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NEWS: Passport Lite for Road Travelers

Passport Card

Credit: Passport card courtesy U.S. State Department

The U.S. Post Office sent us a postcard promoting a Passport fair. No wonder: As of 2005, only an estimated 20 percent of Americans carried a passport, according to The Associated Press. Since you’re going to need it to go anywhere outside the US, it makes sense. But what’s this Passport Card they’re hyping? It’s for road travelers between the U.S. and Canada or Mexico and is meant for people who live near the border. Cruise passengers may also use it for sea travel to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. It costs $45 for adults and is valid for 10 years. A regular passport costs $100 for first time applicants over 16. Drawbacks: You don’t get it any faster than a passport, and you still need to pose for two photos and supply documentation. We’d say, unless you never fly, spring for the passport. Or, stick to the lower 48. — Laurie Borman