As the temperature starts to dip to the colder side, the temptation to pack a swimsuit and hit sandy shores is one that we understand. While there is nothing wrong with shorter days and cooler nights, who can resist the sugary sandy stretches of an island paradise?
However, if you don’t have a passport or it’s expired, you may think you are stuck only dreaming of a warm getaway. But no need to fret as enjoying a beach vacay sans a passport is possible. The only question is where to go. “Look for places that offer a different culture, like Hawaii or Guam,” says Richard Cantave, Chief Vacation Officer at Haitian Nomad. And forget about trying to figure out the best day to book for the best price; the rules have changed. The key is to set an alert, says Cantave.
Start by finding a flight based on your schedule. “Then go on Google Flights and set an alert for that flight, and you will receive daily reminders, so you can see if the price is going up or down,” he says. You can then book once the flight is in the range you want to spend.
Here is a list of places to add to your google flight alerts that you can travel to without a passport.
The Sunshine State has options far more than just a beach vacation, but if you are in the mood for sugary white sands, head to Siesta Key Beach, which has been voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Or head to Key West in October, where you can check out Fantasy Fest every fall—a 10-day celebration with parades, pool parties, body painting, karaoke, and more.
While known for amusement parks like Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando, you can opt to take in some history and tasty bites. Tampa offers Hyde Park or a trolley ride to the old Cigar Capital of The World Ybor City, where you will find the state’s oldest restaurant, Columbia, serving up Spanish-Cuban cuisine.
The only caveat is that hurricane season runs from June to the end of November. So consider getting flight and/or travel insurance. “I would not recommend anyone fly without some kind of insurance, especially with all of the delays right now,” says Cantave. While flight insurance can cover cancellations, you should also consider travel insurance for things like lost luggage. “But also, look into your credit card policies because some have certain travel insurance benefits,” he says.
While you may automatically think of San Juan when PR crosses your mind, this U.S. territory has much more to offer. For example, Flamenco Beach which is considered among the top ten beaches globally. However, it isn’t for those looking to party hard as it’s light on the luxury hotels, casinos, or crowds. Still, it is dreamy and as beautiful as a postcard. You may also want to check out Culebra, a small island surrounded by more than 20 cays filled with beautiful marine life, perfect for beach lovers and those who love to snorkel.
U.S. Virgin Islands
The USVI has three main islands: St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix, each with a unique vibe. As of June 1, all COVID-19 entry requirements were dropped, meaning passengers are no longer required to complete a screening portal. In addition to offering delicious food, the islands are also popular wedding and honeymoon destinations. For those looking for a bit of adventure, you can hike and enjoy the stunning views, dive in azure waters and glide through the tropical breeze as you windsurf. For an authentic experience, visit during Carnival, which takes place on all three of the main islands. This year St. Croix’s Carnival will commence in December and honors the Crucian Christmas and New Year.
Located in the North Pacific Ocean and 5,800 miles west of San Francisco is the beautiful crystal clear waters of the island of Guam. The climate stays constant, ranging from 70 to 90 °F making it a true tropical paradise. This exotic destination will keep you busy, but you can just relax and check out thriving coral reefs visible up to 150 feet at places like Tumon or Pitti Bomb. In addition to its stunning shores, you can indulge in its 4,000-year history by visiting one of its 130 historical sites, like the Pacific War Museum, where you can learn about the island’s essential key role in World War II.
The Golden State, as it’s been nicknamed since 1968, offers more than just earthquakes and Hollywood elite. It is also a place that has beautiful beach towns like Santa Cruz, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and Laguna Beach. Visit Santa Cruz for hiking in Cowell State Park, roller coaster rides at the Beach Boardwalk, fresh seafood, and shopping at the wharf, or take a 35-mile ride to Pigeon Point Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse on the West Coast of the United States built in 1871 to guide ships.
If surfing, biking, libraries, and museums are more of your thing, then Carmel-by-the-Sea is the place for you. And while you can enjoy the sea caves of Laguna Beach, the city has more than 20,000 acres of protected wilderness to explore. So, in addition to flip flops, don’t forget hiking boots.
There couldn’t possibly be a round-up of passport-free beach trips without the mention of Hawaii. You can head to Haleiwa if you want to have your surfing skills tested as well as enjoy galleries and restaurants. Or there is Kauai, where there are breathtaking mountain views, sea cliffs, and sandy beaches. If freshwater rivers are more your speed, then Waikiki Beach, Oahu, is where you need to book your trip. Located on the south shore of Honolulu, the main strip of Kalakaua Avenue, is where you’ll be able to shop, dine and find entertainment.