Places To Visit Before They Disappear

Paris, France. A city of beauty, art, music, and cuisine. Paris has been around for years and has cemented itself as the number one tourist spot in the world, and will probably hold that title for years to come… It’s nice, yeah, but it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. So what about all of those niche travel spots that might not be around in the future? They say that the polar bears will go extinct soon so may as well catch a glimpse so you can brag to the grandkids someday. Today we’ll be looking at some places that you can currently go to today but may not be able to in the future. We’ll also be going over how to attain a new passport or passport renewal at the end, so if you’re in need stick with us until the end!

Notre-Dame Cathedral

On April 15th the Notre-Dame Cathedral caught fire while undergoing various restoration projects. The fire was linked to the restoration attempts and as I write this the fires rage on. The verdict is yet to be out on whether the Cathedral will remain open following this disaster, or whether the monument will even survive. If you are currently in Paris I’d urge you to catch a glimpse of this architectural marvel on the off chance that things go south during future restoration attempts.

Komodo Dragons on Komodo Island. See them today when you apply for a new passport.

Komodo Island

Komodo Island is known for its large acid breathing lizards. No, not Godzilla, but the native komodo dragon. Unfortunately a few folks who like potentially deadly overgrown lizards decided they should smuggle a few off the island which has ignited a bit of a crisis in Indonesia which administers Komodo Island. The government of Indonesia has decided to place a temporary ban on entrance into Komodo Island beginning in 2020 while they implement measures to help preserve the endangered Komodo Dragon. Unfortunately for those of us who like to travel, this means we won’t be able to engage with one of Indonesia’s hottest tourist spots come next year. Fortunately for those reading this in 2019, you still have a few months to book a trip and get over there before the island is indefinitely closed to the public.

Should you make the trip this year you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of ways you can approach the island. If you’d like to get more intimate with the island there are several Indonesian based tour companies that will take you to explore the entire island chain. That’s right it’s more than one island, three to be exact. These tours will take you through walking tours of the islands’ native flora and fauna, chances are you’ll even get with in walking distance of a komodo dragon. If walking isn’t your thing the islands are also a great place to dive, and most tours include this in the package. For those who just want a glimpse before moving on, a few cruise lines including Viking Cruises take a route which begins in Australia and has a day long stop on Komodo island for sightseeing.

The Great Barrier Reef

No fluff here, ocean pollution is a problem. Our ever rising population has led to record high levels of consumption which produces a load of pollution. Coral, those colorful rocks which dot reefs, are actually animals and not plants like some may think. Coral is more sensitive than a middle schooler who didn’t get asked to the dance, even touching coral can cause it’s structure to break down due to the natural acidity of the human body. With this in mind, the ever changing climate and acidity level of the ocean coupled with the trash collected in our oceans has led to massive coral die offs the world over. This includes one of the most iconic reefs in the world, The Great Barrier Reef. In fact, over half  of the reef has been reported to have died since as 2016. For those who aren’t familiar with the death of natural ecosystems; that’s fast. Unfortunately coral reefs take decades to form as the hard coral we think of is actually build up of the dead animal organism that actually is the coral.

So, what’s a traveler to do with a rapidly dying ecosystem on the verge of collapse? Typically if you want to see the Great Barrier Reef you begin your journey in Australia which officially administers the reef. From there you’ll most likely have to join one of the many tours that visit the reef every year. Since the reef has been such a money maker for travel agencies over the years a litany of companies offer tours for everyone’s budget. Make sure you have your passport before booking your trip, as you’ll need it to enter Australia. If you have a passport but it’s running low on pages or is expiring soon, consider applying for a passport renewal. Regardless, once you do make it to the reef you’ll probably be looking at it in one of two ways. If you enjoy snorkeling/scuba, many tours will gladly provide you with diving gear to get intimate with the reef’s inhabitants. Be warned, the reef’s inhabitants include a few species of sharks, so if you watched Jaws as a child and are still scarred perhaps our next option is more your speed. For those who suffer from acute aquaphobia, you still have the option of viewing the reef from a glass bottom boat. These boats are exactly what they sound like, boats with a transparent glass bottom that allow it’s riders to look down and enjoy the sights of the reef without any close encounters with hammerheads. Either way, head to The Great Barrier reef before all of the once vibrant coral turns a bleached white.

