The United States is a larger landmass in comparison to Europe, which means that as a US citizen you can travel from one state to another in the same amount of time it may take to travel between two European countries. Since all 50 States are part of the United States of America, you do not need a passport to travel between states.
The US has also some territories in the Pacific Ocean that have some specific rules when it comes to traveling without a passport. Before 9/11, the travel requirements between the US, its territories, and its neighboring countries were laxer than today. Now, most of the time, you need to have a passport when traveling, but there are always a few exceptions.
Best Places to Travel Without a US Passport
You can travel without a passport in the following countries:
- Puerto Rico
- US Virgin Islands
- Northern Mariana Islands
- American Samoa
Please keep in mind that usually traveling without a passport in these countries and US territories is valid only by land or sea, and if you travel directly there, you still need to have some type of valid identification to enter those places.
You do not need a passport to enter Puerto Rico. This tropical island is located in the Caribbean, about 1,000 miles away from southeast Florida, and you can visit anytime as long as you have a valid ID card or birth certificate. Even if you are not a US citizen but a legal permanent resident, you can still enter without a passport.
While you are in Puerto Rico, you can visit some of the best beaches in the world, enjoy a variety of water sports, go on hiking trails, and you can even take a kayak to Mosquito Bay where the water glows. All in all, Puerto Rico is the ideal destination for a vacation if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of applying for a passport.
US Virgin Islands
This group of islands is also located in the Caribbean and to enter there you won’t need a passport- of course, you still need a type of valid ID document when you travel. The US Virgin Islands have been a part of the US since 1917 when Denmark sold it to the US, and today you can visit the archipelago and enjoy your holiday there.
During your holiday, you can visit three of the largest islands; St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John. There are a variety of activities you can do; from visiting the Virgin Islands National Park up to snorkeling in the Trunk Bay.
Northern Mariana Islands
Northern Mariana Islands are a separate territory of the US located in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. There are 14 islands in the archipelago, with Guam being the southernmost island, but an independent territory. Because the islands are US territory, you won’t need a passport to enter and exit the archipelago. Similar, to the other US territories, you still need to have a valid ID card or a birth certificate.
Some of the most visited islands include Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, with Saipan being the largest island. Between these islands, you can see some pretty amazing sights, such as Micro Beach, Mount Topachau, Banzai Cliff, and many historical sights.
Another incredible destination for a vacation without a passport is American Samoa. This US territory is made up of several islands, surrounded by some incredible sights. However, this territory is one of the most difficult to reach since flights there are rare and usually you have to enter via Honolulu, Hawai’i.
Located in the North Pacific Ocean, US citizens can enter the island without a passport, provided they have proof of citizenship or valid ID. This is one of the most populous islands of the Mariana Islands and is ideal for a summer holiday.
The island is home to some of the best beaches in the world, including Ypao Beach Park, and it has a great climate. Additionally, it has a rich cultural heritage and history and you can even visit two different warships deep in the ocean- relics from World War I and World War II.
You can visit Canada without a passport if you are traveling by land or sea. However, you need a passport card or a NEXUS card. A NEXUS card is a type of traveling document that allows you to travel through the Canadian border through an expedited procedure. This is a joint program between Canada and the US, so the application process to get a NEXUS card is overviewed by both countries.
If you fly over to Canada, you cannot enter the country with only a passport card, you need a passport or a NEXUS travel document.
Since the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, you can enter Mexico without a passport as long as you have a passport card or an enhanced driver’s license (EDLs). An EDLs is a travel document that proofs your identity and your US citizenship and makes your travel experience easier and faster when you enter Mexico by land or by sea. You can even use your EDL to enter Canada or other US territories in the Caribbean.
Additionally, children under 16 can travel to Mexico without a passport using only their birth certificates (applicable only to travel by land).
Since Alaska is a part of the US, you don’t need a passport to enter the state. However, if your flight is a layover in Canada, you need a passport when you arrive at the airport.
If you are going on a closed-loop cruise that travels in the Western Hemisphere and that leaves from the same port and returns to the same port, then you don’t need a passport- a valid ID suffices. However, make sure that the cruise won’t be entering other countries or territories outside of the US that might require a passport.