You need a passport during many stages of the vacation – to enter and exit different countries, to rent cars, and to check in at hotels. So it’s vitally coiimportant to keep your passport safe because getting a new one can completely ruin your whole vacation.
That’s why in this article, we’ll teach you how to keep your passport, cash, cards, and other important documents safe while traveling. If you follow all the precautionary measures, then you should be fine even after getting robbed.
Is It a Good Idea to Keep Your Passport on You at All Times When Traveling?
Keeping your passport on you during all stages of your vacation might not be the smartest thing to do, especially if you’re keeping it together with all of your other important documents, cards, and cash. You could get robbed, scammed, or you could simply misplace it. And losing your passport in another country can be incredibly frustrating because you’ll need to get a new one for returning back home.
That said, most countries require all travelers to keep their passports on them at all times. Although random checks on the street are incredibly unlikely, you may be fined if you wouldn’t have a valid form of identification. So even though you could get robbed, you have to carry your passport anyway.
Tips on How to Safely Carry Your Passport While Traveling
Unfortunately, most of the time, you don’t have any other choice but to carry your passport on you at all times because it’s required by the law. However, there are certain things that you can do to keep your passport safe.
1. In Addition to Your Wallet, Carry a Hidden Passport Holder
The most important thing that you can do to keep your passport, cards, and money safe, is to carry another hidden wallet. In addition to your regular wallet, you should also carry a hidden passport holder around your neck, underneath your clothes, which also has room for some cash and cards, just like the Zero Grid Travel neck wallet.
You would keep a small amount of cash and coins in your regular wallet, and all of your most important stuff, like your passport, cards, large amounts of cash, and other important documents around your neck. The regular wallet would just be something to give away in case you get robbed.
Ideally, you should also have two cards – your main one, and a simple debit card with a low balance. You should use this debit card during the vacation and top it up as needed. By keeping the debit card in your “fake wallet”, not only would you be protecting yourself against physical theft but also digital card scams.
2. When Traveling as a Family, Don’t Keep All of Your Passports Together
One major mistake that most families do, is keeping all of their passports and cash together in one place. Of course, it’s simpler to organize everything like this, but if you get robbed, mugged, or you’d misplace your stash, that would mean that everyone is left without any cash and documents.
So instead, you should split all of your cash and passports among all adults equally. And preferably, every adult should have a separate hidden neck wallet for keeping their most important documents, cash, and cards.
3. Make a Photocopy of Your Passport
Before going on your trip, you should make printed copies of your passport and take one or two with you on your trip. This would act as a backup in case you’d lose your real passport. It helps speed up the process of issuing a new passport at the local embassy or consulate, and also gives you something to show to the local police officers if needed.
Just make sure to keep them separate from your real passport. You can keep it in your luggage, but make sure to write on top of the printed copy with a pen “meant for issuing a new passport if my real passport gets lost”, or something similar, so if the printed copy gets stolen, it can’t be used to open up bank accounts, take loans, rent cars, or do anything else.
4. E-Mail a Scanned Copy of Your Passport Before the Vacation
Before your trip, make sure to scan your passport, and email the copy to your own email address. You can also choose to email it to your travel partner or a close relative, because in case of an accident, they may need it.
5. Add Emergency Contact Information to Your Passport
In case of an accident, where you’re unable to identify yourself, or in case your passport gets lost and the person who found it wants to give it back, you should include some contact details in your passport. If you have a passport cover, you can write emergency contact details of a person close to you on a piece of paper and keep it inside. Write down their name, email address, and telephone, with the country code included.
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6. Most Hotels Offer Lockers for Storing Important Documents
Although legally, you aren’t allowed to walk around in another country without valid identification, some travelers do it anyway, and only carry a photocopy of their document while outside of the hotel. Most hotels offer safes within the rooms or the reception, where you can choose to keep your passport and other important documents, usually for a small fee. Just don’t leave your documents in your room not in a safe, as they could get stolen during room cleaning.
7. Register With the Local Embassy or Consulate and Inform Them of Your Trip
Although it’s not mandatory, it’s always recommended to inform your government’s embassy or consulate within the country you’ll be traveling to. Just call them up and let them know that you’ll be on a vacation there, for how long you’ll be, and where you’ll be staying. Often, consulates have online forms for this, which take just a few minutes to complete. In case of any disasters, accidents, terrorist acts, international conflicts, and anything else, the consulate will have an easier time tracking down which citizens are located in the country, and organizing further help if needed. It’s also worth down to write down the location and contact details of the embassy or consulate in case you need it.
8. Keep Your Passport in a Spill-Proof Container
Not only can your passport be stolen or lost, but it can also be damaged by water. So it’s a smart idea to always carry it in a waterproof cover, in case you get caught in a rainstorm or something similar.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Passport Safety During Traveling
What’s the safest way to carry a passport when traveling?