Italy's Venetian canals. Enjoy the beauty of Italy when you apply for a new passport.

Venice, Italy

Italy itself is known for being a large tourist destination with a wide range of cities, From Rome to Venice– Oh yeah, Venice might not be around in the future. This is also linked to human pollution, and more importantly, climate change. With the increasing climate comes rising sea levels. For those of you unfamiliar with the Italian city of Venice, the locale is known for the canals that criss-cross through the city. The waterways make travel by boat in the city viable, and for many it’s actually the preferred mode of transport through the city as the entire city is actually located on a series of small islands which are connected by a series of bridges. Naturally, the combination of it’s scenic waterways and being in Italy has made Venice a popular tourist spot.

With the rising sea levels however, it’s likely that soon travel by boat will be the only method of travel in the future as the sea may soon overtake pedestrian walkways. Climate change may not be the only culprit however, some researchers site shifting tectonic plates as one of the reasons the lagoon may soon disappear. This makes the issue plaguing venice a combination problem; the island itself is sinking while the sea around it is rising. If the local government doesn’t begin to look into solutions the entire city is slated to be underwater by the year 2100. However if things are heading that way in the near future it’s entirely possible that the city is instead evacuated rather than an actual fix being implemented. With all of that taken into consideration, it may be a good idea to head over sooner rather than later. Trust me, a gondolier ride through the thriving city of Venice is a lot more romantic than a gondolier ride through the half sunken remains of Venice.

Island Power Hour

All this talk of sinking cities has got me thinking of all the small scenic islands that may go the way of the dodo once sea levels rise too much. Instead of going in depth with all of these individual islands I’ve decided to group them together for the sake of time. Let’s first start with a list of all islands at risk of being swallowed by the sea:

  • The Maldives
  • Micronesia
  • Tuvalu
  • Fiji
  • Seychelles
  • Torres Strait
  • Palau
  • Republic of Kiribati
  • Samoa
  • Nauru
  • Marshall Islands
  • Solomon Island

Now, some of these aren’t islands but rather a series of islands called an archipelago. Fiji, for example, is an archipelago that contains about 330 islands. Some, like Tuvalu are comprised of as few as 9 islands, all of which are slated to disappear within the next few decades. Those of you out there with particularly sensitive FOMO senses may feel a bit tingly right now. Worry not, even though Tuvalu is a prime candidate to join the “hello I’m underwater” club there is also some evidence to show that it’s growing as fast as it’s sinking which may save it if climate change efforts around the world strengthen within the coming years.

Don’t think you can rest peacefully with the knowledge that these islands will most definitely exist in the coming decades. So far Tuvalu appears to be the only island outgrowing the threat of rising sea levels. If you haven’t visited any of the locations listed above consider an island hopping adventure to cross off as many as possible in a single go, you don’t have much time after all. Like with most forms of international travel you’ll need an active passport. If you don’t have a passport you’ll have to apply for a new passport. If you currently have a passport but lack the pages to visit all the islands on this list consider you can apply for a passport renewal.

The Arctic Circle

Now we get to talk about polar bears! All water contributing to rising sea levels has to come from somewhere, and the arctic circle is one of those places. Rising temperature means the ice that usually sits quite comfortably up at the north pole is melting at alarming rates. Currently NASA is claiming that arctic ice is decreasing by an alarming 13% a decade. This has several unfortunate consequences in The Arctic Circle. For example, unlike its sister pole in the south, The Arctic Circle doesn’t sit on any land. For example, let’s say that all the ice in Antarctica melts… Well, for one, everyone living on an island is probably screwed. HOWEVER, the good news is that under all that ice is a solid piece of land, so species like the penguin may not go completely extinct should a mass melting happen simply because they’ll have somewhere to be.

