Going abroad.

This used to be so easy.  Now it’s more complicated.


Lots of sites on the web say that you need six months on your passport before you can enter an EU country from the UK.  I don’t know where they get this from.  We are going to Germany, and it’s not listed on the government travel advice page nor in Shengen area rules. The only requirement is that you have three months left on your passport on your planned departure date.

I got caught with a hastily arranged visit, when I had neglected to renew my passport.  It was due to expire in October and we were going at the end of April.  I am sure that my passport would be valid, but I decided to renew it anyway.  I did not have time to go through the usual online route as I may have been without a passport for 10 weeks, so I had to use the much more expensive fast track premium service. This is where you go to the passport office to collect your new passport.

So, you go onto the site, answer a whole lot of questions then find there are no appointments available – but new appointments are added every day.  I finally got an appointment at the nearest passport office (Newport passport office – 167 miles away) by booking it at 8am.  

It is definitely better to have your passport picture ready to load up.  I didn’t.  So I had to get my wife to take one in the middle of filling in the on line form.

Then you pay your money and that is it until your appointment.

So four days before our flight we drove the 167 miles round to pick up my passport. The process took 5 minutes, then we drove 167 miles back home.  This with petrol at record prices.


To get a Covid passport you have to sign into the NHS app, then it can be downloaded or stored on your phone.  As far as we could see most people used the phone.  The passport inspection person glanced at it but it was not scanned.

Air Tickets

Prices vary all over the place.  Ryan air was cheap, but cabin baggage is limited to 10Kg and quite a small package unless you pay extra.  Although we were very careful to stay within the rules our luggage was not weighed or measured. Other (probably more experienced) passengers seemed to have bags which were much bigger than the “allowed” size.