To keep your passport safe while traveling abroad, you should keep it concealed, store it securely, invest in passport covers, and avoid carrying it when you don’t need it.
You also shouldn’t leave it lying around your hotel room.
Getting stranded without your passport when traveling is a frightening experience, but good planning can help you reduce the risks and protect yourself.
Thus, you may want to buy a bag specifically for your passport and consider having a copy of your passport that you leave at home.
5 Safety Tips to Keep Your Passport Safe
1. Keep It Out Of Sight
The most important of all the passport safety tips is to ensure no one else can see it. If you leave your passport out of sight, it is much harder for someone to work out how to steal it.
So, you should tuck your passport into a pocket, bag, or money belt where it is invisible to others. Keep it there at all times, and try not to be too obvious when putting it back.
Consistently storing it in the same place will also make it easier to find when you need it, and to check it is safe.
2. Fasten The Pocket
Wherever you put your passport, it should have a fastening. This fastener could be a zip, toggles, Velcro, or something else, but ensure you always have it secure.
Although many pickpockets are good at undoing fastenings without you paying attention, fasteners still offer a layer of protection that makes you a less tempting target. If you store your passport in a net pocket (visible) with an elasticated top, there are several occasions that someone can steal just while you’re in the airport.
You also shouldn’t leave your passport in a backpack pocket.
Backpacks are great travel bags, but they position your belongings behind you, where you can’t watch them. Thus, it’s much easier for a thief to steal from a backpack.
So, if you put your passport in the front pocket of your backpack, furthest from your body, it is unfortunately easy to steal.
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3. Don’t Put Your Passport in Your Carry-On
Many people store their passports in their carry-on bags because they don’t need to worry about keeping track of two separate bags. However, sometimes a gate agent will ask you to check your hand luggage because the plane’s cabin ends up too full.
If this happens and you don’t remember that your passport is in the bag, you risk not having it when you need it, like for airport security. You also have a higher chance of losing it.
Furthermore, make sure you always keep your own passport with you. Do not hand it to a family member, or they could lose it.
Additionally, never place your passport or a paper copy in the seat pockets of a plane, even for a second.
4. Keep Your Passport in the Hotel Room Safe
Many people feel they have to keep their passports on them at all times while traveling, but this isn’t safe either. You are at risk of losing it or having it stolen if you carry your passport with you wherever you go.
Instead, you should leave it in your in-room safe unless you need it. Thus, you should carry another form of ID with you, like a driver’s license, so you only need your passport for the essential parts of your trip.
Don’t just leave it on the counter in your room or ask the front desk to lock it up, either. Most hotels are reputable, but you don’t know when a staff member could prove untrustworthy.
Instead, place your passport in the hotel safe or otherwise out of sight. Consider it a “valuable” and protect it accordingly, and check that it is still where you placed it at the end of each day.
Finally, even if you are staying in private accommodation, it’s still a great idea to keep your passport out of sight. This storage method protects it in the event of break-ins or other incidents.
5. Purchase a Suitable Bag
Having the right kind of bag to put your passport in is some of the best travel advice you can get, and it’s well worth it if you regularly travel. You can even buy travel underwear with pockets built in to keep the passport as close to you as possible.
Alternatively, a bag you wear around your neck and tuck into your sweater or shirt is another good option. These pouches keep your passport safe because they are easily accessible to you and allow you to always pay attention to where they are.
It is also easy for you to check that it’s still there, increasing the chances you will quickly notice if someone has taken it.
Similarly, a money belt is an excellent investment for passport safety and a perfect palace to put money that’s larger than small bills. Plus, a passport cover, especially a waterproof cover, will help prevent damage to your passport pages.
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What if Someone Steals My Passport?
You must always have a valid passport when traveling to other countries, so a stolen passport is a serious issue. If someone does take your original passport, you should report the theft to your local embassy immediately and apply for a new passport.
They can then start the replacement process and give you an emergency passport to get you through border crossings.
Therefore, another great tip is to always leave a paper photocopy at home with a trusted person when you travel abroad. This way, if your actual passport disappears, you can have a backup.
You should also keep an electronic copy on your phone’s camera roll or a SIM card so that you can always access it digitally without an internet connection.
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Why Would Someone Steal My Passport ID?
Stolen identities are hot on the black market, so someone may take your passport card to sell. Thus, you need to be careful and watch out for passport scams.
For example, a real police officer will not ask to see your passport, passport copy, or even digital copy. So, if local police ask for it, it is most likely a scam.
Therefore, you should always pay attention to security updates from the Department of Homeland Security because many countries have higher rates of identity theft than the US.
Everyone knows how much of an adventure travel can be, but you still need to stay level-headed and take precautions to avoid losing your passport. So, keep your passport out of sight and secure, have multiple copies, and never leave it in hotel rooms.
You may also want to carry a couple of passport pictures with you on your next trip in case you do need to replace this document while you are traveling.