Does your passport really need 6 months validity?

Yes, yes you do! Especially if travelling to Fiji

Does your passport really need 6 months validity?I’ve been fortunate enough to not really have too many travel horror stories. Sure, I’ve ran for a train (never a plane Dad taught us early how you should always be 6 hours early for a flight!) , lost a boarding pass, misplaced a passport, cut it fine for boarding even with the 6 hour wait time, had a few dodgy character try to take us the wrong way in Marrakech but really nothing too bad or anything too serious that has thrown my travel plans into jeopardy.

Well, that was until recently and spoiler alert it all turned out ok and probably isn’t as dramatic as you might expect but when I was googling for advice nothing came up so I wanted to share my story in case it helps anyone else.

Postcard perfect Fiji- South Sea Island

As regular readers will be aware we’ve recently been to Fiji. Oh, beautiful Fiji -The holiday blues are still sooo raw. Fun fact about Fiji-  you don’t need a visa (for Australian or British Passports) but you definitely need 6 months validity on your passport from the date of departure from your home/departing country.

This is where the problem lay.

If you are like was stressed, cranky and googling everything combination of- passport, Fiji, validity and looking for quick information scroll to the bottom and the answer lies there!

Months ago when we booked our flights my other half said his passport will have less than 6 months validity and asked will it be ok? I (stupidly) was like yeah, of course, they just say 6 months to be careful. Point to note here I hadn’t even checked as genuinely believed that as long as your passport is valid you can enter any country. Of all the places and all the trips, I’d been on I’d never had any issues with this or really never checked about passport validity only about visas. It’s Travel 101 and my error number 1.

We were moving house during this time and were stressed and minds elsewhere so it wasn’t till the night before we were to fly that I checked again and noticed that my other half’s passport expired exactly 6 months to the day that we left London. I text my parents, my sisters, I put a message up in a Travel Facebook group, I googled to page 20 and no one could help or had a definite answer if we were going to be able to fly. Some websites said 3 months, some said 6 months but from the date of when you leave Fiji, and then other says 6 months from when you enter Fiji. No one knew and even when I checked the Fiji website it didn’t specify if it was exiting or entering. I was so confused. It probably also didn’t help that night I hadn’t slept for almost 24 hours so I was pretty highly strung.

I spent the whole 2-hour bus trip to Heathrow on edge. Do we fly all that way and then they say no, do they say no at Heathrow, what’s plan a/plan b/plan c.

Queuing at Heathrow check-in and looking at the desk clerks praying we weren’t going to get the grumpy one that looked a bit of a computer says no jobsworth. Thankfully we got a friendly one. Handed over the passports holding my breath. Then I saw the fingers come out. I could see her counting. 1,2,3,4,5,6. And then the words I didn’t want to hear.

‘We aren’t sure if you can fly today as the entry requirements for Fiji is 6 months passport validity’.

Noooooo. She said to not worry but she had to go check with a supervisor. Longest 3 minutes EVER! She then came back saying as today was the 1st of October and the passport expired on the 1st April we were very lucky with dates as it was 6 months to the day and we can fly.

As much as I was pleased I still was worried he’d get turned away in Fiji. Not the feeling you want to have before you get on a 30 flight. I text my family to relay the good news as they were also on tender hooks about if we’d both be joking for the wedding or just me. My sister then gave us information that I swear should be more accessible as I didn’t find any of it in my googling session. If an airline allows you to board but you are aren’t allowed to enter a country it’s their responsibility to pay for your return flight and they will be fined in excess of £/$10k so they will always be careful when allowing you to board.

So you’d think we’d be on cloud 9 and no worries but I still wouldn’t relax until we were actually there and on the beach.

We flew Heathrow to Dubai then to Melbourne and due to board a connecting flight to Nadi. We’d had no issues up to Melbourne until we got called to the check-in desk over the tannoy. Initially, it was just to get new boarding passes but then they wanted to check Passports. My heart sank. We’d made it so far!! Again the fingers came out. 1,2,3,4,5,6 and then the ‘I need to check with my supervisor and Fiji immigration’. Cue more freaking out and me trying to explain London said it would be ok like that would do anything but thankfully she came back and said it was ok.

My nerves couldn’t take it anymore. I needed a very large glass of wine!

Stepping off the plane in Fiji and I had everything crossed, praying, hoping it would be fine and you know what, no one even batted an eyelid when we went through immigration. Nothing AT ALL!! Just a Bula and have a nice day. There was probably notes on the system but still NOTHING!!

I almost felt cheated and then I remembered we were here and to hurry up and get out of the airport just in case they changed their mind.

