Many people ask:

Where can I travel without a passport?

Is there anything better than that last-minute, get-outta-town plan with no stressing about where you put your important documents this time?

Here is a list of places to travel without a passport that can make this a reality.

There’s nothing better than throwing your bikini or ski gear into a bag and heading off on an adventure.

Not having a passport isn’t a barrier to you getting to somewhere exotic or interesting.

Here at Exceptional Villas, we have compiled a list of the fabulous and diverse destinations that await your adventurous nature. Here we go…

There are many places to travel without a passport that are yet to be discovered by you.

US Virgin Islands – Tropical Splendour

As winter is drawing in, let’s look at some tropical places to travel without a passport.

You will only need to live through a gruesome East Coast winter to understand the thrill of jumping on a flight to somewhere hot and tropical.

One of the best tropical vacations without passport has to be a trip to the US Virgin Islands.  In approximately 4 hours, you can fly from the NYC area non-stop to the fabulous St Thomas nestled in your own private Virgin Islands Villa by the warm Caribbean Sea.

The US Virgin Islands, previously a colony of the Dutch, Danish and Norwegian nations, have a fascinating history with old buildings and fortifications like Blackbeard’s Castle still in existence.

The hilly volcanic nature of the islands, make it a most picturesque place to explore in between some world-class sunbathing on St Thomas’s Magens Bay.

Or perhaps snorkel along Trunk Bay or Maho Bay Beach as you stay in St John villas.  The many beaches of St Croix offer secluded or buzzy beach experiences too.

Where can I travel without a passport? Why not visit the US Virgin Islands with listening turquoise waters and sandy beaches!

Cruise ships love to stop over on St Thomas as the Duty Free shopping is a huge attraction for the passengers.

Take a short hop over to St John if you want to side-step the bustle of the cruise tourists.  The islands have annual temperatures rarely dropping below 78 degrees, so there is consistent warm and glorious climate all year round.

Don’t spend all winter wrapped up against the wind chill factor, get on a plane and do what the smart geese do … fly south!


Hawaii – Aloha Aloha – Hi and Goodbye!

It seems pretty obvious to mention the amazing islands of Hawaii as exotic places to travel without a passport but I am always compelled to include them for various reasons.

First of all, there are 8 main islands in this archipelago of over 130 islands.  The islands are, in fact, the tip tops of the highest mountains in the world, most of which are submerged beneath the Pacific Ocean.

The lush and tropical climate hovers in the 70-85-degree temperature range making it wonderfully warm and comfortable for exploring, beach life and generally relaxing.

Travel without passports is easy, especially when making your way to the serene paradise we call Hawaii, Aloha!

Second, did you know that one-third of all the pineapples in the world are harvested in Hawaii?

This will be no surprise as you will find this delicious fruit (technically it’s a cluster of berries) accompanies some of the best cuisine and beverages on the islands.

At Exceptional Villas we have some fabulous Hawaiian Villas that can become your home from home.  We are particularly fond of the luxury villas Kauai has to offer.  There is a hammock with your name on it, just waiting for you!

Each one of the islands has its own unique personality and your ‘no passport’ vacation experience can include some island hopping to take in all of the diversity of the US’s 50th State.

Never underestimate the beauty of these islands.

Perhaps it’s their unique geographical location making them the most isolated population centre on the face of the earth (2,390 miles from California; 3,850 miles from Japan; 4,900 miles from China; and 5,280 miles from the Philippines) that contributes to the matchless experience.

The Hawaiian alphabet may only contain a mere 12 letters but they all spell ‘sublime’!

At 5 hours from LAX to Honolulu, you can so easily get away from the everyday USA experience.  Aloha!


Puerto Rico – Caribbean Magic

Puerto Rico is a unique Caribbean vacation destination.

Lying a mere 1,000 miles southeast of Miami, it is a fabulous destination for US citizens looking for that warm and tropical getaway.  This Unincorporated Territory of the United States allows free movement of tourists from mainland USA using a government approved proof of US citizenship.

The group of islands have a very Spanish flair referencing its past as a colony of the Spanish crown in the history of Puerto Rico.

The influences are still seen today in the place names, the language, the delicious foods and yummy tapas available from cute little restaurants throughout the old town of San Juan.

