We are in Philadelphia today, not Spain as we'd planned. We flew from Portland yesterday and were to leave from here last night, but at the gate we were told that we could not travel with our current passports. They are not expired, but will expire in two months. Spain, and apparently many other countries, will not let you in unless you have at least 6 months left on your passport. We didn't know that, did you? Seems crazy to me. I just assumed the expiration date was the expiration date. So we had to delay our trip by one day and spend today going into downtown Philadelphia to the immigration and passports building (see above) and get new passports. Fortunately they could be expedited and we had them in less than 2 hours.
You can imagine the stress. Grrrr. Still, I have to say the airline (US Air) was extremely helpful—comped us a night in a hotel, rebooked us without charge and had all the information for how to get new passports. Props to them, though we could have avoided all this if they had given us a heads up when we bought our tickets months ago. That would be a service to their customers and save them some trouble in the long run.
So, were we just stupid not to know this rule? I don't think so. When Ray posted our problem on Facebook a few people said, " oh yeah, we knew that" but most of our friends were as clueless as we were—even the ones who travel a lot.
Now we know, and now you know too. If you plan to travel from the US to other countries, check to see if your passport expiration date is at least 6 months out beyond the end of your trip.