Updated: Oct 16, 2019
In most cases in life you do your crime, serve your time and move on. When it comes to traveling the system isn't always as forgiving.
Lets start with If you have a felony. More than likely this won't prevent you from getting a passport. Once you've served your time, paid restitution and you're no longer on probation you should be able to apply and get a passport. Should be being the operative word. Now if you are considered worthy of being on a watch list or for some reason the U.S. govt determines you a risk then...nope.
Also you have to be current on your child support. I like this rule. Male or female.
You applied, got it. Where can you go?
A lot of places actually, concentrate on those that don't require a Visa for what will normally be a week long vacation. Anything over 30 days may require forms to be filled out. You don't want those type of problems.
Europe is a great region to visit, with a valid U.S. passport, you can stay in the Schengen Area up to 90 days for tourism or business during any 180 day period. And good ole jolly England allows you to stay up to 6 months without a Visa.
Now lets get into where you can't go...without a few hassles.
Canada - No can do. I mean it's possible but only after jumping through major hoops, soap operas and fairy tales. Just cross it off your list. I wouldn't even fly in on a layover. There's always a story or two every year about Canada tossing someone back to America.
Mexico - Drunk driving criminal convictions within the past 10 years are generally refused entry into Mexico, due to the country's laws that consider DUIs an indictable offense, much like a felony. Feel free to drink while there. Get an Uber afterwards.
New Zealand - DUIs generally bar travelers from entering New Zealand only if the charges and jail time were severe. People who did jail time for 12 months or more within the last 10 months or who received a prison sentence exceeding five years might have trouble entering the country.
China -The Visa application asks about misdemeanor charges and a background check may be ran depending on the answer. And this is a costly Visa.
In a nutshell if a Visa is required to visit for even a day then you may want to reconsider and certainly not purchase any plane tickets or reserve anything non-refundable. Also travel insurance won't cover you if you are turned away at the door.
When applying for Visa anywhere, be honest when asked about your past criminal charges. And don't be hurt if they put you on the next plane back home. Life happens.