Puerto Rico is one of the places to travel without a passport that holds many new and exciting adventures

For the ultimate in castaway holiday magic, take the short boat trip (8 miles due east) of Puerto Rico’s main island to visit Isla de Vieques.

This extraordinary island is predominantly a protected wildlife refuge where horses roam free.  You can kayak through the bioluminescent waters of Mosquito Bay where microorganisms give the water a greeny-blue glow. This is only one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico!

Not surprisingly, in 2013 the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice award for Best Island in the Caribbean was granted to Vieques.  An accolade that it still richly deserves today.


Mariana Islands and Guam – Out of Conflict comes Calm

The last destinations that I am going to focus on that fall into the category of exotic vacations without passport are some military outposts across the far margins of the Pacific that have evolved over time into a fascinating tourist destination.

The Northern Mariana Islands and Guam are island outposts in the Philippine Sea.  Seemingly unremarkable little islands, they had the geographical misfortune to lie at the heart of some of the greatest naval and land battles of WWII.

For anyone with an interest in the tragic history of the Battle of Saipan or the two battles of Guam, there are war memorials on the islands and military fortifications – some still in use today – to remind us of this small US outpost keeping watch from the distant reaches of the Pacific.

In under 8 hours you can fly from Honolulu non- stop to Guam.

Make the decision now to travel without passports to the enchanted lands of Guam

Regardless of your interest in the military past of these tropical islands, there is a fabulously untouched quality to these pretty places.  Remote beaches, gorgeous coral reefs that create a calm lagoon, the local colour of the native life all adds to your adventure.  The world-famous Grotto along the Saipan coast, the largest of the Mariana Islands, is a diverse dream.

The perfectly blue underwater conditions light up incredible rock formations and colourful sea life.  These islands are part of what is called Micronesia.  You might have to look it up to really understand what that means in terms of both geography and culture but if you want a trip like no other, this might be the very destination for you.


I am now going to focus on places you can travel to without a passport without getting on a plane.  The contiguous USA enjoys land borders with two spectacular and wildly different countries.  Canada and Mexico.


Can you travel to Canada without a passport?

Yes!

Ever since the War of Independence, the US has been shrugging off its Englishness and embracing its unique multicultural personality.

If you’ve ever wondered what the US might have looked like if it left the British Monarchy as sovereign of its nation then a trip due North to Canada might give you a glimpse behind that veil.

Of course, it’s not all cucumber sandwiches and cricket in this gigantic and modern nation but there are some interesting historic places to visit.

If you are on the East Coast of the  US then an amazing roadtrip to embark on is a drive up through New York State, stopping over at Niagara Falls.  Spring and Fall are the least hectic times to visit the Falls and you can join a boat tour under the falls (Maid of the Mist) and visit Cave of the Winds.

The Falls form a natural border between the US and Canada.  And what a border!  Be prepared to be wowed by Mother Nature’s greatest floor show!

Can you travel to Canada without a passport? US Citizens can travel here easily, time to start packing!

Once you cross the border into Canada, it is less than 100 miles to Toronto.  This incredible city, sitting on the edge of Lake Ontario, is a hybrid of modern skyscrapers and old Englishness.  In the 1815, this city was known as York.  The name ‘Toronto’ derived from an old Huron road meaning ‘Plenty’ and it’s fair to say this is an excellent word to describe the myriad outdoors, historic and fun things awaiting in this vibrant city.

On the US West Coast, you can grab a ferry, train or drive due North from Washington State to enter Canada.  Vancouver seems to be the general destination for such trips but let me suggest you try White Rock, a seaside city just a few miles north of Blaine.  Or perhaps visit Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia lying just across the Puget Sound.

Lots of restaurants and theatres with its very own castle – Craigdarroch Castle – make this a fabulous weekend getaway.  Oscar Wilde may have said that England and the US were two countries divided by a common language but I think you’ll find more commonalities with your Northern cousins than you might expect while still enjoying a fresh new experience.

Visit the enchanting landmarks that Canada has to offer including this majestic and historical Castle.


Can you travel to Mexico without a passport?

Yes!

Now that we’ve covered off the serene destination that is Canada, let’s look at something quite different. In my opinion, one of the best places to vacation without a passport has to be Tijuana, Mexico.

A short drive from San Diego, and you will be transported into another world entirely, full of culture, delicious foods and Mexican beach houses.

There can be a lot of opinions on Mexico, most of which have been inflamed by Netflix’s desire to create popular shows that focus on drug cartels and violence.

