Let’s face it, if you want to legally leave the country, chances are you are going to have a passport. Sure, you can skate by with just a birth certificate if you’re taking a cruise, but eventually you’ll want to travel to more exotic ports of call.
Here are five reasons to have a passport:
1. A Ticket to the World
If you ever want to step foot outside the United States, Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean islands, you’ll need passport. Believe it or not, there’s life and really awesome cruise destinations beyond our own backyard. You haven’t really lived until you’ve walked the historic sites of Italy or visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.
2. Form of Identification
If you ever get to a destination and have to show proof of identification and don’t have your state issued driver’s license or identification card, a passport will double as that.
3. Relieves “What-If” Scenarios
If you are using a birth certificate and a driver’s license to go on a cruise and you get injured in a foreign country, there is going to be a lot of red tape to get you back to the United States.
4. Shows Where You’ve Been
There’s nothing neater than flipping through your passport and having a time stamp of where you’ve been and when you got there. Just ask anyone to see their passport, and you’ll quickly be able to see how traveled they are.
5. The Government Makes Us
There’s no way around it. If you want to legally leave and return to the United States, it’s required by federal law that you have a passport.
- Think ahead. Many people try to get their passport a couple of weeks before their trip and don’t get it in time.
- Expedited service is not always faster. Typically a passport arrives within 2-6 weeks (depending on the demand). Plan to get your passport in advance so you don’t have to pay the expedited fee. My friend and I both got our passports in March 2010, I went the normal route and he paid the extra $60; I got mine just two days after him.
- Have your paperwork together. The employees who work at the passport center are no-nonsense; they will send you away in a second if you don’t have your documents in order.
- If push comes to shove, passport expediting services do work (personal friends of mine have used them). They are little expensive but it depends on how badly you need the service.
- The U.S. State Department offers a step-by-step process on their website (click here). Subscribe to our Cruise News Updates.