Every day is a school day so..

Lessons learned

  • Always check not just visa but passport validity when going somewhere new. I’ve since learned there are all sorts of these validity rules for lots of countries!
  • Make sure partners passport is up to date.
  • Yes, you need 6 months validity on your passport(defo Australian or British) if trying to enter Fiji. Based on the day of your date of departure eg when you start your journey
  • No, you don’t need a visa to enter Fiji (if you have a British or an Australian passport) Please check if you have another passport.
  • If an airline allows you to board they are generally 100% sure it’s going to be ok as if not they need to pay for your return flight and will be charged in excess if £/$10k
  • If British you can get an emergency passport both at home or abroad but you still need a few days before flying to get it sorted and you’ll need to do it as a high commission

Have you had any passport dramas?? Drop them in the comments would love to hear and to also to reassure myself that others can be just as clueless and that I just didn’t miss the travel memo on this.

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Falling into Fall- Where to visit for Autumn adventures

Autumn is one hell of a season.

Crisp days, wooly knits and big scarves, falling leaves, pumpkins and spices, roaring fires, mulled cider, fireworks, 50 shades of orange, cosy nights and nature at its absolute finest. What’s not to love.

It has long been my favourite season no matter where I have lived in the world. As summer starts to fade I always get so excited when I start seeing the trees change and the days drawing in earlier. There is always an enchanted earthiness that no other season can replicate and if just feels like Autumn is a huge warm big hug from mother nature. Even writing about it brings a smile to my face and makes me want to go jump in a pile of fallen leaves.

As it’s such a picturesque season I couldn’t have a post of some of the most wondrous places to visit so I’ve asked a few travel bloggers to share their favourite places around the world to visit in the Autumnal months to inspire you to find some new places to explore.

Newark Park, England

England does Autumn amazing!! I think it’s something to do with the woodlands and old country houses. The contrast of the old buildings against the colourful foliage just is the epitome of a thumbs up from the autumn gods.

We had initially planned to visit Westonbirt which is the national arboretum and come autumn is dominating my social media news feeds form others visiting, however, the day we visited it was so busy so we stumbled upon Newark Park and I am so glad we did as it hit the autumn spot! The Cotswolds is easy to find in the south of the country and there is a lot of National Trust properties within this area so you can visit a few over a weekend.

I would recommend Newark Park as not only is the house really interesting to explore it also has a beautiful woodland and grounds that is all the colours of the autumn colour wheel.

We’ve blogged previously about it here if you want more details.

Arashiyama, Japan

Every season is worth a visit to Japan, but in my opinion, fall is the one season you definitely shouldn’t miss. In Japan fall is known for three things:
The leaves turning color
Delicious comfort food
Onsen the Japanese hot springs

Depending on where you are in Japan the leaves will turn color somewhere between October and early December starting in the north in Hokkaido where it gets cold fastest and then makes its way down to the south where it stays warm a little longer.
One of the most beautiful places to visit is called Arashiyama, a part of Kyoto with many temples and gardens, a couple of mountains and overall a lot of nature to offer.
Not only do the Japanese maple turn a bright red color, the ginkgo tree turns bright yellow creating a fantastic contrast.

And after a day of strolling and admiring how beautiful nature is there are only two things that you should do: Take a bath in an onsen (a Japanese hot spring) and afterward eat some of the delicious food in season during fall. Warm hot-pots called Nabe and Oden, and other delicious foods will warm you right up. There are foods made of chestnut and sweet potato that are unbelievable delicious and as a desert why not have some persimmons that are in season during fall.
I don’t know about you, but I think this sounds like a perfect day spent in Japan in fall.

For more stories about Japan visit

Norfolk, England

This Autumn, if you are looking for an escape to the seaside, if you are dreaming of long walks on the beach, tasty seafood, and cosy pubs – Norfolk is the place for you!

Norfolk is the perfect balance of British countryside and seaside, and it is a fantastic place for a breath of fresh air. It is about 3-hours’ drive from London, so an accessible destination for a weekend away. Head to Norwich and explore the cobbled streets full of lovely little shops. If you like flea markets make sure to give yourself time to explore St. Gregory’s Centre for the Arts, a paradise for vintage and antique fans. Visit the beautiful village of Burnham Market which is everything you imagine British countryside to look like! Have a long walk on the beach in Wells-next-the-Sea where you will find the famous colourful beach huts of Norfolk. Make sure to have some crab for lunch at one of the food stalls you will find in any seaside villages. Finally, have a digestive stroll in Blakeney to appreciate the local architecture before heading back home!

