8 Passport Safety Tips You Need to Know
Traveling to another country is a lifelong dream for many. But losing your passport can quickly turn this dream into a nightmare.
It isn’t just a mere inconvenience. Losing a passport can actually make it very difficult for someone to leave and get back to their home country.
Although fixable, this is a situation you want to avoid at all costs. To do so, it’s important to know about passport safety before departing.
In this article, we’ll highlight eight tips to help keep you and your passport safe. That way, you have the trip of a lifetime!
1. Don’t Travel with an Expired Passport
If you’re planning a trip overseas, getting your passport should be at the top of your to-do list.
But what if you already have your passport? If so, you may be asking yourself, “Do I really need to renew my passport?”
The answer is yes! This is fundamental to passport safety.
For starters, you won’t be able to enter another country with an expired passport. But what if it expires while you’re already traveling in a different country?
In this scenario, you’ll have a difficult time at customs. Some countries require passports to be valid for at least six months past your return date. Some airlines may even prevent you from boarding if your passport is soon to expire.
Make sure to give yourself ample time to renew your passport before the trip. Sometimes renewals can take months to process due to backlogging. If you’re crunched for time, you can go through an expediting service.
2. Invest in Your Personal Carrier
Once your passport is up to date, your next concern should be how you will store it while traveling. The last thing you ever want to do is carry your passport in a pocket or sleeve. This is key to passport safety.
With a high demand for passports on the black market, pick-pocketing has become all too common. It’s a huge problem in some places more than others. It’s especially rampant throughout Europe and the United Kingdom.
The best thing to do is to invest in a compartment wallet. You can keep your credit cards, cash, and passport all in the same, secure spot. Then, keep this wallet in a zipped-up bag that you carry across your body – at all times!
3. Don’t Leave Your Passport Laying Around
You’ll need to keep your passport on you practically the entire time you’re traveling. Not having it on you when you need to identify yourself can lead to problems and even possible arrests.
Anytime you’re out in public, you should have it on you. But when it comes to hanging out around the hostel or hotel, there is a bit more leeway. Still, passport safety applies even at the hotel.
When you’re spending time at your lodging, keep your passport locked away in a safe. Stay away from places that don’t have safes in each room. Hostels should also have individual lockers for each guest.
Don’t assume your passport is safe with the staff of the hotel or hostel you stay at. This goes for the owners and staff of bed-and-breakfasts, as well as Airbnb’s.
4. Don’t Keep Multiple Passports Together
A thief will hit the jackpot if he or she is able to steal multiple passports in a single go.
Unfortunately, families and groups are often the targets for these types of theft. When traveling with others, make sure everybody carries their own passport.
If one passport does get stolen, it will be easier for your party to vouch for you if they have theirs. If you all lose your passports, you’ll have a much harder time getting home.
Should your group go out partying, it might be a good idea to have a designated sober person. That way, they can keep an eye on everybody and make sure nobody leaves anything lying around.
Don’t keep all children’s passports together, either. Spread their passports among the other adults in your party.
5. Keep Your Guard Up
While pickpocketing and theft are all too common overseas, so is fraud. Sadly, there are some countries where it’s very common for thieves to pose as the authorities.
Though unlikely, you may get stopped by someone who looks or acts like a police officer. They may ask to see your passport. Before handing them anything, ask to see their badge.
In situations where you’re asked to identify yourself, you may not even need to use your passport. A valid driver’s license or a copy of your passport should be sufficient.
Still, not all countries are the same. Do thorough research on the places you’ll travel to and know the laws there.
6. Protect Your Passport
Losing your passport or having it stolen are not the only scenarios that can go wrong. Damage to a passport can cause problems for you at customs, so it’s important to keep it protected at all times.
Luckily, there are water-proof passport covers. They’re great regardless if you’re traveling to the beach or the tundra. If you don’t already have your passport, you may be able to order one when you apply.
Be cautious of your passport in humid weather. Excess moisture can wreak havoc on the pages of your passport. Certain customs officials may even give you a hard time about this, so it’s best to avoid damage to the pages.
7. Make Copies
Before departure, make plenty of copies of your passport. Two or three copies should suffice.
Then, make sure to keep copies separate from each other. This way, should you lose a copy, you’ll have more.
8. Have a Passport Safety Plan
There’s nothing more gut-wrenching than losing your passport or having it stolen while abroad.
Whether or not this happens to you, you should know where your embassy is wherever you travel to.
Dealing with the bureaucratic system to resolve the problem will be aggravating. Yet, it’s important to remain calm. You want to make the process go smoothly not just for you, but for the people helping you.
Set aside a couple hundred dollars – at least – in case of this emergency. You’ll not only need to get a new passport photo. You’ll need to pay the fee for an emergency passport that will get you home.
You’ll also want extra money set aside in case you need to extend your trip.
Travel Smart, Stay Safe, & Blog!
Anybody can lose their passport. Nobody is invincible to passport theft, either. By following these eight passport safety tips, you can minimize the chances of losing it or having it stolen.
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