If you are like millions of Americans ready to travel abroad, you need to put your passport application process in high gear today to ensure you can globe trot sooner rather than later. Unprecedented global travel is leading to delays in getting your documentation. The State Department announced this week it is taking travelers 10 to 13 weeks to get a passport. The reason: approximately 6 in 10 Americans plan on taking a trip in 2023 and are fueling pent-up demand for leisure travel after Covid locked everyone in place. Despite economic concerns, travel spending among Americans soared to $93 billion in February 2023, tracking 5% above 2019 pre-Covid levels.
Cost of Passports:
A first-time adult passport book will cost you $130 for the application fee plus an additional $35 for an execution fee. If you already have a passport and need to renew it, check out these guidelines from the U.S. State Department as a guide to expenses you will incur.
For an extra $60, you can get a passport quicker and this time frame is hovering around 7-9 weeks. To get a passport fast, check out emergency, urgent, expedited and routine processing times here.
Top Travel Destinations For Americans:
According to American Express Travel’s 2023 Trending Destinations report released in November, Americans’ top 10 list for travel include Paris, France, Copenhagen, Denmark, Istanbul, Turkey, Lisbon, Portugal, Montenegro, Sydney, Australia, Yakuve Island, Fiji, Florida Keys, Florida, Woodstock, Vermont and Mexico City, Mexico. The report also identified these key trends influencing travel in 2023:
- Travelers want new adventures.
- They seek holistic travel experiences that positively affect their well-being.
- Wanderlusts want to soak in local culture and learn about the distinct personality of the destinations they choose.
- People are making travel a greater priority in the future.
- Travel seekers plan to spend more and are willing to budget more for late check-outs.
No Passport? No Problem. Consider a Cruise Instead.
There’s good news, however, for those who are considering a cruise. According to Tanner Callais, founder of Cruzely, one of the most popular cruise sites in the world, you don’t have to hold a passport to go on most cruises from the United States.
“There’s a special allowance in U.S. law for cruising if the trip begins and ends in the same port. In this case, it’s known as a closed-loop cruise and you aren’t required to have a passport, even though your trip will take you to a foreign country. Most cruises fall under this umbrella, such as when you sail from Miami, explore the Caribbean for a week, and return to Miami,” he explains. “In this case, U.S. citizens are only required to have some sort of proof of citizenship, such as a government-issued birth certificate. Passengers 16 years and up will also need a photo ID like a driver’s license.”
Callais explains this rule allows you to sail without the cost or hassle of getting a passport. “But if possible, I always recommend sailing with one anyway. The vast majority of cruises go off without a hitch, but if something does come up and you have to leave the ship early, having the passport will make things easier to be able to fly home. In addition, sailing with a birth certificate can mean you have to wait in line to have your documents checked by an agent when returning home. People with passports typically just take a photo at a kiosk and then exit the terminal.”
Jenny Lynn Anderson, 59, owns Buzz Marketing in Statesboro, GA. She caught the travel bug early in life and was lucky enough to trek with her parents to Honolulu, Hawaii to a Farm Bureau Convention in 1975 where she stayed at the Kahala Hilton known for attracting Hollywood stars. At age 12, with a lei around her neck, she was asked to join the hula dancers on stage at the Don Ho Evening Show. Lucille Ball was in the audience. Jenny Lynn loved Lucy and fell in love with airplanes, tour buses, macadamia nuts, fresh pineapples, her vintage Red Pink Samsonite suitcase and the anticipation of her next adventure.