New passport rule affects travelers

By Kathy Sweeney
Beginning June 1st, you'll need something extra in your bag if you're traveling to another country by land, sea, or air......a valid passport.  The new rule affects cruise travelers the most.  In the past, you could board a cruise ship with a birth certificate and valid driver's license.
Cape Girardeau Travel consultant Carolyn Kempf wants to make sure travelers know about the new passport rule in plenty of time.  She remembers what happened back in the Spring of 2007 when a backlog at passport processing centers left local travelers worried about missing their trips. 
Kempf also wants you to know about the two different kind of passports available. 
"You can get a passport book or you can get a passport card," said. "The main difference is, the passport book will allow you to travel by air, car, or sea.  But the card, which is half the cost, does not allow you to travel by air." 
Kempf says right now, the wait for either passport is only 2-3 weeks, but she expects that time to double or even triple in April and May.

For more information about passport changes, go to www.travel.state.gov/passport.