Summer is one of the best times of the year. Kids are out of school, there’s more time to spend with family, and the days are longer and more beautiful. For many Missourians, it’s the perfect time to travel and take a long-awaited vacation with loved ones. Personally, my favorite place to travel when the weather warms up is the Lake of the Ozarks right here in our backyard. There are more miles of shoreline than the entire state of California and no shortage of things to do. Fishing, swimming, boating, hiking, watersports, attractions for the kids, and great local businesses to support – the Lake has it all. I would highly recommend a trip to the Lake this summer to take in its beauty, the fun there is to be had there, and support Missouri small businesses who are helping our economy bounce back at a record pace. My family and I have enjoyed spending time at the Lake for years and the Third District is extremely fortunate to have such a sought-after vacation destination right here.
As we all know, the pandemic disrupted so many areas of life like school, eating inside crowded restaurants, and in-person appointments. But another major thing that was put on hold was travel. People were forced to cancel vacations they had been waiting for all year, grandparents missed birthdays and holidays with the family, and those annual traditions were put on hold. So it is no surprise to see that this summer, so many are making up for lost travel from last summer. It’s refreshing to see life go back to normal while Americans book trips and reinvest in our economy.
If you’re in the middle of travel planning, make sure you are up to date on the possible restrictions of your destination. While most states are open to visitors, some still require quarantining or testing. For instance, our neighbor to the west, Kansas has some very specific requirements that won’t apply to most people but it doesn’t hurt to check. Not long ago my office was contacted by a couple who had flown to Hawaii only to find out the type of COVID test they received just the day before was not accepted by Hawaii’s health department, and they were forced to quarantine until they got a new test. Starting off a trip to paradise in quarantine isn’t exactly ideal. Again, these examples won’t apply to the majority of us but taking a few minutes to look into your destination’s regulations may help you avoid a problem down the road. That includes the airlines.
Another travel note worth mentioning as air travel continues to ramp up is passport renewals. International travelers have had a very hard time getting their passports renewed because the passport office is so backed up. Just like the IRS and processing tax returns, the federal government’s reluctance to get federal employees back in the office, particularly in Washington, D.C. has caused massive delays in passport processing. In fact, the State Department is now saying it will take 18 weeks to receive a passport. For up-to-date information, you can visit travel.state.gov. My office is in contact with the passport office every week and we’re constantly pushing them to take the necessary steps to decrease wait times. The unfortunate fact is the pent-up demand coupled with administrative inaction has caused a failure to fulfill their responsibilities, so please plan ahead if you’re considering international travel.
Whether you’re in the RV, out on a boat, on a plane or train, or sitting in your backyard enjoying the warm weather with your families and neighbors, summer in Missouri is a great time of year. If you find yourself near one of our three district offices, please drop in and say hi. We’re here to discuss any issue with you and maybe help out with those travel plans. Have a great (and hopefully not too rainy) weekend.
CONTACT US: As always, for those of you with Internet access, I encourage you to visit my official website. For those without access to the Internet, I encourage you to call my offices in Jefferson City (573-635-7232) Washington, Mo. (636-239-2276), or Wentzville (636-327-7055) with your questions and concerns. If you want even greater access to what I am working on, please visit my YouTube site, Facebook page, and keep up-to-date with Twitter and Instagram.