Stay at the Dabbling Duck, a very charming pub, and B&B, the rooms are cosy and the breakfast delicious! Make sure to have dinner there too, the duck breast is excellent and the banana sticky toffee pudding is to die for, and I don’t even like sticky toffee pudding!

Enjoy a romantic dinner at Stratton’s, the menu only features local and seasonal products.

For more from Claire check out or for their complete guide to a weekend in Norfolk check out

Temple of Apollo, Greece

It was In October, fall of 2015 that my husband and I took a week trip to Greece. We rented a car to make sure to visit and explore all sides of Athens and its environs.
The tour that we have prepared ourselves went so well, foods and cultural and architectural buildings in Athens are the most spectacular but on our 3rd day, we went for a trip to Ancient Corinth in the northwest part of Athens in Sparta.
Since it was our first time to go in this strange city we almost got lost and arrived in another place as not expected, but later we found the right way to go to Temple of Apollo.
The place was so special it has this different vibe that I can feel deep in my bones, we went inside the archeological place to have a look at what it resembles from a closer look. There was a bunch of debris and sculpture collection found by archeologist themselves.Couple of ancient vases, objects, and other particular things that ancient people used in their daily lives.

As we go out from the site, I went closer to see this splendid ruins of the Temple of Apollo. The sun was striking in my eyes with about more than 26 C, however, I still manage to adore the glimpse of it. Looking at those big rocks/ruins and the view from Acrocorinth, the mountain that you see behind it. I was stunned and breathless while watching at this perfect scenery of the place never did I expect that fall would be a fabulous season with full of fantastic overviews in Greece.

This would be my greatest Autumn/fall place to visit ever and I will surely go back there anytime.

For more from Lexie check out

New York City, United States of America

While New England might sound like the best destination to go to in the States to see some autumnal foliage, New York City, definitely doesn’t disappoint! To see the leaves, it’s best to go mid-late November, I have visited in October and even late-October is sometimes too early, though this is highly dependent upon the weather.

My favorite place to get a sight of the changing leaves is Central Park. This is because the park was designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead and his partner, architect, Calvert Vaux. Olmstead put public parks on the map through his public space designs that served to unite people of all socioeconomic backgrounds in an area they can all enjoy. As a result, Central Park is a joy to explore, with thoroughfares and wide open spaces that delight locals and tourists alike. There are so many trees in Central Park you’re bound to find at least one, if not more, trees with yellow, orange, and red-toned leaves. The Mall walkway leading to the Bethesda Fountain was featured in Maid in Manhattan and is an amazingly beautiful tree-lined pathway throughout the seasons, but most of all, during the fall. Some of the best views in the Central Park are also around Gapstow Bridge by The Pond and by Bethesda Fountain near The Lake.

Other notable areas in the New York City area to see the colors of fall are Washington Square Park and Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Aside from autumn trees, Washington Square Park, in Greenwich Village, is best known for its large stone arch and tables full of chess players. Prospect Park, was also designed by Olmstead and Vaux and offers a mix of green grass and colorful trees throughout the park. Even though these are parks are my top 3 choices, any tree-filled park in New York City would be absolutely gorgeous in the fall.

For more from The Adventures of Panda Bear check them out here

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul, South Korea is a great Fall destination. We arrived on November 1, and the air was crisp and cool. Jackets were needed! The leaves had started turning weeks earlier, so the trees were a beautiful mix of colors. Many were still green, but there was plenty of yellow, orange, and red all around. We particularly enjoyed exploring the Secret Garden (Huwon) at the Changdeokgung Palace. The palace buildings and grounds themselves are beautiful, but the Secret Garden is spectacular. It’s a large area of forest and flowers and water and small temples that you could wander around for hours. All the beauty Fall has to offer was on full display when we visited.

There are other parks throughout the city where you can experience this, but one spot somewhat hidden among the city streets is the Deoksugung Palace Stone-wall Road. At the time we visited, the 2016 Tree Hug exhibition was on, which meant all the trees along the road were wrapped in hand-knit sweaters. It was funny and heartwarming and perfectly representative of the season. And one last reason to visit Seoul at this time is to catch the annual Lantern Festival. Beautiful lanterns telling local stories about Seoul and South Korea are set up all along the Cheonggyecheon Stream, which runs through the center of the city. You can walk the entire length of the stream to see hundreds of lanterns, and even set your own small ones afloat. The festival opened the night before we left, and it was a lovely and romantic way to spend our last night in this beautiful city.

Read more about Seoul from Travel Breathe Repeat here

Do you have a favourite place to visit in Autumn? Let us know in the comment below we’d love to hear about it!

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