But if you're a U.S. citizen and don't yet have a passport, you can still travel to a tropical paradise like Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii. These destinations, you will need only a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license.
Here's a brief overview of these beach destinations in the U.S. and its territories. Click any destination for a list of resorts there, and a fast online quote, with or without airfare.
The U.S. Virgin Islands are in the eastern Caribbean, about 1,100 miles southeast of Miami, FL. Its three beautiful islands -- St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix -- offer something for everyone, from secluded beaches and lush rain forests to world-class, duty-free shopping.
On St. Thomas, you can explore Charlotte Amalie, the bustling capital, or head to heart-shaped Magens Bay, which is frequently labeled one of the world's most beautiful beaches and is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Take the St. Thomas Skyride to Paradise Point for sweeping views of Charlotte Amalie and its harbor.
St. John is a short ferry ride from St. Thomas. Two-thirds of it is dedicated to Virgin Islands National Park, with white-sand beaches, scenic hiking trails, swaying palm trees and sheltered bays. The park service has established an underwater snorkeling trail at the beach at Trunk Bay.
St. Croix, the largest of the three islands, offers 18th- and 19th-century plantation homes, sugar mills and the Cruzan Rum Distillery.
Puerto Rico, an island territory of the United States, boasts centuries-old cathedrals, seaside promenades and natural attractions like the El Yunque rain forest.
San Juan, the Puerto Rican capital, is a popular tourist hub with fine dining, shopping, colonial architecture and casinos. Its historic quarter, Old San Juan, is a picturesque district of narrow cobblestone streets and plazas. At the eastern tip of the island, Fajardo boasts a large boating community, which means excellent sailing for visiting mariners.
Snorkeling and scuba diving are popular in Isabela on the northwest coast. On the southern coast, charming Ponce features well-preserved neoclassical architecture, streets lighted by gas lamps and a beautiful main plaza.
Rio Grande is the gateway to the 28,000-acre El Yunque, a paradise for nature lovers and wildlife watchers. Seven miles east of Puerto Rico's eastern shore is Vieques Island, home to a national wildlife refuge. Rincon on the west coast is popular among surfers. Añasco, Caguas, Dorado and Humacao round out Puerto Rico's beach resorts.
Hawaii is America's own tropical paradise, where a warm, welcoming "aloha" awaits visitors to the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Kauai, Oahu and Lanai.
On the island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island, steam vents hiss and currents of lava flow at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. On Maui, visitors can browse the shops and art galleries of Lahaina, a former whaling town, or follow the narrow, twisting road to Hana, a spectacular scenic route.
Lush green mountains and exotic flora give Kauai its nickname, the “Garden Isle.” You can take a boat tour up the Wailua River, soar over the jagged green cliffs of the Na Pali Coast in a helicopter or, from December to May, watch humpback whales return to the Pacific for calving season.
Oahu is home to Honolulu, the cosmopolitan Hawaiian capital. Waikiki Beach is lined with resorts that draw sun-worshippers from around the world. Tiny, low-key Lanai offers a variety of outdoor activities, crystal-clear waters and quiet beaches.
So apply for your passport when you get home...use it on the next vacation - for this one, just have fun