Polar bears may not be so lucky. Under the massive ice sheets of the north pole is… Nothing but ocean. While some land masses like Greenland and some of Canada’s northern territories extend into The Arctic Circle, they don’t make up a large part of the Polar Bear’s habitat. In other words, once all the ice up north melts the polar bears will either go extinct or be forced to move further south. Unlike their more common relatives like the black bear, polar bears are massive, about two to three times more massive than a black bear. So while the black bear has thrived in human inhabited areas due to it’s relatively small and non-threatening stature as well as its ability to scavenge, it’s unlikely the much more aggressive polar bear will be met with much acceptance if it’s forced to enter human cities to find food.

As far as visiting The Arctic Circle goes you’ll probably be heading there via boat or cruise ship. Cruises typically include excursions such as polar bear and whale watching. Naturally there are no airports located in The Arctic Circle because it’s mostly ice, hardly anyone lives there, and hardly any able bodied tourist wants to go there. There are some fly over tours that begin in Alaska and then head north to give passengers an aerial view of The Arctic Circle. Unfortunately no matter how you approach an arctic tour it’s going to cost you in the thousands, so maybe skip this spot and catch a polar bear in the zoo if that’s out of the realm of possibility for you.

That’s All! But What If You Still Need A Passport?

That’s all folks! I hope you enjoyed the read. Perhaps you noticed that all locations listed are outside the USA, this doesn’t exclude the USA from losing land to the sea however, in fact everyone’s favorite state Florida may lose a large portion of land to the sea in the future. However, if you’ve been to Florida and want to explore outside of the country you’ll need a passport! Lucky for you we’ve been helping travel lovers acquire passports for years, click here and check out our website for more info. Whether it be new passport, passport renewal, or replacing a lost/stolen passport, we’ve got you covered.

Passport Renewal for Families

Is it time for your family to renew their passports? Keeping in mind the State Department’s requirements for different age groups will make the process go more smoothly for each member of the family.

 

Passport Renewal for Adults

 

Adults are eligible to renew their passports by mail as long as all of the following conditions are met:

 

The current passport was issued when the adult was 16 years or old or older

The current passport was issued less than 15 years ago

The current passport has not been lost, stolen or damaged.

Legal proof can be provided for any name changes since the last passport was issued.

 

To renew by mail, send in your old passport, one photo and a completed renewal application form, along with the appropriate fees.

 

Passport Renewal for Children Younger Than 16

 

Children younger than 16 are not eligible to renew by mail, and must appear in person at a designated passport acceptance facility (like a post office). To get your child’s passport renewed, both parents need to appear in person with proof of identity, proof of their relationship to the child and proof of the child’s US citizenship. For most families, a birth certificate can be used for proof of relationship and proof of citizenship. However, other options for proof of relationship include an adoption decree or court order establishing guardianship. For proof of citizenship, children adopted from a foreign country will need a certificate of citizenship.

 

If both parents cannot appear in person, the parent who takes the child in will need a notarized consent form from the child’s other parent.

If the other parent is not in the picture, proof that the parent has sole custody or guardianship must be provided.

 

In addition, you’ll need to provide one passport photo of your child, complete an application form on his or her behalf and pay the appropriate fees.

 

Passport Renewal For Children 16 and 17

 

Children age 16 and 17 must also appear in person to apply for a passport renewal, provide proof of citizenship and proof of parental consent. If your teen has a driver’s license or ID card, he or she can submit it as proof of identity. If not, you’ll use your own driver’s license or ID card instead.

 

One important fact to keep in mind: adult passports are good for 10 years, but child passports expire after only 5!

 

Alison Kroulek is a freelance writer and blogger with a focus on the travel industry.

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Passport Renewal in Washington, DC

Depending on how quickly you need your passport renewal processed, there are a few different passport renewal possibilities. Let’s take a look at the different options that Washington, DC residents have for renewing their passports so that you can determine which option is the most appropriate for your situation.

 

The first option is simply to send in your passport renewal form by mail. You can apply for passport renewal by mail as long as you have not lost your current passport or had it stolen, it is undamaged, it is less than 15 years old and as long you have legal records to support any name change requests.

