This happens more frequently than many realize……”Yikes! I got married and changed my drivers license but not my passport – what now?!?”
BUT, this is a biggie — make no mistake, you MUST ensure that your names match on both your airline ticket and your passport! If they don’t, then one or the other must be changed, which generally incurs a fee. AND in case you’re wondering, if you’re a U.S. citizen, you cannot travel outside of the US or its territories without a passport any longer – it’s required to return the the U.S., no exceptions…..so don’t think that because you changed your driver’s license that will suffice — it won’t.
Depending on how much time you have before you travel (at least 3 months or more), it’s better to change the name on your Passport, because you’ll need to change it eventually anyway (you have up to one year after marriage to change your passport if you changed your name).
Tight on time? You can get a new passport in as little as 8 days by going to a Department of State Passport Agency, but that does require an appointment and proof of immediate international travel, along with paying the expedite fee, or you can expedite the mailing of your new passport (2 to 3 week turnaround time) by simply paying the extra expedite fee in addition to the normal application processing fee when you apply or renew by mail.
If you’re short on time, it may be faster and less expensive to have your airline change the name on your ticket, but each airline has their own policies and fees (which are generally less than the expedite fee for a new passport!). Check with your travel agent or directly with your airline to explore this option.
Lastly, remember that your Passport MUST be valid for a period FOLLOWING your return flight — usually for at least 6 months after — but be sure to check with your travel agent as that date can vary depending on what country you’re visiting.