We went through the line to check out baggage and they asked for our passports and I handed her all four of them and she said these are not air travel passports, these are no good, you can’t fly,” said Teri. 

As it turns out they got passport cards which are only good for land and sea travel, not for air travel.

They had two options, either fly to Seattle for the night to get new expedited passports for their trip.

“We didn't have 640 dollars,” said Teri.

Or call mom and give her the bad news.

"And I had to call her from the airport and say we are not coming,” said Teri.

Now they say they’ll never recoup the loss.

“A simple question during the application could have prevented all of it,” explained Teri.

While they said they are not trying to put the blame on anyone, they feel that because they paid the passport execution fee the simple mistake should have been caught. 

"You pay for each individual passport obviously, but you also pay a processing fee to the post office for processing that application. I would think that is some level of responsibly,” said Teri.

More than anything they said they just want others to know not to make the same mistake. 

We are hog farmers in Idaho raising our grandkids. We’ve never been anywhere. we didn't know,” said Teri. 

Another rule that most people are not aware of is that passports should have at least six months of validity when traveling internationally. Most countries will not permit a traveler to enter their country unless the passport is set to expire at least six months after the final day of travel.