Losing your passport while on a trip abroad can be a nightmare. Travel documents can be as valuable as cash to some thieves, especially if sold in the black market. A lot of travelers go to great lengths to protect their passport whenever they go out because it can be quite a headache to lose it. It is then important that you learn how to keep passport safe wherever you go.
What Are Passports?
Traveling abroad requires proper documentation, and first and foremost is your passport. A passport can only be issued by the government of the country where you identify yourself to be a citizen of. This document certifies your identity and acts as a form recognition of your citizenship.
Why Are Passports Important?
When traveling abroad, your passport will serve as an official document that is recognized by the country you are traveling to as a valid representation of who you are. Any other forms of identification valid in your country, may not be recognized as valid in countries that you travel to. One of the purposes of your passport is to provide you with that identifying document.
When you enter another country, possession of a passport is a representation of the authority to travel across borders between two countries that have been granted to you by your home country. You are to present this document at immigration for assessment and proper stamping.
Why Keep Your Passport Safe?
Getting your passport replaced when lost can be quite a hassle and will inevitably ruin your trip. It will take time away from what you intended to do in your travel. At best, the experience will only waste your time, but at worst, can put your safety at risk.
It allows you to travel.
Remember that your passport allows you to travel. Without it, your movement will be restricted to the country where you last held it. Some countries might have stiffer travel restrictions, so you might not be able to move around as much as you’d like. Your passport also allows you to travel back to your home country.
It contains your personal information.
Your passport will have your personal details in it. It will show your full name, your date of birth, and your address. These are information that can be sold in the black market. There are plenty of horror stories shared online about stolen identities, and a stolen passport is one of those things where it all can stem from.
It can be used for illegal purposes.
Those whose purpose is to exploit your passport can use it outright, and not even bother with forging a fake identity. They can use it in unscrupulous behavior where all the blame can fall on you.
How to Keep Passport Safe?
There are general areas where you’d find yourself throughout your travel. Any regular trip, be it for business or pleasure, can be an opportunity for thieves and pickpockets to take advantage of you. Festivals, and areas where tourists flock are looked at as a haven for potential targets for stealing. Here, we’d look at general areas where your personal belongings may be vulnerable.
While in Transit
During travel, you’d be asked to present your passport, especially at airports and when crossing borders. Some countries will require you to present your passport upon checking-in at your accommodation. But rarely in between.
At areas where passports need to be presented, it might be convenient to have your passport where you can easily reach for it. But on other occasions, it is best to keep your passport where it is not easily accessible. Keep it in deep inside pockets in your bags all the time if possible.
At Your Hotel Room
Let’s say you are at your hotel; you can either keep your passport in your bag and leave it in your locked room. You can also stow it in the safe provided in your room. Keep it there whenever you leave your room. Just make sure you don’t forget it when you check out.
If your room doesn’t have a safe, then ask the front desk to keep it in their safe if they have one available right there in the front desk or the office. Seal it in an envelope so you’d know if someone messed with it. And ask for a receipt for the item you deposited with them.
But what if you are backpacking, or you are staying at a bed and breakfast or got your reservation at rooms rented out online? Unless you are a hundred percent confident it is safe to leave it in the bag in your room; you might be better off carrying it with you around.
When Going Out
When you leave your room, and you choose to bring your passport with you, keep it hidden well inside the bag that you have with you. Don’t put in in the outside pockets of your bag. These pockets are easy to open, and anyone can just easily reach inside. Use antitheft bags if possible since they offer added protection on how to keep passport safe.
Don’t try putting it in the pocket of your clothes. These are easy to targets for pickpockets. Try having a pocket that is within the lining of your pants or shorts. You can have them custom-made, or look for one in the store or online. These pockets are hard to reach into, unlike the regular ones. Undergarment pockets can be used as well.
You can also use passport carriers or money belt. These are like fanny packs but are designed to be worn close to the body and be concealed. You can carry valuables with you without giving it away to prying eyes. You can store cards and money here, together with your passport.
Now, when you go for a swim on the beach, your passport is a whole other thing not to bring with you, but if unavoidable, then store it in a waterproof container. Leave it at the beach with travel companions when you go for a dip. Same goes for when you go out to party where alcohol may be involved. Best to leave your travel documents in your room.
A Friendly Reminder
Following these tips are by no means a foolproof plan to prevent loss of your passport. These are simply methods that will not encourage thieves to case you out as a potential target. And when they do try, these methods will not make you easy targets. Remember to keep your passport well hidden in your bag all the time, except in situations where you would need to show it.