Family Vacation Tips

Where Can I Travel Without a Passport?

[fa icon="calendar"] Jan 23, 2018 8:53:00 AM / by Mary Ellen Nunes

Mary Ellen Nunes


Where can I travel without a passportAmericans are spoiled.  Many of us live in states that are larger than some countries, and our single country takes up most of the North American continent. That means that within one country, we can experience almost every climate that exists on planet.

A passport confirms your citizenship and it is also an investment in your family's travel future. Adult passports are valid for 10 years and children's passports are valid for 5 years. The cost of a $150 adult passport means for $30 per year your family are free to roam the planet.

If you hold an American passport - Congratulations-- The world is your playground!    If you haven’t applied for your passport yet, and are looking for vacation destinations, don’t give up hope!  There are many plenty of exotic destinations that you can visit and the right travel agent will be able to help you find the right location for your family.  

The problem is, most Americans think that they need a passport in oder to experience incredible, exotic family vacations. 

The truth is there are MANY exciting and exotic vacations families can enjoy without a passport.


Often parents feel overwhelmed and uninspired. Vacationkids loves helping parents discover what's possible when it comes to family vacations.

Here are a few examples how you and your family can experience the culture of another country without a passport:


 According to the U.S. government, U.S. citizens do not need a passport to sail to Caribbean, Canada, Bermuda, Bahamas or long as your cruise ship leaves and returns to the exact same port city. For example you can sail with out a passport on a cruise that leaves Galveston sails to Mexico and returns to Galveston.  This is because Maritime laws are different than airport border control.  If for example you're looking to sail from Miami thru the Panama canal and end up in would need a passport.  

Please know cruising with a passport is best for many reasons...and we HIGHLY recommend having a passport but you can indeed sail without it as long as you have all the right forms on identification.  If you are planning to cruise without a passport you will need to show proof of citizenship such as an original or certified copy of a birth certificate (NO photocopies) OR a certificate of naturalization OR a passport card OR an enhanced driver’s license  AND  as well as a government-issued photo ID. Children are also required to bring proof of citizenship, and if 16 and over, a photo ID is also required.  Be sure every passenger has the right form of ID! If you arrive at the port and there is any question about your documentation you can be denied boarding. This is not covered by travel insurance and you will lose the entire cost of your cruise.


Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico  offers beautiful tropical beaches, snorkeling,a rain forest, rich historic cities and more.  As a territory of the U.S, a passport is not required for U.S. Citizens.


US Virgin Islands 

The US Virgin Islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix, are famous for their stunning beaches.  These Islands offer eco -dventures, kayaking, hiking, safari, food tours and more. Family groups can also hire small yachts, with or without a crew and create their own adventures snorkeling, diving and swimming in these crystal clear waters.

Key West, Florida - This is the only little piece of the Caribbean that Americans can drive to. Fly into Miami, rent a car and drive a few hours south and you'll swear you're in the islands.  Did you know that the Keys are home to the US’s only living coral barrier reef? The Florida Keys offer snorkeling, arts, culture, eco-tours, sport fishing, scuba diving and more.


Hawaii - Six amazing exotic and unique islands in the South Pacific are enough area to fill several family vacations!  Each island offers visitors it's own special beauty  and distinct personality, from Volcanoes, lush rain forests, waterfalls, whale watching,shopping areas, black sand beaches and more.  From big name resorts on Honolulu, Disney’s Aulani resort to small boutique locations for your family to be immersed in the island feel, Hawaii has much to offer. There are so many amazing places in Hawaii to visit that you'll want to see them all. The BEST way to experience all that Hawaii has to offer is with a Hawaiian cruise. It makes it easy to experience ALL the Islands in one trip without packing and unpacking.  Your cruise ship sails while you're asleep and you wake up in a new piece of paradise.

Rocky Mountains

from Denver to Salt Lake City, whether you’re into winter adventures or the great outdoors in the summer, the Rocky Mountains offer a scenic escape. The Rockies make for a fantastic road trip. It's easy drive for residents of New Mexico, Colorado, Montana,Wyoming, Utah, Washington, and Idaho. If you live on the coast, fly in and rent a car...or better yet, an RV for a luxury camping experience. 


U.S. River Cruises and Waterways

When most people think of River cruises, they think of Europe.  There are many unique river cruises and water way adventures right here in the U.S.....

  • Have you ever envied Huck Finn & Tom Sawyer’s view of the countryside from the great Mississippi river?   Enjoy the flavors, music, and culture of the deep south as you cruise from Minnesota to, Missouri or Tennessee to Louisiana.
  • Explore the Columbia and Snake Rivers from Portland, Oregon and cruise your way to an adventure thru the Cascade mountains full of fun adventures like hiking, biking and whitewater rafting.
  • Explore the Pacific North west and explore the San Juan islands, hike in rain forests and up mountains and paddle in Puget Sound on the lookout for Orcas.
  • Rent a houseboat and take your crew exploring Lake Mead
  • Take an expedition cruise in Alaska and immerse your family in the culture, traditions and  animals of this incredible wilderness with National Geographic naturalists.

There are plenty of amazing vacation experiences your family can enjoy with or without a passport.  If you need a little help or inspiration, schedule a complementary consultation with one of our Vacationkids travel agents. Our team has plenty of ideas that will save you hours of online searching.

Talk To A Family Travel Agent


Topics: Family Vacation Destinations

Mary Ellen Nunes

Written by Mary Ellen Nunes

Mary Ellen is our Vacationkids expert on all things Disney: From the parks to cruises and Disney's Adventure Bound vacations, Mary Ellen will help you plan your Disney vacation. She is also a Certified Family Travel Specialist from the Family Travel Association, having been helping families create amazing memories since 2014.

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