Wow, what a travel mess
The good news is that the requirement for a passport to return to the U.S. from Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean has been suspended until September 30, 2007. The bad news is that the rule was suspended because it we have an administrative mess on our hands from an overloaded passport-processing system.
Full disclosure: we need to renew all four passports in our family. To general disgust and dismay around the Seafarer/Fab Husband dining room table, however, we are not going to be able to afford to go anywhere outside of the U.S. for awhile (unless I score an incredibly lucrative writing gig somehow) so it’s a moot point. The expense of four renewals just can’t trump required purchases this summer like, oh, food (and my journey to Chicago in July to speak at the BlogHer blogging conference, of course. Let me hold on to my budgetary delusions, OK?)
Still, as a family that has lived and traveled internationally, I can tell you that once I left the Navy, I didn’t meet that many people who really paid attention to their passports or even had one. When the State Department began trumpeting this new rule last year and telling everyone to prepare, I shook my head and imagined chaos ahead.
It’s not that I’m some soothsayer, it’s just that people procrastinate before the unknown, and passports/international travel are an unknown to a lot of Americans. They seem to have forgotten that Canada, Mexico and most spots in the Caribbean are not in the United States (and anyway, they only saw glimpses of some of those places on day trips over the border or hopping off of a cruise ship for a few hours.)
Heck, folks from other countries have lost interest in visiting our country, and we can’t get in, either.