Running out of space in your passport isn’t the worst problem to have as a tourist, but it can seriously complicate your travel plans. Most visas require one full page to be valid, and some countries require even more. That means that each time an immigration officer marks a new page instead of finding one that’s already been stamped, they’re wasting precious visa space you can’t get back. Luckily, Chris Chamberlin of Australian Business Traveler has a tip for getting as many trips out of your passport as possible.
Before heading to the airport for your next international flight, break out a pad of sticky notes. Jot down a polite note saying something like “stamp elsewhere” or “saving space for visa” on a couple of Post-its and apply them to the pages you wish to keep empty.
This way, you won’t forget to ask for what you want when you’re in a rush to get through customs, and the immigration officer won’t unknowingly mess up any future trips you have lined up. The notes are easy to remove when it comes time to fill up those pages.
The trick can save you both time and money. U.S. travelers used to be able to request packets of extra pages for their passports, but in 2016, the State Department changed the rules to require travelers who run out of space for new visas to get entirely new passports, at a cost of $110 each. According to Chamberlin, the sticky-note method extended his passport life by two years, equaling more time spent globetrotting and less time waiting in a government office for a new one.