Earlier I wrote about the new passport regulations (which are constantly changing). Because of those new regulations, more people are applying for passports, and processing times on passport applications have gone from 4 to 6 weeks to 10 weeks or longer. Even if you pay for expedited passport processing there is a 4 week turnaround. You can go to http://travel.state.gov/ to get information about applying for a passport and to check the status of your passport application. http://travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.html provides information about the new passport regulations under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which covers travel from the U.S. to the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico and Canada.

Bottom line: if you’re anticipating travel out of the U.S. in the near future and you don’t yet have a passport, take the time to get one now!