A passport is one of the most valuable documents that a traveler carries, and keeping it safe is a top priority. The document is needed when entering and leaving a foreign country, and for identification purposes while in the country. The best tips for passport safety include keeping the document securely locked up, using a copy while traveling within the foreign country, and reporting a lost or stolen passport as soon as possible.
When not in use for travel, a good rule of thumb for passport safety is to keep it locked in a safe. If possible, the passport should be kept in a safety deposit box at a local bank or other financial institution, which keeps it safe from both thieves and disasters, such as fires or floods. If this is not possible, it should be kept in a home fireproof safe, preferably one that is well hidden.
Extra precautions should be taken on the days of travel, when the passport must be kept on hand for inspection. This is the ideal time for a thief to steal the document, and ensuring passport safety also ensures arriving at the final destination without major complications. If two or more people are traveling together, each should hold onto their own passport, as well as a copy of each of the other traveler’s document. A copy should also be placed in the suitcase and any carry-on luggage.
To ensure passport safety, the document should not be kept in an outer pocket or purse, as these are easy targets for pickpockets and thieves. Special passport holders, such as those that go around the neck or tuck inside the pants, are good options. If they must be kept in a purse, the purse should have a long strap so it can be worn across the body, and it should never be left unattended.
Once travelers reach their final destination, the passport should be kept in a hotel safe, either in room or at the front desk. For the remainder of the trip, a photocopy of the original document should be sufficient identification. Carrying the document on person in a foreign country may put passport safety at risk. It is easier to replace a lost photocopy than a lost passport.
Occasionally, despite following all the best passport safety tips, a passport is still lost or stolen. If this happens, it should be reported to the consulate of the traveler’s home country immediately. Having a photocopy of the original document can help speed up the process of replacing the passport.