A perfect storm is brewing that threatens to derail your summer travel plans—a perfect passport storm. First, the end of January saw new laws requiring everyone, including all US citizens, to obtain passports for US-based travel to Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Now the State Department warns that “passport processing times have increased due to high volume” and says it expects to issue a record 17 million passports this year, up from 12 million in 2006. The application cost for one expedited passport: $157. It’s surely an unwelcome add-on to the expensive, fuel-driven airfare you already paid for a little Caribbean beach time.
But the solution may be sunnier than you think. Between now and June 15, the Bahamas’ Nassau and Paradise Islands are footing the bill for two expedited US passports per family. Simply apply for your passports during that period and stay 2 nights at any of the islands’ 19 participating hotels between June 1 and September 30.
The islands’ clever website clearly explains the application and rebate processes and, on a beach-inspired background, instantly answers any remaining questions with a chat feature. The effect is calming; it’s a much friendlier—and craftier—approach than that of the US State Department.
By taking advantage of the offer, not only will you get your place in the sun, but you’ll also get a shiny, newly designed “American Icon” passport. And it’ll be quick and free, leaving you to focus on that Bahamavention of yours.