International travel will hit record highs this year, at least that’s the prediction from Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for leading U.S. airlines.

In its annual forecast, A4A predicts that this year U.S. airlines will carry close to 209 million global passengers during the height of summer travel (June through August, 2013). Included in that estimate are 27 million international travelers.

If this forecast runs true, summer air travel this year will reach its highest peak in five years. When will airports and airlines be most crowded? The busiest travel days are expected to be Thursdays and Fridays between mid-Jun and the first week of August.

Top 25 International Travel Destinations


With the busiest international travel season ahead, passport processing times can be higher than normal.  If you are planning international travel and still need to apply for a new U.S. passport, name change, or add pages to an existing passport, get started now.

If your passport will be expiring within 6-7 months of your planned travel date, get it renewed.  Be aware that some countries require for your passport to be valid for 6 months beyond your arrival date – or from your departure date – depending on the rules in each country.  For example, Brazil and China base their six-month rule on the arrival date.

If you’re short on time (or patience), consider getting an expedited passport.