Longing for a long-distance getaway but don’t have a passport? No problem! We’ve found five faraway places overseas where, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, you won’t need to bring a passport.
The island of Puerto Rico (officially an unincorporated territory of the United States) has long been a favorite of travelers from the contiguous 48. Inexpensive airfare from Spirit, Southwest, and JetBlue makes Puerto Rico an economical option for East Coasters. And its Isla de Vieques, a TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2013 winner for best island in the Caribbean, offers visitors a bioluminescent bay to kayak and unspoiled beaches to explore. In a 2012 referendum on the territory’s political status, a record 61% of Puerto Rico’s voters were in favor of eventual statehood, so we may one day welcome the island as the 51st. Even so, right now, you can explore its wonders without a U.S. passport.
United States Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands lie mere minutes away from Puerto Rico by plane. Made up of three main islands—St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John—plus a scattering of smaller isles, the U.S.V.I. see some 2.6 million visitors each year. In fact, tourism and rum (things we think go very well together) make up the majority of the islands’ economy. Each island has its own unique appeal. St. John, with its national parkland and legendary diving, will charm true escapists. St. Thomas is a shopper’s dream, with countless boutiques and jewelers, as well as two bustling cruise terminals. And Dutch-flavored and diverse St. Croix is a favorite of luxury-seeking honeymooners. Find accommodations of every stripe, from St. Thomas’ smart Ritz-Carlton to the luxe and immersive Caneel Bay resort on St. John.
Note: Travelers will need to have a passport to visit the neighboring British Virgin Islands.