When traveling internationally, besides enjoying your trip, obtaining a passport for you and your child, or renewing the passports, and keeping your passport safe should be one of your top priorities. Passport safety is key to helping to prevent your identity from being stolen. More importantly, your passport is your key in and out of a country. Here are seven ways to safeguard your passport while traveling abroad.
1. Make A Copy
Proper preparation when traveling is of the utmost importance, especially if you plan on traveling internationally. One important step to take prior to leaving is to make multiple copies of your passport. Copying or scanning the pages of your passport can help to speed up the replacement process if the original passport is lost or stolen. Sometimes, no matter how much you plan, problems still happen.
In the event that this happens while you are in another country, by having a copy, you can quickly and easily prove your identity so you can obtain a new passport at the local embassy. After you make copies, it’s a good idea to keep them in separate places. Leave one copy at home, one with an emergency contact, and even in different pieces of luggage.
2. Use A Passport Cover
To protect your passport from dirt, moisture, and RFID hacking among other things, it’s a good idea to get a passport cover. Water damage or humidity can harm the pages and cover of your passport to the point that it will need to be replaced. To help prevent this a cover will help to shield your passport from those things. Most passport covers these days also come with RFID blocking capabilities, preventing a common form of electronic theft.
Having a passport cover also offers more privacy. You may be traveling in another country that you may not want others to know what nationality you or where your home country is. This can help to keep things low key and with a blank passport cover you can keep curious people guessing.
3. Know Your Passport Replacement Coverage
While most people don’t plan on losing or having their passport stolen, you should know what to do if the unthinkable happens. It’s a good idea to have some form of travel insurance when venturing out of the country. A lot of the travel insurance policies include some type of coverage for lost or stolen passports. Some policies even provide payment of a portion of passport replacement costs.
Another thing you’ll want to know is where the local passport office, consulate or embassy is located at. Knowing the location of these offices can be very helpful should serious problems arise while you’re traveling internationally. And not to keep reiterating things, having a travel insurance that covers loss of your travel documents does help a lot in circumstances like this!
1. One Adult, One Passport
A lot of times when traveling in a group of people, specific roles tend to be given to specific people, such as being the planner or carrying certain items. Sometimes it can be a good idea but when it comes to carrying passports always remember the phrase, one adult, one passport. To reduce the number of people affected by a person holding all the passports and being robbed or losing them, it is best for individuals who are old enough to carry and manage their own passport.
2. Carry Your Passport On Your Person
While it is true you should carry your own passport, it can also make a difference as to where you keep when you have it with you. A common mistake made is to keep your passport in your purse or backpack. If you do so, keep the passport in either a side pouch and smaller inner pouch if available. Also, make sure your purse is snapped or zipped closed. A shoulder bag that’s worn across the body is ideal because it makes it more difficult for a pickpocket.
Consider getting a travel purse, bag or even a hidden money belt for storing your passport when exploring new areas. The offer both protection and portability. The best place to hide your passport is some type of hidden pouch for under your clothes.
3. If You Leave Your Passport, Lock It Up
If you choose to explore an area but intend on leaving your passport behind, lock it up. Make sure to store your passport in a room safe if you find it safe enough. In the event that there is no safe in the room or you feel it is not adequate, you can also ask to leave your passport with the hotel or hostel concierge behind the front desk. If both are not options and you feel the room is safe you can store your passport in a bag or luggage and lock it with a travel lock.
4. Know Your Rights
When traveling internationally it is very important to know your rights and customs in the country you plan to visit. Although it’s not a very common practice you should be aware in some places foreign hotels will ask for your passport and keep it. Often the purpose is that they’re required to report the information to local authorities. If this happens, ask the establishment to accept a copy of your passport in lieu of holding the document itself.
Another thing to be aware of is fake police officer passport scams. You may not be familiar with what the country’s local police look like. If you feel that something just is not right, consider asking them to walk with you into a nearby “legitimate” business. While there you can ask the storekeeper to help you confirm if the person is legitimate. Most time the scam involves you handing over your wallet or cash for inspection. You should avoid doing either until you can accurately confirm the officer is who they say they are.
Proper planning prior to traveling can help you to avoid or quickly resolve issues concerning lost or stolen passport. Things like knowing where to get replacements and how to store your passport while traveling internationally are two very important things to consider. With a little preparation, you’ll feel confident and be ready to explore other countries safely and worry-free.