Now is a good time to get a passport – The Arizona Republic

It’s the time of year for endless to-do lists: holiday shopping, cards, decorating, baking, parties and more.
Here’s an item you won’t find on many packed agendas: passports. This is the slow season for passport applications and renewals, which makes it the perfect time to do so.
Passport prime time starts in mid-January as travelers plan international vacations for spring and summer, and often doesn’t let up until Labor Day, according to Brenda Sprague, deputy assistant secretary for passport services at the U.S. State Department. That creates longer lines at passport acceptance facilities and longer processing time.
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Apply during the holiday season and you could get your passport in half the usual time, as quickly as two or three weeks, she said.
“You have this window in which we are able to move the work very, very quickly,” Sprague said. “It’s just a great time to apply.”
If you need more incentive to move quickly: Passport applications are expected to surge in 2017 because there was a flood of applications in 2007 when new regulations required a passport for air travel to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean. Those passports expire in 2017. Officials expect to process 20 million applications in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, up from 17 million in the just-ended fiscal year.
“We are expecting a very big year,” Sprague said.
For details on how and where to apply for or renew a passport, check out the State Department’s exhaustive website at travel.state.gov.

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The Las Vegas Monorail isn’t the first place visitors think of for New Year’s Eve on The Strip, but this year it’s getting in on the action.
It is throwing a party at the Third Rail Lounge at the Las Vegas Convention Center Station, touting the elevated views of The Strip and the New Year’s Eve fireworks show. The party includes unlimited beer and wine, appetizers, live music, party favors and a 24-hour ticket for the monorail.
Tickets for the party, which runs from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., are $150 per person or $275 per couple until Dec. 1. They increase to $175 per person and $300 per couple after that.
Details: lvmonorail.com/nye2017.

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