If you’re ready to take a jaunt somewhere that’ll allow you to sample a whole new culture, a whole new perspective, a whole new experience—then you might be surprised to discover all the places you can go without a passport. For pretty much anywhere you travel, you’ll need a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or military ID card, but you can bypass the detailed custom forms and passport stamps for a getaway to one of these spots with plenty of foreign flavor.
From the cobblestone streets and amazing Spanish-influenced architecture of Old San Juan to the verdant wealth of forests and wildlife, Puerto Rico feels a world away. It offers such a wide range of forests that they rank among the wettest and the driest in the Caribbean.
Guam is referred to as the “jewel of the Mariana Islands,” and for good reason. White sand beaches, rocky caverns, thriving reefs and a rich culture make it a super-popular destination for tourists who like the beach life or scuba diving. For those of us who are night owls, there’s also a bustling club scene.
This series of volcanic islands and atolls located in Polynesia is essentially a tropical paradise. Dotted with soaring volcanic mountains and covered in lush, untouched forests, it’s the perfect location for hiking, snorkeling, swimming and lounging on secluded beaches. Abundant historical sites and villages provide a glimpse into the lives of the people who live here.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Each of the main islands here offers its own specific charms for travelers. St. Thomas’ Charlotte Amalie, on the most visited port in the Caribbean, has been referred to as the “duty-free shopping capital of the world”—and it also features a ton of elegant dining, thrilling nightlife and activities such as submarine rides. St. John is more than 60% national park, meaning that the famous beaches of Trunk Bay, Salt Pond Bay and many more await the water-borne adventurer. And St. Croix boasts a Danish influence that brings old-world historic charm in the form of classic architecture and boutique shops.
Closed-loop cruises are journeys that depart and return from the same port of call in the U.S. when you visit a contiguous territory (meaning that its borders touch our borders) such as Canada or Mexico. The same goes for Jamaica and the Bahamas. You’ll need two forms of government-issued ID, but you can leave the passport at home. Just make sure you check on the entry requirements of any specific ports of call your cruise might be visiting because regulations vary.
How much could we say about Hawaii, other than the fact that it’s Hawaii? Nature, nightlife, luaus, shopping, adventure, culture. And no passport required (duh!) … Hawaii is a U.S. state.
Even within the borders of the Continental U.S., you can find a travel experience that carries an international charm. New Orleans has an obvious French accent on its architecture and cuisine. Washington, D.C., was designed by Frenchman Pierre L’Enfant—and it features a lack of sky-high buildings, a wealth of wide streets with circles and fountains, and an abundance of tree-lined neighborhoods. It’s also very walkable. And Boston sticks to its colonial roots with Gothic architecture, cobbled streets and classic brownstone neighborhoods.