If this is your first time flying internationally, one of the questions you must be having is whether or not you should keep your passport with you when you are traveling. This doesn’t mean just at the airport when you check-in, clear immigrations, and board a plane, but even as you go around, tour the city, go shopping, or even swim at the beach.
Travelers seem to have mixed feelings about this. Some say that it is best to keep it with you all the time just in case you need it. Others say that it can be dangerous in case your bag gets picked or you lose your things. As a first-time traveler, you might be confused about which advice to follow.
If you’ve often wondered whether or not you should keep your passport with you at all times when traveling, this article is for you. You’ll learn about what you should do with your passport when going on international trips as well as some ways to store your passport and other valuable documents when traveling.
Is It a Good Idea to Keep Your Passport on You at All Times When Traveling?
Generally, you shouldn’t keep your passport with you wherever you go. If you always take your passport with you, there’s a chance that you might end up losing it, misplacing it, or accidentally leaving it behind in a cafe or a shop.
There are some tours that you might go to or some activities you might want to do that might require showing a passport. Sometimes, buildings also require that you show a passport. This, however, is an exception to the rule and does not always occur.
If you’re not sure about it, however, make sure you always ask before you go on the tour or activity. That way, you only need to take it with you for that particular day and not all the time. You can also opt to carry a photocopy or digital copy of your passport.
Most Hotels Offer Safes and Lockers for Storing Important Documents
Where, then, should you store your passport while you are exploring the city?
Most hotel rooms come with safes that allow you to set a code and store your passport or other important documents for the time being. In case your hotel does not have this, you can also ask the front desk if they have an available locker.
If you are staying at an Airbnb, a hostel, or another place that does not have a safe or locker, it’s best to keep your passport secure in your bag with a travel lock.
Is It Legal to Carry a Photocopy of Your Passport When Traveling Internationally?
No. In fact, it is recommended to bring photocopies of your passport and store them in secure spots in all your travel bags in case something happens to your original passport when you are traveling.
Nevertheless, a passport photocopy is not the same as the actual passport especially when you are crossing borders or at the immigration desks when you are about to depart to or arrive in a country. You still need to show your actual, valid passport.
The photocopies of your passport are just in case of accidents and emergencies. If you accidentally lose your passport or if water spills on it to the point that the important information becomes illegible, you’ll need to contact your embassy and tell them of your concern. Having a photocopy of your passport will also help when that happens.
In case you’re wondering, here are a couple of tips to help keep your passport secure:
Tip: Keep Your Passport Separate From Your Valuables in Case of a Robbery
As much as possible, don’t carry your passport with your other valuables, such as your mobile phone and cash. If possible, keep it in a separate bag so in case your mobile phone and cash get stolen, your passport won’t get stolen as well. Some travelers suggest keeping it as close to your body as possible, such as in a money belt.
If you’re using a backpack or purse, however, make sure your passport is not in any of the side pockets. Keep it instead in an inside pocket with a zipper. Make sure your bag’s zippers and snaps are always securely closed and keep your bag close by especially when you are walking through crowded streets.
Tip: E-Mail a Copy of Your Passport Before Your Vacation.
Even if you have several copies of your passports in all your bags, it’s still best to e-mail a copy of your passport to yourself. Don’t just save a photo of it in your phone because if your phone gets lost or stolen along with your passport, you won’t have a copy at all.
Some travelers also advise e-mailing a copy of your passport and all other important travel documents to a trusted friend. In case you can’t access your e-mail or find the files you e-mailed to yourself, you can ask them for help.
Best Ways to Carry Your Passport When Traveling
If you have no choice but to carry your passport with you when traveling, make sure it’s safe and secure. As much as possible, keep it out of sight. You’re not just protecting your passport from theft, but you have to protect it also from extreme weather conditions (e.g. heavy rains where your passport might get wet) or spills and other accidents.
Here are some great passport holders to keep your passport safe while you are traveling:
1.WALNEW RFID Passport Holder with Strap
The WALNEW passport holder is made of PU leather both on the inside and the outside with a layer of RFID blocking material in between. It’s a perfect size for any passport and comes with an elastic strap to hold your items securely. Its 3D embossed look gives off a classy, fascinating design.
Inside, you have an organizer pouch with extra slots to hold IDs, business cards, credit cards, and your boarding passes. You also have little pockets to place up to two SIM cards, which is helpful if you’re buying a SIM card in the country where you’re traveling to and don’t want to lose your current one. There’s also a pen slot for one pen so you don’t need to fumble around your bag when you need to fill out papers.
The RFID blocking feature keeps important information from being stolen so you don’t need to worry about someone getting all your data. There are also many colors to choose from and the size is perfect for the inner pockets of your coat and bags as well as a body bag if you want to keep it close to you.
Purchase on: Amazon
2. GDTK Leather Passport Holder with Clasp
If you’re more of a strap person than a clasp person, this passport holder is for you. It comes in different colors so you can pick your favorite one or whichever color will match your style. This GDTK passport holder is made from premium synthetic leather for both the interior and exterior. Plus, it has an embossed logo of the United States Great Seal so it adds to the classy look and feel.
It’s got a lightweight slim design so it won’t add to the things you’re carrying. Even if there are slots inside for IDs, business cards, credit cards, and boarding passes, you won’t feel like the passport holder and your other items in it are too bulky. There’s also a slot for a pen, which is helpful when you need to sign something or fill out papers while in transit.
The GDTK passport holder is able to block RFID signals from various cards, such as credit cards, debit cards, identity cards, and your driver’s license. With the magnetic clasp, you can be sure that it will keep all your things secure so you don’t need to worry about them spilling out.
Purchase on: Amazon
3. Fintie Passport Holder
If you want a passport holder that’s a little bit more neutral (read no logos) or one that comes without a clasp or strap so that it is easier to open, you can check out the Fintie passport holder.
They have several designs and several colors to choose from so you can get one that matches your style. You can choose from simple denim and leather designs to faux crocodile leather to cases with statement designs: flowers, mandalas, marble, and even Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
Both the interior and exterior are made of premium synthetic leather so you’re able to grasp it comfortably throughout the trip. It’s strong and durable enough to protect all the items inside and not just your passport, as it can also hold business cards, credit cards, IDs, and boarding passes.
It’s easy to open which allows you to quickly and conveniently access your information while in transit. At the same time, there’s a built-in RFID blocking that will keep your private information from being stolen.
Purchase on: Amazon
When traveling internationally, it’s important to keep your passport safe all the times. It’s one of the most important items, if not the most important item, that you have to have with you when you travel. Whether you keep it in a special passport case, in the depths of your bag, or the safe or locker of the hotel where you are staying, make sure it is secure and safe.
Just to avoid any incidents, always make sure you have a copy of it on hand, both physically and digitally. This is so you are always ready in case something happens. If you’re really careful, you won’t have to worry much and can just enjoy the rest of your trip worry-free and hassle-free!