Online Travel Tools
Check out the New Mexico Home page (www.state.nm.us) for information on state government, and for links to state agencies on doing business, working, learning, living, and visiting in the Land of Enchantment. A terrific general resource for just about every kind of recreational activity is www.gorp.com; just click on the New Mexico link under "Destinations," and you'll be flooded with links to myriad topics, from wildlife refuges to ski trips to backpacking advice. Also excellent for information on the state's recreation pursuits is the New Mexico Outdoor Sports Guide (www.nmosg.com). Check the site of the New Mexico Film Office (www.nmfilm.com) for a list of movies shot in New Mexico as well as links to downloadable clips of upcoming made-in-New Mexico movies. A wide range of reviews and links to dining, culture, and services in Albuquerque and Santa Fe is available at www.citysearch.com and www.yelp.com; www.999dine.com is a site that sells steeply discounted meal certificates to dozens of top restaurants in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos. Visit www.farmersmarketsnm.org for information on the dozens of great farmers' markets around the state, and see www.nmwine.com for tours and details related to the region's burgeoning wine-making industry.
All About New Mexico
Transportation Security Administration. Transportation Security Administration www.tsa.gov.
The New Mexico Department of Tourism can provide general information on the state, but you'll find more specific and useful information by consulting the local chambers of commerce, tourism offices, and convention and visitors bureaus in individual communities throughout the state.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (505/843–7270 or 866/855–7902. www.indianpueblo.org.)
USDA Forest Service, Southwestern Region (505/842–3292; 877/864–6985 for fire restrictions and closures. www.fs.fed.us/r3.)
Passports and Visas
We're always surprised at how few Americans have passports—only 25% at this writing. This number is expected to grow in coming years, when it becomes impossible to reenter the United States from trips to neighboring Canada or Mexico without one. Remember this: a passport verifies both your identity and nationality—a great reason to have one.
U.S. passports are valid for 10 years. You must apply in person if you're getting a passport for the first time; if your previous passport was lost, stolen, or damaged; or if your previous passport has expired and was issued more than 15 years ago or when you were under 16. All children under 16 must appear in person to apply for or renew a passport. Both parents must accompany any child under 14 (or send a notarized statement with their permission) and provide proof of their relationship to the child.
There are 13 regional passport offices, as well as 7,000 passport acceptance facilities in post offices, public libraries, and other governmental offices. If you're renewing a passport, you can do so by mail. Forms are available at passport acceptance facilities and online.
The cost to apply for a new passport is $140 for adults, $120 for children under 16; renewals are $120 to $140. Allow six weeks for processing, both for first-time passports and renewals. For an expediting fee of $60 you can reduce this time to about two weeks. If your trip is less than two weeks away, you can get a passport even more rapidly by going to a passport office with the necessary documentation. Private expediters can get things done in as little as 48 hours, but charge hefty fees for their services.
Before your trip, make two copies of your passport's data page (one for someone at home and another for you to carry separately). Or scan the page and e-mail it to someone at home and/or yourself.
U.S. Passport Information
U.S. Department of State (877/487–2778. travel.state.gov/passport.)
U.S. Passport & Visa Expediters
A. Briggs Passport & Visa Expeditors (800/806–0581 or 202/338–0111. www.abriggs.com.)
American Passport Express (800/455–5166 or. www.americanpassport.com.)
Passport Express (800/362–8196. www.passportexpress.com.)
Travel Document Systems (800/874–5100 or 202/638–3800. www.traveldocs.com.)
Travel the World Visas (866/886–8472 or 202/223–8822. www.world-visa.com.)