Don't wait to get passports for 2008 travel

If you've been following the aftermath of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, the new law requiring passports for people traveling by air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean, you know about the panic-inducing, vacation-threatening, extra-long wait times that have characterized the application process for most of 2007.

But now, the long wait times are creeping back down as the immediate demand wanes, so if you're planning on traveling internationally next year and need to get a passport, this fall is the perfect time to apply. SmarterTravel.com Associate Editor Sarah Pascarella reported last month on the New York Times note that passport times were improving, and now, according to Travel Weekly (registration required), the Department of State is advising travelers to apply soon.

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Even if you're not traveling until later in 2008, it's worth it to apply for a new passport or passport renewal this fall. That way, you can skip the last-minute anxiety of wondering whether your passport will come in time, because your application won't be part of next year's Department of State passport bottleneck.

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