Travel 2020 – Do you have the “Real I.D”?

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The New Year 2020 is literally just days away and already many people are looking ahead to travel.  Often it will be for business purposes and so the details are typically dictated by the business needs.  But when it comes to vacation travel that will involve far more contemplation and will, of course, be largely based on personal desires,  But there is one thing that will influence pretty much all travel, especially air travel within the United States and beyond beginning October 1, 2020 and that one thing is a new federal requirement for a document they are calling a “Real I.D.”  Starting then you will need a Real I.D. or valid passport to board any commercial aircraft or to enter most Federal facilities.

Now the first thing to come to my mind is that I have long been a traveler to many parts of our great world and consequently I have had a valid U.S. passport literally for decades and I see no reason to discontinue that reality.  So I have no need to get a Real I.D. But for millions of other Americans starting October 1, 2020 you must have a real I.D. absent a passport if you wish to fly anywhere even just domestic. Here is how you can get your real I.D.


Contact your Department of Motor Vehicles by whatever name known in your home state.  Minimally you will be required to provide a passport or birth certificate and either a social security card or other acceptable proof of your social security inclusion and proof of your residency in the state in which you are applying for your Real I.D.  With all required documentation in hand you will then need to go your Department of Motor Vehicles by whatever name known in your state, present the documentation, get your photo taken and, of course, pay a fee.  

But one thing to keep in mind is that if you already have a passport or expect to obtain one soon you do not need to do any of this.  Just remember that starting on October 1, 2020 you will need to have that passport with you to fly anywhere, even just from say Los Angeles to San Francisco or Chicago to Milwaukee.  Starting on that date you will always need a Real I.D. or valid passport to take any commercial flight to and from anywhere even entirely within the good ol’ U.S. of A. Now with the bureaucracy taken care of let’s consider some travel options for the new year.

            Cruising is a wonderful experience and there are so many options from months long around the world cruises that start around $50,000 and up to short 3 or 4 day cruises starting right around $200.  While the destination experiences are clearly vastly different the cruise experience shares a commonality. True your cabin can range from small but comfortable to plush and even extravagant. Differences aside the vast majority of cruise ships offer great dining choices all covered in the basic fee and many entertainment options.  In many ways a cruise is not about where it takes you but all of the on board joy of getting there. To find the cruise that best suits you simply google “cruises” and start shopping.

Reims Sube Fountain

We are blessed to live in a vast and highly diverse world and I am deeply pleased that I have had the ability to visit much of it.  A few ideas about some of my favorite experiences include:

            A cross country drive across America.  Sure there are the big cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles to name but a few.  But there are also a vast number of much smaller towns each with their own unique charm. And then of course the scenery changes are captivating.   The farm lands of the Midwest, the western mountains, the deserts of America’s southwest and much more 

Arc de Triomphe, Paris

            And then there is international travel.  Some of the favorites for American tourists would include London and Paris and other destinations in Western and Eastern Europe.  Heading to the Orient you can explore Japan and China, Thailand and the Philippines. And of course you can head south to Central and South America.  Each and every destination has its own unique experiences and they are all worth your visit.  

            Still foreign but somewhat closer to home there are many destinations in the Caribbean that are nothing less than spectacular.  I have visited the Bahamas, Jamaica, The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico and discovered the awesome diversity to be found through out that region.  

But where ever you go and whatever you do now more than ever you must be sure to have in your possession a valid passport and may I also suggest an open and inquisitive mind.  This is truly a very fun planet with billions of mainly very nice people. Just one tiny example of this is when one day while in Casablanca I was visiting a area of numerous food stalls when I saw a man wearing a common fez, a hat.  I mentioned that I thought it was very nice and he said please come back tomorrow. I did and he handed me my very own fez which I still have. It was a small thing but with a big impact.. And its exactly those kind of experiences that can greatly enlarge our lives.  So get your Real I.D. and then make 2020 your year for world travel.  

You can find many great reads including books on travel right here:  

All photo credits Ron Irwin


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