A new stamp in your passport is a mark of pride. It tells the world you have traveled to exciting places. When you arrive at a distant destination, the promise of a new stamp makes the long wait and fluorescent lights of customs bearable. Some travelers collect passport stamps, showing them off to others like badges of honor on a cultural-awareness sash. Others use their passport stamps to keep a record of the places they’ve visited over the years, checking off dream destinations from their bucket list.
It is important to note that the U.S. State Department’s rules on passport markings for travelers from the United States state that only authorized officials can stamp or make notations in a person’s passport; other markings, such as souvenir stamps, render the passport invalid. While the majority of U.S. travelers avoid trouble from these unauthorized stamps, some foreign governments do deny visitors for unauthorized markings on their passport. Also, the U.S. government no longer issues extra pages for passports, so it is best to avoid unnecessary stamps. To prevent undue stress, use a different booklet to start a collection dedicated to obtaining these unique stamps. The following destinations take you beyond the traditional boundaries of borders with bold imprints as inspiring and fun as the geographical landmarks, inaccessible locations, and historical monuments they represent.
1. Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin Germany
East and West Germany officially erected the iconic border between the two regions in 1961 amidst the larger Berlin Wall, which was meant to keep citizens of East Germany from fleeing to the democratic west. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the preservation of Checkpoint Charlie serves as a symbol of the Cold War and Europe divided by political idealism. The border acted as the best-known checkpoint between East and West Germany during the 28 years of the Berlin Wall’s existence before the reunification of Germany in 1990.
The Wall Museum at Checkpoint Charlie hosts exhibitions that represent both sides of the divided city during the Cold War, including some of the most daring escapes citizens of the east made to the west. Add a stamp to your collection at the museum, where you will find a wide selection between one and three euros.
2. The Galápagos, Ecuador
The volcanic archipelago off the west coast of Ecuador is widely known for its abundance of wildlife and fascinating flora. The biodiversity contains more than 1,300 species of plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. While a boat can reach the islands, air travel remains the most convenient mode of transportation, as they sit 600 miles from Ecuador’s mainland. The Galápagos does not have an official passport stamp since the islands are considered lands of Ecuador. If you do wish to receive a stamp, representatives in the tourist information office in Puerto Ayora, the main town on the southern shore of Santa Cruz Island, are happy to issue stamps to interested travelers.
3. Akhzivland, Israel
The unique micro-nation on Israel’s northern Mediterranean coast is famously the only “country” in the Middle East that has never been involved in military conflict. Akhzivland was founded by Eli Avivi who developed the ruined village of Akhziv with huts and founded the micro-nation on his ideals of pacifism. Akhzivland has been in limbo since its official recognition by the Israeli Supreme Court. The nearly 107,600-square-foot nation leases its land from the Israeli government in a decree the Supreme Court made at the end of the trial, providing a 99-year timeline for the nation. Visitors to Akhzivland can receive passport stamps at their small national museum.
To be Continued…….