There’s a great deal more to Mexico than this and Tijuana is a fun introduction to the authentic flavour of Mexico in a manageable bite.

Can you travel to Mexico without a passport? US Citizens can travel here easily, time to start packing!

Many thousands of US tourists make the border crossing each year.

Weekends in Tijuana being extremely popular for young travellers who want to enjoy a laid back vibe and party scene.  Tequila, craft beers, melt in the mouth tacos, music … it’s all waiting for you.

Art and design are two key features of this city whether you look for it in cool galleries or in the architecture.  Turista Libre is a great way to see the city.

Leap onto these old school buses / mobile bars and get a good understanding of Tijuana and its history and culture.  It’s a noisy, busy, fun place to visit.

The same rules of behaviour and safety apply here as they do back home.  It’s not some lawless outpost.  It’s a slice of a rich and ancient culture that you can enjoy!


Closed Loop Cruises

I like to call these Destination Window Shopping.  If you’ve never been on a cruise then one of the ‘closed loop’ cruises out of a US port is a good way to start.

Essentially, you begin and end your cruise in a US port and visit any number of destinations across the Caribbean.

This method of travel without passports is exciting as you get to experience more than one destination. What you soon discover on your trip, is that you spend a number of hours each day at a new and exciting destination.

Each evening you are back on board to dine and ready to travel to your next port of call.  Inevitably on your trip, you will feel that undeniable pang when your daily ration of hours has expired and it’s time to waive goodbye to some exotic island with the best Caribbean Beaches.

Where can I travel without a passport? Some Caribbean Islands are easy to visit without a passport on loop cruises

Once you visit the glorious islands of Barbados, Jamaica or the Bahamas you will surely be tempted to return to enjoy a longer vacation on these beautiful shores.

At Exceptional Villas, we offer the very best in private villas, fully staffed and ready to provide you with the most memorable and relaxing vacation ever.

We build the most bespoke vacation for you and your family so you can enjoy beach life, embrace the culture and life of the islands and generally step away from your hectic world back home.

As you flit from port to port on your cruise, you will be secretly compiling a list of gorgeous locations that will merit a full exploration by you in the near future.  Let Exceptional Villas guide you to the very best locations on these Caribbean paradises.


Conclusion

As you can see, there are many options for US citizens to travel without passports from mainland USA onto foreign and exotic shores.

I’ve listed here the best places to travel without a passport, so you can start your adventures immediately without having to get that passport issued or replaced.  The US is such a large country offering sun and snow, dessert and forest but sometimes, it can all just be a bit same-y.

It might be time, to reach a bit beyond your borders to see what’s happening in your neighbour’s yard.

There are many Places to travel without a passport as a US Citizen, its time to book your next getaway!

A word on documentation

Travelling into all the countries and territories listed above can be achieved using a Driver’s License.  If you wish to travel in and out of Canada or Mexico on a regular basis, then a NEXUS and SENTRI card serves both countries respectively.

Getting back into the US is the critical consideration when you travel across borders.  It is important that you can prove your US citizenship at the US border.  A Raised Seal birth certificate and a photo id (eg. Driver’s license) will provide adequate proof.

There are some visa requirements for some destinations but these can be transacted at the border.  It is always worthwhile checking with the relevant border authorities pre-travel as the legislation surrounding travel changes from time to time.  Bon Voyage!

About Mairead Moriarty

Born and raised in Co Kerry, lived in London, New York, San Francisco, Dublin. Owner of one very battered suitcase, a well-worn passport and a million memories. It seems very fitting for a travel writer that my surname translates as ‘Skilled Navigator’. Apart from an occasion when, aged 3, I got lost in a Supermarket in Tralee, I have managed to live up to my name! Curiosity is probably the driver that has sent me on magical mystery tours around the world. I want to ‘feel’ a place. I want all my senses to be engaged: from the history and geography that has influenced a country or city, the arts and achievements of its natives, anything and everything really. Regardless of whether I am on a local train travelling through Morocco, or poking around in Marconi’s study in Bologna or on a canal boat weaving through the heart of the English countryside, the same rules apply - ask questions, talk to locals, eat what they eat, sit quietly with nature and simply be. Assimilate as much as is possible so as to understand the soul of a place. That is my passion. That is the compass by which I navigate.

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