Places to Travel to Without a Passport

While possessing a passport opens up opportunities to explore nearly 200 countries worldwide, United States travelers can still embark on exciting journeys even without this international document.

At present, there is a backlog and delay in processing passport applications, resulting in waiting times of approximately eight to 12 weeks to obtain the necessary documents, which can restrict travel plans.

However, it is not necessary to completely give up hope of enjoyable vacations. While international destinations require a passport, there are still some places where U.S. travelers can visit by solely presenting their state-issued identification, such as their driver’s license or ID card.

Several destinations within the United States are accessible to travelers without a passport. While American Samoa requires a passport, there are other options for United States citizens to explore. The U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico are among these accessible territories, as confirmed by the federal government.

Where can I travel without a passport? 

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, travelers can indulge in the sun-drenched beaches, such as those found on St. Croix and St. Thomas, and discover captivating tropical reefs nestled in crystal-clear blue waters. The Northern Mariana Islands provide a delightful blend of serene beaches and exhilarating mountains, making them ideal for hiking enthusiasts. In Puerto Rico, visitors can immerse themselves in the rich history and vibrant culture of San Juan or embark on thrilling adventures within the enchanting El Yunque tropical rainforest.

While Guam typically requires a passport for U.S. citizens, there may be exceptions made on a case-by-case basis, where a photo ID and proof of citizenship may be accepted. Guam also offers stunning beaches and intriguing glimpses into World War II history.

It is important to consult the specific entry and exit requirements of each destination to ensure compliance with any travel regulations or exceptions.

Are there any cruises that can be taken without a passport?

There are limited options for cruises that do not require a passport. Closed-loop cruises, which depart from and return to the same U.S. port without making stops in foreign countries, are one possibility. However, these types of cruises are not widely available. The reason for their rarity is the Jones Act, a 1939 legislation that states non-U.S. registered ships cannot travel between two U.S. ports without first stopping at a foreign port. Since most cruise ships are not registered in the United States, they are subject to this law. As a result, closed-loop cruises are uncommon.

It is worth noting that closed-loop cruises are technically feasible but not commonly offered. The term “closed-loop cruises” can be misleading due to their infrequent occurrence.

Previously, Americans were able to travel between Canada and Mexico without a passport, but this option has changed, according to Peter Greenberg, CBS News’ travel editor.

Greenberg advises individuals who wish to explore the world to prioritize completing their applications despite the current delays impacting wait times.

Even if you already possess a passport, the existing delays can still have an impact on your travel plans. Many countries require passports to be valid for at least six months beyond the duration of the trip, making it crucial to renew your passport promptly if it does not meet this requirement. Additionally, certain countries may mandate having a certain number of blank pages in your passport, necessitating a new passport if you do not meet this criteria.

Nonetheless, according to Greenberg, obtaining a passport is a worthwhile investment, as the number of places you can travel without one is limited. He emphasizes that a passport is the best investment you can make for international travel.

If obtaining a passport in time for your upcoming trip is not feasible, there are numerous captivating destinations within the United States worth exploring. According to rankings by U.S. News & World Report, the Grand Canyon tops the list as the best destination to visit in the country, drawing visitors from around the globe to witness its stunning formations and explore other treasures in the Arizona desert. The TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards poll for 2022 highlights popular destinations within the United States, with Las Vegas securing the top spot for its vibrant nightlife. Following closely are Oahu and Maui in Hawaii, offering opportunities to bask in the sun and partake in exciting island activities. Key West in Florida, the southernmost point of the country, ranks fourth on the list. Other highly-rated destinations include New York City, New Orleans, and Nashville.