 

To renew your passport by mail, use passport renewal form DS-82 and send it in along with your old passport, 2 passport photos, and supporting legal documents if your name has changed since your last passport was issued. Also send a check for the associated fees.

 

Renewing your passport by mail means that you’ll have to wait a while for your passport. If you don’t request expedited processing, it’ll be about 6 weeks. If you do request expedited processing and pay the additional $ 60 fee, it’ll be about 3 weeks.

 

But wait a minute…this is Washington, DC, where the entire Federal government is headquartered. Surely you can get a passport in Washington in less than 3 weeks, right? Actually, yes you can, as long as you can show that you’ll be leaving the country in the next 14 days and don’t have one. Just make an appointment at the Washington, DC passport agency office, located on 1111 19th Street, N.W.

To make an appointment, call 1-877-487-2778.

 

If you can’t make it down to the passport agency office but you need your passport in a hurry, your final alternative is to use a private passport expediting company to submit your passport application for you.

 

Alison Kroulek is a freelance writer and blogger with a focus on the travel industry.

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How to Get a Passport Renewal

Before you book your next international trip, do yourself a favor and check the expiration date on your passport. US passports are valid for 10 years when issued to adults, but it’s astonishing how quickly that time can fly by. If your passport expires in the next 9 months, you should go ahead and renew it now. Many countries have a “six-month rule,” requiring that your passport be valid for 6 months or longer in order for them to let you in their country. So just because your passport is still technically valid, that doesn’t mean you can necessarily travel with it.

 

When it comes time to renew, you can take comfort in the fact that you will more than likely be able to avoid a visit to the passport office. As long as all of the statements below apply to you, you can get your passport renewal through the mail, with no need to appear in person:

 

Your current passport has not been lost, stolen or damaged.

The issue date on your current passport is less than 15 years ago.

You received your current passport after you turned 16.

If your name has changed since your last passport was issued, you can document the name change request with a marriage certificate, divorce decree or court order.

 

How to Apply by Mail

 

To apply for your renewal by mail, first fill out passport renewal application form DS-82. Send it in to the address listed on the form, along with your current passport, a check or money order to pay the renewal fees, and the appropriate legal documents to corroborate your name change request, if applicable.

 

Passport Renewal Fees

 

Renewal costs depend on whether you want just a passport book, a passport card, or both.

The wallet-sized passport card is a relatively new option. While it’s the cheapest choice at $ 30, it’s only valid for land and sea travel to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean. You can’t use it for international air travel at all. A passport book is $ 110, and if you want both, it’ll cost you $ 140.

 

Once you apply, you’ll wait about 6 weeks if you chose regular processing and about 3 weeks if you chose expedited processing, which is an additional $ 60 charge. If you need to get a passport renewal at the last minute, the Department of State has set up 24 regional passport agency offices across the country where you can do so. You must make an appointment and bring a copy of your itinerary in addition to the documents listed above. You can also use a private passport expediting company to deliver your application to the Department of State on your behalf.

 

Alison Kroulek is a freelance writer and blogger with a focus on the travel industry.

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Where to Get Photos for your Passport Renewal

When you apply for a passport renewal, you’ll need to send in new, updated photos of yourself. If you don’t want your application to be delayed, you’ll also need to make sure that the passport photos you send meet the government’s requirements. The best way to do this is by having your photos taken by someone who knows what they are doing. Here are some of the recommended places you can go to get passport photos taken:

 

Drug Stores

 

Most drug stores have photography departments that will take passport photos on request.

 

Wal-mart

 

You really can get almost anything at Wal-mart, including passport photos. Just head on down to the photography department and one of the associates will assist you.

 

Post Offices/Passport Acceptance Facilities

 

Some post offices and other facilities that accept passport applications also offer passport photos. However, not every location that accepts passport applications offers photos, so check with the facility before you arrive ready for your close-up. Also, depending on the facility you may need to call ahead and make an appointment to have your picture taken.

