Read this before you hop your flight.

By Tracey Minkin
September 30, 2019

You’re packing for your much-needed warm-weather getaway to fabulous Puerto Rico, but do you need to tuck your passport in with your bathing suit, sandals, and sunscreen?

If you’re an American passport holder, the answer is no.

Here’s why: Puerto Rico, like the U.S. Virgin Islands, is an unincorporated territory of the United States, which means that traveling there is just like traveling to any other part of the U.S. No passport required. Do remember that as for any flight, you will need government-issued identification to board your plane, whether a driver’s license or passport (and make sure they’re up to date if they’re serving as your ID).

So it’s just like traveling to any U.S. state?

Pretty much. And here’s more good news about Puerto Rico being a U.S. territory: You won’t need any international calling programs while on the island—your regular phone networks will handle all your mobile phone calls. (Note that there is a 4GLTE network on the island, and in remote areas, cell service and data coverage can be spotty. If you’re going up into the mountains, for example, anticipate not having great—if any—coverage).

Further, Puerto Rico, as a U.S. territory, uses the U.S. dollar as its local currency. So, no changing money either. It could not be easier.

Is English the official language, then?

Both English and Spanish are the official languages of Puerto Rico, and you’re likely to hear lots of Spanish while there. But remember, always, that people born on Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens, and deserve the respect and status accorded to all citizens in this country.

Related: The Cheapest Places to Travel Each Month of the Year

But what about the Olympics? Didn’t I see Puerto Rico competing there?

A good question. Despite the fact that Puerto Rico is a U.S. Territory, it does compete as though it were a separate nation in the Olympics, based on the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Olympic Charter, which classifies a “country” as “an independent State recognized by the international community.” According to Sports Illustrated, the IOC has deemed Puerto Rico’s Olympic Committee as representing a country for the last 67 years. The U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam both enjoy similar classification by the IOC.

And for you pageant fans …

Puerto Rico is also granted nation status as a competitor in the Miss Universe pageant, and the Miss Universe Puerto Rico pageant is a widely followed and sometimes even controversial event every year.

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