Summer is over, and this is perhaps the best time to get—or renew—your passports . Last year, the U.S. State Department issued 14 million passports. Even with that number, remarkably few Americans actually have a passport. It’s about 37 percent of the population. Now is the time to get one because the waiting times are much shorter in the fall—only about four weeks. During peak summer months, the wait has been as long as 16 weeks, and that’s longer than summer itself! Plus, passports are good for ten years, so it’s the best travel investment you can make. When applying for a passport, don’t ask for the regular size, which is 28 pages. Request the larger version, which has 52 pages. Why? Because even though the passport lasts ten years, once you fill those pages, the State Department will no longer insert additional pages. You’ll need to get a new passport.
Also, remember that many countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within the next six months, no matter how many empty pages are left. Speaking of empty pages, at least one country has an absurd rule. South Africa insists that if you don’t have at least two blank pages in your passport you will not be admitted to the country.