 

Professional Photographers

 

If you’re really concerned about how your passport photo comes out and you don’t mind spending a little bit of extra money on it, a professional photographer is another option. If you’re extremely busy, some photographers will even come to your office to take the photos. Make sure you get someone who has experience offering this service and is familiar with the Department of State’s requirements.

 

No matter where you get your passport photo taken, you should also be willing to exercise some quality control on your own. Make sure that the image you send is in focus, high quality and neither too light nor too dark. You must be facing forward, and there must not be any shadows on your face. If your pictures don’t seem to meet these criteria, have them retaken before you send them in with your passport renewal application.

 

Alison Kroulek is a freelance writer and blogger with a focus on the travel industry.

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Passport Renewal in New Orleans

Getting a passport renewal in New Orleans (or anywhere else for that matter) can be complicated enough to make you want to stick some pins in a voodoo doll. But it doesn’t have to be that way, as long as you familiarize yourself with what the procedure involves.

 

The first step is determining whether or not you qualify to renew your passport by mail. In general, you can apply for renewal by mail as long as you were an adult over the age of 16 when your current passport was given to you, you still know where it is and it’s still in good condition, and it’s not over 15 years old.

 

If you are eligible to renew by mail, the process is easy- just fill out passport renewal form DS-82 and send it in along with your current passport, new passport photos and the fees for the renewal.

 

If you aren’t eligible, you’ll need to appear in person at a passport acceptance office to apply. Passport acceptance offices are usually located in post offices, libraries or other government and municipal facilities. There are currently 3 acceptance offices in New Orleans: one on Carrollton Avenue, one on Loyola Avenue and one on MacArthur.

 

At the acceptance office, you’ll fill out form DS-11, present proof of identification and proof of citizenship, submit passport photos and pay the required fees. Then, your passport application will mailed to the Department of State for processing. This usually takes about 6 weeks for normal processing and about 3 weeks if you pay an extra $ 60 for the government’s expedited service.

 

If you need your passport renewal processed more quickly, you can call 1-877-487-2778 to make an appointment at the regional passport agency office located at 365 Canal Street in Suite 1300.

The office is only open from 8:00am to 12:00pm on weekdays, so if that won’t work with your schedule, a private expediting company might prove to be a better option.

 

Alison Kroulek is a freelance writer and blogger with a focus on the travel industry.

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Passport Renewal in Seattle

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Seattleites with expired passports have a number of different options for getting it replaced. Here’s a brief rundown of where to go and what you’ll need to apply for a passport renewal in Seattle.

 

Applying By Mail

 

Most adults are able to apply for a passport renewal by mail, with no need to show up in person at a Seattle passport office. You can apply by mail as long as all of the following conditions have been met:

 

The passport you are replacing was issued to you after your 16th birthday.

The passport you are replacing is less than 15 years old.

You still have your current passport, and it has not been lost, stolen, damaged or otherwise mutilated since it was issued to you.

If your name has changed, whether it be for marriage, divorce or any other reason, you can provide legal documents to support your name change request.

 

If you meet all of these conditions, you can apply for a new passport by filling out form DS-82 and sending in your old passport, one passport photo and documents to support your name change request, if applicable. You’ll also need to send payment for the fees, which can vary depending on whether or not you want to include a passport card or expedited service.

 

Applying in Person

 

If you don’t meet the requirements to apply by mail, you’ll need to apply in person at one of Seattle’s 11 passport acceptance facilities. You can find the one nearest you by looking on the Department of State’s website. Bring proof of identity and proof of citizenship, along with one passport photo and an appropriate payment method for the fees.

 

Applying at the Seattle Passport Agency Office

 

The Seattle Passport Agency is located in the Henry Jackson Federal Building on Second Avenue.

To apply here, you’ll need to make an appointment by calling 1-877-487-2778. You are eligible to make an appointment if you need your passport renewal for urgent travel within the next 14 days, or if you are traveling within 3 weeks and need your passport renewed in order to apply for a foreign visa. In addition to the other documents listed above, bring a copy of your travel itinerary to the appointment. As long as all your paperwork is in order, you should get your passport renewal within 24 hours.

 

Alison Kroulek is a freelance writer and blogger with a focus on the travel industry.

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