By Stacey Leasca
Updated: February 10, 2019

Samantha Brown is one well-traveled woman. As a seasoned travel television host, including her latest show “Samantha Brown's Places to Love” on PBS, Brown has racked up too many passport stamps to count. But one thing you won’t find in her passport is a bad photo.

“While the picture on the left totally nails my 'upon arrival' look after an international flight, I couldn’t let THAT be my picture for my new Passport for the next ten years. So I gussied myself up and did a re-shoot,” Brown shared in a before-and-after shot on Instagram.

While it was nice of her to share the relatable moment with fans, Brown went one step further and debunked the long-standing myth that you can’t smile for your passport photo.

“FYI you CAN smile naturally for your photo! I’d also like to point out that I, travel expert Samantha Brown totally spaced that my current passport expires in June and I had upcoming travel to Hong Kong and Korea. So I had to do a rush. Just remember the six month validity rule on US Passports,” she said.

Indeed, the U.S. department of State says on its site, “You must have a neutral facial expression or a natural smile, with both eyes open.”

Other photo rules include: Face forward; use a photo taken in the last six months; have a plain white or off-white background; size at 2 x 2 inches; print on matte or glossy photo-quality paper; no glasses, headphones, or hats (other than for religious purposes).

Of course, once you take your best passport photo ever you’re going to need an equally epic passport holder. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with all the best-selling passport covers on Amazon right now

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