Image source: Flickr - Kat
It's a good idea for everyone to have a valid passport, whether nor not you have plans to travel internationally or not. You never know when a great deal will pop up or an amazing invitation arise, so don't be left in the lurch by not having one. However, if you already have a passport you need to remember to check the expiration date before booking that next trip of a lifetime.
While the rules aren't new, the U.S. Department of State has started a new initiative to remind people of certain passport and visa rules before they travel. Most countries around the world require that passports have at least six months of validity in order to gain entry into the country. Should a traveler's passport not have at least six months of validity, then they won't be allowed into the country and will probably even be denied boarding by the airline at the point of departure.
It doesn't stop with you though, be sure to monitor the expiration dates of your loved one's passports, especially kids. Passports issued to children under the age of 16 are valid for five years instead of the 10 years' validity adults enjoy.
The State Departments Bureau of Consular Affairs recommends that U.S. citizens always travel internationally with a passport that has six months validity remaining, regardless of the destination. International travelers are strongly encouraged to check exit, entry, and visa requirements of individual countries on the Consular Affairs website. Travelers should also remember to check the specific entry requirement for any transit country en route to their destination, such as that for an airport layover.
If U.S. citizen travelers are denied entry to a country while abroad and need a new passport immediately, they should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Travelers denied boarding in the U.S. and needing an immediate passport can call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 to schedule an appointment at one of 28 passport agencies around the country.
For more on this issue, visit http://travel.state.gov.