If you have never traveled outside of the United States this probably means that you do not have a passport and have probably never even tried to get one. A passport will be needed for generally every foreign country you might travel to and is always needed to get back into the United States when you have been out of the country.
If you follow these simple instructions, you should have no trouble acquiring your first passport. Remember, no matter where you are taking your holidays to, if it's not in this country you need this document proof of who you are and where you are from.
The first thing you will have to do is fill out an application for a passport which is called a Form DS-11 which you can get from online and download it. Fill it out completely and then bring it with you when you apply for your passport in person.
You will need to find a place that takes passport photos and it is required that you have them take two photos that are exactly the same. They can be no bigger than two inches by two inches. The photos have to be your full front view of your face, definitely no profiles are allowed and it must be from your shoulders to the top of your head and it must have only a white background. Photo studios and even many post offices will take these types of photos for a fee.
To find your local Passport Acceptance Office you can get on the U.S. Department of State site and find one near you by just putting in your zip code and it will give you a list of offices that are in your surrounding area. When you have found the one closest to you, you can then take all necessary items to them to apply.
You will need to make sure that you have proof of your citizenship in the United States. This will generally be your certified birth certificate or if not born here it will need to be a naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship. If this is not your first passport and you have an expired one you can bring that instead.
You will need to also have identity proof. This would need to be your driver's license, state ID or some sort of government or military ID. These all will have a photo on them with your most current information for them to verify who you are.
After you have done all of this you can take all of your information down to your Passport Acceptance Office a long with an application fee as well as what is called an execution fee in order to get your passport. You will need to give these fees to them when you turn in your application. This can take as long as six weeks after you hand in all of this.
So it is very important that you get this done several months before you actually plan to go on your vacation. However; if you waited to get your passport, you can pay an additional fee and they can have your passport ready for you in two weeks.
Try applying for your passport from September to February, the reason for this is that there are less people applying for passports at this time of year. You should also note that when taking your passport photo do not even wear a hat and make sure your eyes are wide open and keep a natural and relaxed look on your face when taking the photo.