So you’ve decided to go to Europe! Awesome! It’s natural to be a little nervous before your first big trip, but the preparations are a lot easier than they might seem. Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at what you’ll have to do before you go and how to do each step.

The first thing you’ll need to do is get your passport! This can take up to several weeks if you’ve never had one before, so be sure to send in your paperwork early. You’ll have to mail them the following things:
1. Your completed application form (the DS-11, found on the State Department’s website
2. Your birth certificate or other proof of citizenship
3. A 2″x2″ picture of yourself
4. $105-$135 for your processing fee (depending on your age; 16 and older need the more expensive adult passport)

Wait about 6 weeks and they’ll mail you a big envelope with your identification papers and your new passport inside! When you get it, double check the information page. Make absolutely sure everything is correct, least you get stopped at the border on a typo. Keep your passport in a very safe place – you’ll need it to be able to prove who you are while on your trip.