According to the US Census, in the year 2016 about 36% of Americans keep a current passport. Believe it or not, that number is higher than in past years. This means that 64% of Americans did NOT keep a current passport in 2016. This means that 64% of Americans could not fly to Canada or Mexico and were virtually stuck within the 50 states and the US territories.
While I can argue the benefits of traveling outside the USA, such as:
- expanding your mind by experiencing other cultures and languages
- experiencing international cuisine
- appreciating the many diverse people that share our world
The fact is, there are many people who have absolutely no interest whatsoever in stepping foot outside the USA. I am trying to help change that mentality by sharing my travel experiences in this blog, but there will always be a significant percentage of Americans who will never see Mexico,or the Caribbean, or Europe, or Thailand and they are okay with it.
If you are not interested in traveling outside the US, should you apply for a passport?
My answer? Yes, you should still apply for a passport. For a number of reasons:
- Some day, you may be suddenly interested in traveling outside the USA. Especially if you see a deal where you can book a round trip ticket to Paris for less than $300, but you have to book specific dates and you have a limited time to book the tickets, and you have no passport? That can be trouble.
- If you’re single you might happen to meet your special someone who is from another country. He or She may be temporarily visiting the USA or you may meet him or her online. It would be ideal to have a passport if you want to pay him or her a visit
- Applying for a passport is easy. Not any harder than applying for a Driver’s License, and no road test. You just fill out an application, submit a passport photo, and a check to your local post office. It can take a few weeks for a few months for your passport to arrive. The passport is good for 10 years (5 years for children)
- Back-up! As in back-up ID. I recall losing my Drivers License the day I was to drive down to Las Vegas and check into my Hotel room. I was devastated because without ID, there was no checking in to the hotel room, but then I remembered that I had my passport. I took that down with me instead and was able to check into my room. I had to drive carefully and not speed so I wouldn’t be caught driving without a license, but at least I could check into my room.
Of course there are many more reasons why you should keep a current passport, but the above reasons are convincing enough, especially the last bullet point.