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Passports Not Required

Clear water, sand sifting through your feet, and a warm ocean breeze as the sun kisses your back. Now, that sounds like the making of a beautiful vacation. However, if you have been limited to beach tripping within the United States because you don’t have a passport, then I want to offer you a solution.

As a travel advocate, I must say with all seriousness getting a passport is a must. I am not sure what one would be waiting on; seriously it’s time to get your passport. However, if you have been afraid of getting a photo taken and reserving 5 to 10 minutes to complete the application along with releasing $150 check, then I have good news for you. You don’t need a passport to leave the continental United States and enjoy some amazing beaches and learn about different cultures.

You can travel and explore another culture, eat great food, and possibly hear another language or two without having a passport. Umm hmm, you read that correctly, without having a passport. But, do yourself a favor, take the photo and complete the application, because traveling the world and learning from others is fundamental to your growth and development as a human being!

Now, on to telling how you can travel without Global Citizenship Credentials (GCC), i.e. a passport. As an American you have options to explore some amazing breathtaking places outside the continental United States with a simple state-issued identification. Want tropical weather, clear water and fruity cocktails? Well, you can have those too. Here is a list of places that you might consider while waiting for your passport to return, because I know you are planning to get one.

Puerto Rico. If you love everything Latin but can’t get to Latin America just yet, then PR may serve as the next best place, especially if you love Rum. Just south of Florida, you can get to PR and have sun and fun in a matter of hours. Pack your beach towels, sunscreen and Spanish dictionary. Although, you don’t need a passport in this American territory, you might need help with the language. Before I scare you too much, many people speak English, but many people don’t. So, it would be useful to brush up on your Spanish language skills. However, I think you will love getting out of the US and exploring this territory, which is amazing and has some one-of-a-kind gems. Did I mention something about Rum, well if I didn’t, you can go to the Bacardi distillery and sip a few drinks and learn about the process of making Rum. Also, PR offers one of five places in the world where you can see water glow at night in a bioluminescent bay. And if you want to explore a blend of Spanish, African, and American influenced dishes, then PR is where you want to be.

Guam. Don’t want to be overwhelmed by trying to see too much in such a short amount of time? combination of lemon juice, onions, local hot peppers, salt and sometimes grated coconut used to “kelaguen” either seafood, beef, chicken or even Spam, bbq, and spicy stew or Kadon Pika. Well, Guam might be for you. Guam is a small island that can be explored within a day. However, this beautiful island might take some planning and a half day of traveling to get to from the US. It’s located in the Western Pacific Ocean about 6,000 miles from LA. So, if you want to feel real international without a passport, this might be the place for you. With weather pretty much in the 80’s all year around, this little US territory is an idea spot for your next beach vacation. The currency is US dollar and the official language is English. So, don’t have to worry about bringing a language dictionary. If you love golfing, swimming, scuba diving, and sunbathing you will most likely be in heaven.  As far as food goes, you have most of the chain restaurants you have in mainland America, but there a some Guam favorites like red rice, kelaguen, which is a

Hawaii. Although, Hawaii is a US state I’m including it because it’s not easily accessible and not a part of the continental US. Traveling to Hawaii, just like Guam, will take some planning and a little saving. If you are looking for cheap trip, Hawaii isn’t going to be first on your list of places to explore without a passport. I remember back in the 90’s a McDonalds quarter pounder meal was running about $10, so all I am going to say is, “Be prepared to spend a little money when traveling to Hawaii.” However, of all the places I have ever been in my little life, Hawaii is by far the most beautiful. It has some breathtaking landscapes, waterfalls, and plenty of exotic fruit. Hawaii also has its own culture, which is vastly different than that of mainland America. It is still very much infused with its own Polynesian culture that offers diverse food, traditions, and customs. So, go with an open mind and learn about the ways of the ancestors. However, remember it is a tropical island; there are several animals and plant species that you aren’t allowed to take with you, so doing your homework before you go, it is a must.

United States Virgin Islands. I know you can’t get to Jamaica or Barbados because that passport hasn’t arrived, but it’s ok because you can take a trip to the US Virgin Islands. These unincorporated US territories consist of Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas, and a few water islands that are much smaller. There is no need to bring a dictionary because most everyone speaks English with a little Creole flare. The food tends to be a blend of different spices and much of it is imported from foreign lands. However, there are plenty of fruits grown on the islands. Fungi is one of the traditional dishes, which entails cornmeal that has been boiled and cooked to a thick consistency along with okra and eaten mostly with boiled fish. If you want to going sailing, relax on the beach, or explore some of the colonial churches, then this will be a perfect getaway. It is also a great place to get in some golf, ride a horse, or learn about lengthy history of the islands.

America Samoa. This too is an unincorporated unorganized US territory. Although, English is spoken here, the dominant language is Samoan. It consists of five main islands and two coral atolls located in the South Pacific. So, if you want to plan a getaway and that makes you feel like you are real international, then this might be the place for you. With only two major seasons wet and dry, these tropical islands have an average temperature of 80 degrees most of the year. You can’t go to an island and not find a beach, but there is so much more to explore. You can rent a 4WD and discover the island for yourself, finding plenty of traditional communities. Believe it or not Samoans love football; there are about 30 American Samoan players in the NFL, as football is a major sport on the island. Go figure, you might luck up and see some football in action. As far as food goes, you can find many of the mainland American chain restaurants, but if you are looking for traditional meals then you might ask for some taro, breadfruit, and fruits like papayas, mangoes, or bananas. Traditionally it is common to grab a mat and sit on the floor and many people still eat this way, so don’t be shy grab your mat and feast.

Northern Mariana Islands. There are 15 islands that make up this commonwealth. The official language is English, but there are two other common languages spoken within these islands, which are Chamorro and Carolinian. I personally have never heard of either of the two languages, but hey you learn something new every day. The islands were once possessed by Spain and hence the Spanish influence. Just like Guam, which is a neighboring island and helps make up the Marina Islands, the temperature is usually constantly in the mid 80’s year around. The culture and food is heavily influenced by the Spanish with their empanadas and the Philippians and their pancit noodles. However, there are other foods that have been influenced by the Koreans, Japanese, and Americans. If you want to explore a hidden treasure, then Saipan might be just the location for your next vacation with crystal clear beaches and a glimpse of raw beauty.

I wanted to give you a few alternatives to your regular Florida beach trips considering you are still awaiting your passport, and you haven’t been able to get to the Caribbean. However, many of the places that you can travel to without a passport are just as amazing and equally as beautiful. Some of them take some planning and extra time and money to get to, but I am sure that when you are boasting to all your “regular” friends who only going to South Florida on vacation, you will gain the title of “well-traveled” and be able to share some amazing stories.  Again, I must reiterate my passport disclaimer. Although, you have a list of great places that you can visit being an American citizen, there is a huge world for you to explore. So, please do yourself a favor and obtain your passport sooner verses later.

If you are interested in traveling, but don’t have a passport, what has stopped you from getting one? Where would love to go? Have you been to any other the listed places without a passport? If so, please share your likes and/or dislikes.

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