As the travel industry has made a giant comeback this year, some travelers haven’t been able to travel abroad as planned.
There has been a cog in the system for passport processing all year long. Some travelers have resulted to canceling their trips entirely to no fault of their own, simply because their passports didn’t arrive on time.
A historic amount of passport applications have been sent in starting after the COVID-19 pandemic, with travelers saying, “Get me out of here!”.
With over 140 countries now welcoming U.S. passports visa-free, travelers are chomping at the bit to get out and explore the world. Unfortunately, there have been some untimely snags causing a giant travel headache.
Even expedited service isn’t very expedited. As predicted earlier this year, the State Dept. warned the situation could ‘get worse’. The current wait times, according to MarketWatch, are:
- 10 to 13 weeks (regular service)
- 7 to 9 weeks (expedited service)
This doesn’t even factor in the time it takes to go through snail mail either. It’s safe to expect an additional 2 to 3 days on top of processing times.
Travelers are fed up with being left twiddling their thumbs with delay after delay. Some are even booking trips to Caribbean islands where Americans don’t need a passport, as a loophole.
A new study reported that travelers in 5 states are experiencing more difficulties with passport delays than the other 45. It’s frustrating for everyone, but travelers in these 5 states are the most affected:
5 States Affected The Most
If any travelers live in any of the following 5 states, they have already been through a whirlwind of emotions trying to get a passport, or they are well on their way if they are in the beginning stages.
The states most affected by passport delays are: (in order from least to most)
- North Carolina
This isn’t to say that travelers in less populated states, such as Alaska and Wyoming, aren’t affected too. It’s all 50.
Although, according to the study, both North Dakota and South Dakota, along with Wyoming, have submitted the least amount of passport applications.
Places such as California and Texas are 2 of the most populated states in the country, so it’s only natural for there to be more backlogs.
What’s interesting is this problem stemmed from the pandemic, and the 2 major states handled the pandemic with completely different approaches.
Now they find themselves in the same boat with no end in sight. It’s not like travelers are going to suddenly not want to travel internationally.
If that were the case, travelers would not be spending hours on the phone on hold desperately wanting an update when they see their application status stuck with the dreaded label of ‘in processing’.
For first-time applicants, they may want to check out a passport fair held by the USPS to see if they can help.
Can Travelers Recoup Money From A Cancelled International Trip?
As some travelers find themselves having no choice but to cancel their international travel plans, that’s a tough pill to swallow financially.
This year has seen travel prices soar, whether it’s flights, accommodations, and even rental cars.
Imagine having all 3 of these booked, but you don’t have the right documents to board your flight.
Hopefully, at least the hotel or rental car may have flexible cancellation options. It’s the flight that can typically be a huge loss.
Some travelers have eaten the cost as they had no other choice but does travel insurance cover this passport fiasco?
The answer is both yes and no. There is no specific category such as “Passport Delays” when purchasing an insurance policy.
There is, however, ‘Cancel For Any Reason’ coverage. These policies typically cost more. Travelers will most likely be able to recoup their money as long as they have this coverage 3 weeks before the departure date.
Always read the fine print. That’s why it’s important to take all of this information and make the best decision before booking your trip.
In fact, it might be best to have your passport in hand before booking international travel this year.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com