Understanding when to get a passport depends on two major factors: the date of your planned trip and the time of the year.
In general, you'd want to avoid peak holiday times that could cause passport applications to surge. Think of all the major travel times to get an idea:
- Spring break: April, May, June
- Summer vacations: May, June, July,
- Labor Day
- Winter holidays: November and December
There's a good chance you might apply during these times and run into no issues regarding waiting time for your passport. It really depends on the influx of applications and the staff working to process them.
But do you really want to take any chances? Probably not. So, if you're trying to decide when to get a passport, do it before you even plan a trip - preferably, several months out.
Apply for a passport when you don't need it and you'll be glad you have it ready to go.