Kerri Westenberg, Minneapolis Star Tribune, October 1, 2011
Q I'm expecting a baby in early October, and my husband and I want to bring him or her overseas to visit family during the Christmas holiday. How can I get a passport for the baby pronto?
A "Babies can get passports the minute they are born," according to Robert DeWitt, director of the Minneapolis Passport Agency. That enthusiasm notwithstanding, in practice it's a different matter. To get a passport for a minor, the child must be present at the time of the application and so should both parents. If one parent can't be there, though -- because she's recovering in the hospital, for instance -- the other can bring along a completed, notarized "statement of consent." Filling that out and getting it notarized before the hospital visit, though, would require the impossible (or a leap of faith): knowing the minor's name and birth date.
Your best bet: Once the mother and child leave the hospital, drive as a new family to a "passport acceptance facility," such as a government service center or a post office. (This will make a nice anecdote for the baby book.) You'll need the baby's birth certificate, both parents' IDs and a passport photo for the baby, which you may be able to obtain through the hospital or the passport facility.
Since you are due in early October, you should have no problem getting the passport in your hands before you depart in December. Routine passport applications are being processed in four to six weeks.
If your due date passes by, and you grow nervous about receiving the passport in time, head to the Minneapolis Passport Agency. This office, at 212 3rd Av. S., can process applications within a few days for people with urgent need. The fee for an expedited passport is $60 in addition to the cost of the passport itself, which is $105 for a minor.
For more information and to print forms that you can fill out while you're still in the hospital, go to www.travel.state.gov.
THIS JUST IN
A break on peak-travel fees
Good news for holiday travelers: Several of the nation's largest airlines have dramatically cut the number of dates on which they will impose a peak-travel surcharge. The fees, from $20 to $40, are typically added to one-way fares for passengers who fly on such popular travel dates as the day before Thanksgiving. Last year, most large airlines had added peak-travel surcharges on 18 dates from Nov. 18 to early January. But so far, Delta, American, United and Continental airlines have added the surcharge to only six peak travel days, said Tom Parsons of BestFares.com. Those dates: Nov. 27 and 28, Dec. 22, 23 and 26 and Jan. 2.
LOS ANGELES TIMES
Food, travel meet on this site
TheRoadForks.com is a scrumptious blog from a couple traveling around the world with their mouths and their minds wide open. Akila and Patrick McConnell have created a site that is one part cooking class, one part art show, two parts tour guide and three parts addicting.
LOS ANGELES TIMES
DEAL OF THE WEEK
Discounts for Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg has a three-day Autumn Bounce package for families, with savings of almost 20 percent. The price for a family of four starts at $697, with taxes, and includes two nights at the Williamsburg Woodlands and length-of-stay admission to Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Area, art museums and Busch Gardens -- an $849 value. Arrive Sunday through Wednesday, through Oct. 31. Info: 1-800-447-8679; www.colonialwilliamsburg.com.
Travel heavies team up
Fodor's and TripAdvisor.com are going to share content on certain popular destinations. TripAdvisor reviews will be incorporated into 20 Fodor's guidebooks starting with the 2012 editions. Links to Fodor's content have started to appear on TripAdvisor.
October is for art tours
Art aficionados can get a closer look at artists' studios in self-guided tours this month in Wisconsin and Minnesota. More than a dozen potters will display their works 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. next Sunday during the Western Wisconsin Pottery Tour in River Falls, Wis. (1-715-426-7367; www.westernwisconsinpotterytour .com). In southern Minnesota, the Studio ArTour, held Oct. 15-16, features dozens of artists in 23 studios in Cannon Falls, Northfield and Faribault. Paintings, ceramics, glass and other art will be sold, and some artists will hold demos. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (1-507-645-7445; www.studioartour.com).
COLLEEN A. COLES