Traveling outside the country is a luxury that many of us in America can afford and is an experience that people often remember for years to come. Whether you are going near or far, leaving or entering the continental United States is taken very seriously for many reasons. Controlling a country's borders and knowing who and what is entering or leaving the area is very important to the safety of everyone.

There's only one way you are legally allowed to travel internationally and that is with a passport. A passport is a piece of identification that not only says who you are, what country you reside in, and any other notable information but also keeps track of every country you visit and when you arrive/depart from each country. Passports are for purchase or renewal at post offices, clerks of court, public libraries, and other local government offices. Now, there is a pilot program that is testing the online renewal process for residents in Michigan and across the country.

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Initially getting a passport is a lot of work as you have to fill out the application, and take a passport photo at either the acceptance facility or from a nearby Walgreens or photographer. Then you have to either pay for expedited service or wait months upon months for your passport to arrive in the mail. This process doesn't take that long but it can be tedious.

Read More: Traveling is Always Fun: 10 Things You Will Learn On Your First Trip To Salem, Mass (wbxxfm.com)

As of right now, you do have the option to visit a passport agency or center or apply by mail for first-time and renewal passports, but there is a new method that is being introduced. The national government is looking for a way to streamline the application and renewal process by offering an online services portal.

At the moment the portal is in a Beta period where users have to create an account at https://mytravel.state.gov/s/ and then will follow the normal steps for applying/renewing a passport. It is to be noted that the processing times for the online passport renewal program are the same as renewal by mail and expedited or urgent travel passport services are not available.

Access to the beta platform will only be available for a limited time every day during an Eastern Time Zone window that will close once the platform has received the limit of applications for the day. This all comes more than 2 years after President Joe Biden signed online passport renewals into law.

They want the public to participate in the beta program so they can find ways to make the platform as user-friendly as possible and expect that at least 65% of residents will be able to renew their passports using the online services once the beta is complete.

Would you consider using the beta program? Would you take advantage of the opportunity to renew online or would you still go in person/by mail? Speaking of traveling, Michigan residents are warned to steer clear of these vacation destinations:

Warning: Michigan Residents Warned Not To Travel To These 9 Places

In light of various conflicts around the world, the U.S. State Department has issued advisories urging residents to avoid nine specific destinations. These advisories are rooted in ongoing turmoil and instability within these regions, making them potentially hazardous for travelers.

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

Travel Warnings for US Citizens in 2024

"Always carry a copy of your U.S. passport and visa (if applicable). Keep original documents in a secure location." - Travel.State.gov

Gallery Credit: Reesha Cosby

The One Michigan City To Avoid Traveling To At All Costs

Looking to travel on your vacation? You may want to think twice before going to these places.

Take a look at where across the country and in Michigan, you should avoid.