With its purple mountains majesty and fruited plains, the United States of America truly has a lot to offer when it comes to travel and exploration. So, you might ask, why do I even need a passport?
In 2015, it is estimated that less than 40 percent of Americans have a passport, which means that more than 60 percent of the people in the U.S. can’t even leave the country if they wanted to! The U.S. is a great place to start your travel career, with its coasts, volcanoes, glaciers, and mountains. BUT, venturing outside its borders is the first step to opening up a million and one possibilities for your future, all around the world.
Why is a passport the key to your future? Read on to find out!
1. Your passport opens doors, 147 doors, to be exact.
Most people don't know that the United States passport is tied with the United Kingdom's passport as the number one "strongest passport" in the world. This means that Americans can visit 147 countries throughout the world with ease, often without needing a visa at all or by simply obtaining a visa upon arrival.
This freedom is not available to everyone around the world. For example, citizens of Nepal can only access 38 countries easily, and those from the Solomon Islands are in worse luck, with the ability to travel to only 28 countries without a long visa process.
The point is, Americans take the power of their passport for granted; instead of seeing it as the key that literally unlocks doors at the border of 147 countries.
2. "Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport."
There's nothing like having an epic travel memory as a souvenir to last your whole life! Whether it's that time you went cliff jumping into the clearest, turquoise water in Thailand or saw Da Vinci's Mona Lisa with your own eyes at the Louvre in Paris, the stories you'll be able to tell after you've used your passport will be stories you keep for a lifetime.
3. "Home is wherever your passport is."
Using your passport to travel is one way to guarantee having friends all around the world. You'll get used to the airports, trains, and hotels, and eventually you'll seek out experiences that let you dive below the surface of a culture and get in touch with the local people around you.
The more time you spend outside your home country, the more you'll begin to notice how you can make most places feel like home, by surrounding yourself with great people, no matter where you are. You will plug into local activities and groups, and you might even make a new best friend in your hostel's common room.
4. It broadens your mind.
Having a passport provides you with the opportunity to experience the world first hand, not just by what you see in the media. Building relationships with the people you meet along the journey, immersing yourself in the culture, and creating a personal connection with each new place all help you see the world more clearly from radically different perspectives. Plus, you won’t get stuck with tunnel vision; you’ll start to focus on new and unfamiliar areas around the world that pique your curiosity.
5. There is no better way to learn.
Sitting in a classroom reading a textbook or in front of a computer taking an online course can get pretty boring at times.
Your passport is your ticket to an entire world of knowledge unfolding right in front of your eyes!
Learning about the history, culture, language, geography in a foreign country or city is so much more interesting than learning in a classroom or behind a computer screen. You'll even learn how to connect with people who might seem different from you and get around tricky language barriers along the way.
6. It's the best way to mix things up.
Everyone needs the occasional break from the standard everyday routine. It can be easy to get stuck in a rut when you go through the same motions every day, and traveling is one of the best remedies to break that routine, have an adventure, and challenge yourself to be creative, decisive, and confident.
Having a passport makes it possible for you to get outside the borders of your home country and be free to explore the world!
7. You'll be ready to travel at all times
A friend invites you to backpack around Europe? Want to take a gap year to travel before you start college? Win an exotic trip to surf camp in Costa Rica? Whatever the reason, having a passport makes last minute getaways possible.
Advice from the Passport Experts
If you don't already have a passport, it could take four to six weeks after you apply to receive it, or you will have to pay an additional $60 to get it expedited. Even in that case, it could still take up to three weeks to receive your passport, so playing it safe and applying for your passport today will come in handy! It is never too early to secure the key to your future!
If you are ready to begin your travels and aren’t sure where you want to go, check out GoAbroad’s High School Programs Abroad directory to browse through travel opportunities.