I see a lot of doom and gloom on RSOL and travel horror stories, but I want to tell you, RSO’s CAN travel around the world. I have been out of the system for over 3 years and since then, have traveled to 7 different countries! Who cares if you can’t go to Mexico (one of the most corrupt country in the world and dangerous) or Canada (not much different than the US anyways, even if you didn’t have to register, your conviction is a lifetime ban), Dominican Republic, Japan, S Korea, Thailand, and several others are NOT worth even thinking about. Several cruise lines do background checks too, so make sure you find out before you book. If you have family, or something like that, different story, I am talking about LIVING and enjoying life on holiday! I have been to; London (saw Wimbledon), Czech Republic (did a 4 day mountain bike stage race), Switzerland (saw the big fountain in Geneva), inhaled tons of cig smoke on the streets of Lyon, France; Visited 4 Islands of the 7 in the Azores (in Portugal), Rode my mountain bike on the volcanoes of ICELAND, and enjoyed all the sites in Amsterdam/Netherlands. Yes, it sucks to have to ‘register’ when we leave the country, and even worse to get completely humiliated/harrased coming back into the US – really sucks. Although, this last time coming back from Iceland, they let me go right thru, not sure why, maybe they didn’t update border partrol when I registered locally, I have no idea, but I almost cried from the relief of stress. Local police had to come by my house to make sure I got home, the cop was cool about it, but still a total waste of time. I also realized that WHEN the registry dies, and it will die soon (I hope), this is what it is like to come back home.
Here are some suggestions – once you fly into a Schengen country (there are 22+ of them!!!), if you travel to another Schengen country, they do not usually do passport checks (except beware of the UK, Ireland especially – would take a train into there), trains in general are easier than flying once in EU. If you want to go to a nice beach, US Virgin Island/Puerto Rico/Hawaii – you don’t need a US passport to travel there.
Coming back into the US – DON’T travel with a laptop! and make sure all your electronic devices do not have anything that would cause ANY reason for them to ask questions or search deeper. They can LEGALLY search your devices without an warrant (there is a case in SCOTUS right now that might change that, but don’t take any chances). They will likely search ALL your belongings, including receipts, etc, less is better, or go thru seperately with family if you can.
Bottom line, I have always thought about what I CAN do, not worried about what I can’t. You can enjoy life if you want too, or not, but you do have choices.