This summer, put a new stamp on your passport! Like last summer, this year’s theme is “revenge travel,” and travelers are making up for lost time by heading abroad to cross off bucket-list destinations. Michelle Glass, VP of Travel Services at AAA Washington, discusses local travel trends and options to offset passport delays.
International travel is up more than 200 percent compared to 2022 as countries across Europe, Asia and even our friend to the north, Canada, open their borders. With an increased desire to travel abroad comes an increased wait for passports. The State Department warns that passport applications are taking between 10 to 13 weeks (about three months) – two weeks longer than normal.
Europe and Canada are the two major international destinations Washingtonians are choosing this year. In Europe, travelers are headed to France, Italy, Germany, Spain, UK and Ireland. Vancouver and Toronto remain hot destinations in Canada.
Washington travelers should start thinking and planning now for their summer destinations. If your travels take you outside of the country before July, it might be too late to apply for your passport (and you’ll definitely want to use an expedited service such as Rush My Passport). If you are heading internationally after June, apply as soon as possible to avoid any expected and unexpected delays.
With passport delays stretching toward three months, here are some tips to take some of the stress out of the process of applying for a passport and planning a trip abroad.
- Be prepared with your documents when you apply for your passport, including a passport photo. Passport photos be taken at some application sites or through AAA Washington Travel & Cruise Stores (free for members).
- Even if your passport is current, check expiration dates – some countries require passport validity three to six months past the date of your arrival.
- Need your passport quickly? There are several rush options, including expedited services through the State Department or Rush My Passport (AAA Washington members get exclusive rates on expediting services for U.S. passports and global travel visas).
- Planning on driving abroad? Don’t forget to apply for an International Driving Permit, just in case! Some countries require this if you are planning to take the scenic route.
- To give you peace of mind, work with a travel advisor who can ensure you’re not missing any steps.
Haven’t planned your trip yet? Check out airline and travel booking sites to sign up for deals, including AAA Washington where members can save on hotels, car rentals and activities. If you take some time to plan for summer travel, you are bound to find the right trip at the right price, maybe before anyone else. What’s on your bucket list this summer?