If you’re a regular international traveler, you know just how important it is to keep your passport safe and protected. You can’t cross borders without it; having it recovered or replaced in the middle of your trip can be a massive hassle.
So how can you protect your passport when traveling? Sugarboo & Co. has compiled a helpful list of tips to prevent you from getting separated from your most essential travel documents. Read on to learn some ways to keep your passport secure. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or just received your first passport, these helpful hints will be invaluable to you on your next trip.
Consistency Is Key
To ensure that you know where your passport is at all times, keep it in the same spot. The same goes for all your other essentials—phone, wallet, lip balm—but it is doubly important when dealing with travel documents.
Many seasoned travelers advise that you always keep it on or near your person. Don’t stash it in your luggage, even if it’s a carry-on bag you plan to keep with you. Travel complications can arise anytime, and you don’t want to get separated from your passport, even for a minute.
Consider wearing a money belt or fanny pack as you travel, and keep your passport in a secure zippered pocket. To keep the passport in good condition, slip it into a leather passport wallet or cover that will protect the pages. If your passport gets damaged with tears or stains, customs may not allow you into the country you’re trying to visit!
Be Mindful of Your Surroundings
Which country are you visiting? Some nations require international visitors to always keep their passports on them. If your destination is not one of those places, your hotel room may have a safe for you to stash your passport while you’re out and about. However, if local laws require you to keep your passport on you, wear that money belt or fanny pack.
Avoid keeping your passport in your purse because you never know when a thief or pickpocket is in your midst. A backpack is one of the worst places to hold a passport because somebody near you can unzip it and make off with your papers while your back is turned! Many opportunistic thieves see international visitors as easy targets.
While you’re out on the town, remain alert and maintain easy visual contact with the location of your passport. If you’re sporting a fanny pack, keep the belt tight and secure around your waist, with the “pack” part in front—not fashionably askew or hanging loosely around your hip.
Make a Copy (or Two)
Before you leave for your international vacation or business trip, make a couple of photocopies of your passport, especially the front page with your name and photo. Leave them with trusted friends or family members. This way, if you become separated from your passport while on your trip, you can contact somebody who’s got that information.
This makes the process of replacing your passport mid-trip much easier. They can send you photos of relevant pages to show customs and border agencies that you have a valid passport—it’s just lost or stolen.
It’s also wise to bring spare copies of your passport with you on your trip! Keep one in your wallet and another in your luggage. Have a copy of your driver’s license as well, in case customs officials ask for an additional form of identification.
Check on It Often
At multiple points throughout your day, check to ensure you’ve still got your passport. You don’t need to obsess over it, but peek into your fanny pack or money belt a few times a day to ensure it’s still there.
If something untoward happens and you get separated from your passport, you’ll be able to create a timeline. Say you checked your money belt at lunch, and it was still there, but when you checked at dinnertime, it was gone. Now you’ve narrowed down a five- or six-hour window where it could’ve gone missing. This makes it easier to divine where you could’ve misplaced it or exactly when someone made off with it.
When you check on your passport, do so discreetly and privately if possible. Try not to advertise the location of your passport to random onlookers.
Cover It Up
There are multiple compelling reasons to keep your passport in a protective leather passport case or wallet. Let’s look at a few of the biggest ones.
- A leather covering protects the pages from excess wear and tear. Customs and border officials have been known to turn people away for having ripped or stained passports.
- You’ll cover up the outside and keep your nationality more discreet. It’s unfortunate, but thieves in other countries often see Americans as easy targets.
- Weather is often unpredictable, and humidity and moisture can damage the pages of your passport.
In addition to a leather covering, consider investing in RFID-blocking sleeves for your passport and other sensitive items. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification and is often used for keyless entry systems, but hackers have also begun to utilize this technology. Did you know that your passport contains microchips that store your identifying information?
A thief or hacker with an RFID scanner can skim valuable information from your passport, driver’s license, and even credit cards without needing to steal the item itself. Cover your passport with a leather case, then slide it into an RFID-blocking sleeve for the best protection.
If you go this route, use separate sleeves for your passport, driver’s license, and credit/debit cards. Try not to keep all your essential items in the same place. If that single sleeve goes missing, you’ll have a harder time replacing all the items inside.
Before heading off on your next international trip, ensure all your travel documents are in order—and in safe and secure places. Know how to protect your passport when traveling by keeping it secured to your person. Plan for every possible scenario on your international trip so if you do get separated from your travel documents, your appointment at the embassy will be relatively painless. With the help of a leather passport cover from Sugarboo, you’ll keep your most essential travel document safe and protected.