If your summer travel includes Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean, then the U.S. passport card may be right for you.
The passport card is a cheaper travel document than a regular book-type passport, but it is also more limited. The card allows a traveler to go to certain countries near the United States through land or sea crossings. It cannot be used with air travel. (Find out more here.)
What makes the passport card relevant right now is that starting June 1, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative goes into effect for U.S. travelers. That means land or sea travelers to Canada, Mexico, countries of the Caribbean and Bermuda will be required to show identification documents upon returning to the United States. So if you cruise to the Caribbean or drive to Baja California, you will need to show ID upon your return.
The state department requires four to six weeks to process a passport card application. (Click here to find a passport facility near you.) An adult card costs $45 and lasts 10 years, but if you already have a valid book-type passport, the card is discounted to $20.