The safest way to carry a passport when traveling is to keep it in a travel neck wallet. It’s slim, carried by a lace around your neck, and hidden underneath your clothing. The idea is that you also carry your regular wallet, but only keep small amounts of cash in there. You’d keep most of your important stuff, including your passport and credit cards, hidden around your neck, so they’re much harder to misplace, and will likely stay on you even in case of theft.
Should I put a copy of my passport in my checked luggage?
We wouldn’t recommend packing a printed copy of your passport in checked luggage, because theft is more common there. In case of losing your suitcase, just writing your email address and phone on a piece of paper or luggage tag will be enough.
However, we do recommend carrying copies of your passport somewhere else. They can be carried in your carry-on, personal item, or purse because they’re much less likely to be exposed to thieves. Just don’t keep it together with your passport, otherwise, it defeats the purpose of being a backup form of identification. Also, it’s a good idea to write something on top of the copy of the passport with a pen, so it can’t be used for opening bank accounts, taking loans, etc.
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Is it safe to leave my passport at the hotel or Airbnb?
Generally, it isn’t safe to leave your passport at your hotel, Airbnb, hostel, or anywhere else you’re staying, unless it’s kept in a safe. Some apartments offer safes, where you can set your own combination to access it. Otherwise, your passport may get stolen during room cleaning or break-ins.
Is it safe to keep my passport in my luggage when traveling?
Keeping your passport in your backpack or carry-on isn’t the end of the world, but it still has some risks, because you could forget it somewhere or it could get stolen in cafes or public transport. But you should definitely avoid packing your passport in checked luggage because stuff gets stolen from it somewhat frequently, and you’d need your passport during the flight anyway.
You should keep your passport somewhere on you, ideally in a hidden wallet around your neck. That way it’s protected from pocket thieves and it’s very hard to lose.
Do I need a passport for domestic travel?
In some countries, you can leave your passport at home for domestic flights if you’re a citizen of that country. However, you’ll still need a valid form of ID to present at the airport to prove that the ticket is purchased in your name. In the US, a valid form of identification includes passports, driver’s licenses, and military IDs. In Europe, valid forms of identification include passports and state-issued ID cards.
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Do I always need to carry my passport when traveling in Europe?
If you aren’t an EU citizen, then you always need to carry a valid passport with you. If not, you could be fined and even face jail time in rare instances.
If you are an EU citizen, then theoretically, you don’t need to carry any identification when traveling to some EU countries. That’s because the EU has a rule that EU citizens have the right to move freely across the borders of the EU. However, it’s highly recommended that you carry either your passport or ID card because some EU countries require all travelers to carry a valid form of identification at all times. Plus, you’ll need it anyway for boarding the flight, when checking in at the hotel, when renting a car, and for driving a car.
Is it legal to carry only a photocopy of my passport when traveling internationally?
It’s illegal to carry only a photocopy of your passport when traveling. Most countries across the world require all travelers to have a valid form of identification, which can be the original passport and ID cards for certain individuals/countries. But you should bring a photocopy anyway to have some kind of backup in case your original passport gets lost or stolen.
What passport expiry date is needed for traveling?
Although some require only three, most countries across the world require all incoming travelers to have a passport that’s valid for another six months. It’s also important to note that some countries start counting this period from the day you arrive and others from the day you’re expected to leave.
So to be sure, always ensure that your passport will be valid for another six months starting from the date you’re flying back home.
Is it legal to carry my ID instead of a passport when traveling?
Unless you’re traveling domestically, or you’re an EU citizen traveling within the EU, then traveling only with an ID card is illegal, and you could be fined or even detained. Most countries across the world accept valid passports as the only form of identification for travelers. So your ID card, driver’s license, or military license won’t be enough for international travel.
What do I do if my passport gets lost or stolen during a vacation?
If you lose your passport or it gets stolen during your vacation, then the first thing that you need to do is get in touch with the local embassy or consulate of your citizenship. You can find the appropriate contact details by Googling: “Your country” + embassy consulate in + “the country you’re staying in”.
Before returning home, you’ll have to get a new passport, which usually can be done in a few days but in urgent cases, even within one day. Before going to the consulate, you’ll most likely need to make a new photo for the new passport. After getting in touch with the consulate, they’ll tell you all the necessary details.
That’s why we recommend people have photocopies of their old passport on hand, to speed up the process, and to already note down the embassy contact details before going on a trip.
Where do I keep my money and cards when traveling?
Ideally, you should keep most of your money and important credit cards in a travel wallet around your neck, hidden underneath your clothes. You can keep a minimal amount of cash and a debit card with a low balance (which you can top up if needed) in your regular wallet. This will minimize your losses in case you lose your wallet or you get mugged.
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