Losing your passport, having it stolen, or damaging it to the extent it isn’t usable while travelling can be a terrifying experience – especially if you’re far from a consulate that can help you get back home without an anxiety-inducing affair.
Since prevention is key, we put together a list of steps you can take to ensure that your passport remains safely stowed away for the duration of your trip to the best of your ability.
Pay attention to what’s happening around you.
Since most theft occurs when it’s convenient, paying attention to what’s going on around can make a big difference. Wherever you are – your hotel, the security line, in-flight, or elsewhere – be intentional and aware about scanning your surroundings
While you watch your environment, remember that prevention is also key when it comes to keeping your passport safe. Conceal your passport to the best of your ability when you’re out and about and make sure it’s tightly secured in any bag, backpack, or suitcase you may be toting around with you.
Leave your passport at the hotel.
Though your passport is a form of I.D., you probably won’t need to tote it around with you all day once you’ve reached your destination. According to the US Department of State, one of the safest things you can do is secure your passport under lock and key at home or your hotel as you would with any other valuable.
Your secondary form of ID – a driver’s licence, non-driver identification card – and a copy of your passport are perfect to carry around with you and will most likely be all you’ll need.
Leaving your passport at home comes with another benefit: You’ll be able to better protect it from anything that might ruin the pages, like humid weather or water. Invest in a waterproof cover for wetter places; water damage can make information-based pages unreadable and will require you to get a replacement.
Keep several copies on hand.
“Make two copies of your passport ID page – that’s the page with your picture, your date of birth, etc. This can be an image scan or hard copy. Give one copy to someone you trust – a friend, family member, or assistant – in case you need to contact them while on your trip. Keep the other copy with you,” the Travel Insurance Review website reads.
Check in with it often.
You should check often to make sure you still have your passport. The most frequently you do it, the easier it can be to track it down if you misplace it. Just be sure to do so privately, as you don’t want it to be out in the open too often.
Consider purchasing a money belt.
Though it may not be the most fashionable, carrying your passport in a money belt or fanny pack is actually the safest way to travel, according to Travel Insurance Review.
“A money belt keeps the essentials in a secure place (unlike back trouser pockets), out of sight of potential thieves and tucked under clothing,” Quora user and traveller Erica Palzeck suggested.
Carry your own passport or passport copy.
Though it may seem safe to give all your passports to the most responsible among you, it’s actually not recommended. That’s because if one person gets pick-pocketed, all of your passports will be gone.
Everyone person should be responsible for their own passport if possible. That means you shouldn’t be leaving them at the hotel desk either, according to The Daily Mail.
Leave it out of your carry on.
It may seem like an easy solution to leave your passport in your carry-on, but as Travel + Leisure pointed out if you’re forced to check that bag at the gate, you may forget it’s there and find yourself without a passport.
To keep yourself safe, leave your passport out of your carry-on bag and keep it by your side.
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