National Passport Month Project Update and Events

  • 15 August 2007
  • USA

In 2005, Lonely Planet launched a campaign to encourage more Americans to get a passport and travel internationally. At that time, only 23% of Americans held a passport. Today that number is nearly 30% and growing.

The intention was, and still is, to have September be declared National Passport Month, a dedicated time to communicate about the power and impact of international travel and how it helps individuals everywhere learn understanding, tolerance and mutual respect for other cultures.

While there is currently much frustration around the application process, the benefits of having and using a passport are life altering and last a lifetime.

Efforts to date:

  • Published a book called “Don’t Let the World Pass You By! 52 Reasons to Have a Passport” which provides the history of the passport, how to get one, and addresses all the reasons why people say they can’t travel (too expensive, unsafe, not enough vacation time etc.) in a fun and engaging way. The book also features an Introduction by Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler and a Foreword by Phil Keoghan, host of the award-winning television show “The Amazing Race.”
  • Launched a website where people can sign the petition in support of creating a National Passport Month, find out how to get a passport and engage with the Lonely Planet travel community for inspiration and information on everything from taking their first trip to planning their hundredth.
  • Worked with Representative Barbara Lee who introduced a resolution (H. Res. 327) to the House of the 109th Congress which passed unanimously. She recently introduced the same resolution (H. Res. 554) to the 110th Congress where it is waiting to be marked up and go for a vote. Outreach has been made with Senator Barbara Boxer’s office to gather support from the Senate as well.
  • Encouraged cities across the country to celebrate National Passport Month. The city of San Francisco has proclaimed September as National Passport Month the last three years.
  • Hosted travel/music themed “Passport to the World” events across the country where we provided free passport photos, the opportunity to talk to travel experts, enter sweepstakes to win great trips, receive fun giveaways and be entertained by local artists, including Michael Franti & Friends.
  • Participated with like-minded partners in events such as Power to the Peaceful (SF), World Music Festival (CHI), Roadtrip Nation (multi-city), Discover the World @ Pier 39 (SF), US Post Office passport fairs (Oakland) and more.
  • Developed “Passport Event in a Box” program to facilitate partners and other organizations helping spread the word. Contents include the “Don’t Let the World Pass You By!” book, playing cards based on reasons from the book, bumper stickers and other passport related collateral to be used as supplemental materials at schools, libraries, post offices, etc.

 Get Involved!

  • Watch for updates and a new ‘Rants & Raves’ section in September to sound off about the frustrations and joys of getting and using a passport.
  • Write to the President and Congress and ask them to support this effort. For more information on how to do this or what to say, go to:
  • Travel. A passport is good for ten years, don’t wait.

Discover the World with Lonely Planet

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Noon – 4 PM

PIER 39, San Francisco

Beach Street @ Embarcadero, San Francisco


Celebrate the world in your own backyard with PIER 39 and Lonely Planet. With a range of travel-themed booths and entertainment, this free event provides residents and visitors to San Francisco the opportunity to learn more about the social, cultural and experiential benefits of travel both within and outside of the United States.

Lonely Planet will offer

  • free passport photos from 1-3 pm – with a “beautification station” provided by Bare Escentuals
  • U.S. passport application forms & information
  • travel experts to answer your questions
  • free books & other goodies

Attendees will have the chance to win a Hawaii’s Big Island trip courtesy of ATA Airlines, Shell Vacations, Eagle Creek and Lonely Planet.

Free entertainment includes music by Sila and the Afrofunk Experience, an appearance by the energetic Non-Stop Bhangra Collective and a special presentation by Bill Lee from the City of San Francisco.

Power to the Peaceful Festival

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Noon – 6 PM

Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco


Visit the Lonely Planet Chill Tent to talk travel with authors & staff, browse through travel books plus get free giveaway items.

Chicago World Music Festival Open House

Thursday, September 20, 2007

6:30 – 11 PM

Chicago Cultural Center

78 E. Washington Street

Chicago, IL 60602


Join us for “One World Under One Roof”, the festival’s closing night celebration with 8 live bands and more. Lonely Planet will be on-site taking free passport photos, alone with travel experts to answer your questions, and tons of fun giveaway items.