Check your passport. If it's going to expire in the next six months, you have a problem. Swamped by applications, partly because of new rules that require passports for all air travel to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada, the State Department can take up to ten weeks to issue a new passport. (Even expedited service can be as long as a month.)
To get it faster, here are two options: If you live close to one of 14 regional passport agencies, appointments are available, but be prepared to wait in line. To save some headaches, private passport expediters can often get a passport processed the same day. "Business is up 30 percent this year already," says Jeffrey Fine, president of CIBT, one of the largest expediters.
Their secret: Expediters can file a certain number of rush applications for passports per day - but it'll cost you an extra $75 or more, depending on how fast you need the documents. Visit americanpassport.com or travel.state.gov.