The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico are the summer vacation spot of choice for many American families, supporting a tourism industry worth $20 billion per year.

However, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is growing larger every day, making tourists understandably nervous about vacationing anywhere that might be in its path. Currently, no oil has washed ashore in Florida, home of some of the most popular beaches.  However, as of Monday of last week, the Miami Herald was reporting that the oil was about 80 miles away from a “loop current” that could coat Southern Florida’s white sand beaches in oily muck.

The bottom line? Nobody is sure if or when the spill will hit Florida’s beaches.  The Miami Herald quoted Igor Kamenkovich, a professor at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science:

`It’s highly unpredictable,” said Kamenkovich. Any major changes in wind or weather patterns such as a cold front or a hurricane could change the forecast, he said.

This unpredictability is what’s scaring off tourists. On the one hand, this could be a great year to go to Florida-if the spill stays far offshore, the beaches will stay gorgeous with the added bonus of being much less crowded than usual.

On the other hand, if the oil spill hits Florida during your vacation, it’s not going to be pretty. And while many hotels are relaxing their policies on cancellations and even offering credits for future visits if the spill ruins this year’s vacation, having to cancel at the last minute is a still a huge inconvenience.

If you decide against going to Florida this year, the Caribbean has beaches that are just as pretty and is expected to remain out of harm’s way.  Apply for an expedited passport renewal (or an expedited passport if you don’t have one already), and this year could be the year you finally take that Caribbean vacation you’ve always wanted.

There are a couple of different ways to obtain an expedited passport renewal.  First, you can order expedited service for an additional $60 when you mail in your passport renewal forms.  This will cut the expected processing time from 6 weeks down to three weeks.

If you need your expedited passport renewal more quickly, the simplest and most convenient option is to use a private passport expediting company like RushMyPassport. offers processing times as low as 24 hours, with more affordable options that take just a few days longer.

Apply for your expedited passport renewal today!