Wondering how to keep your passport safe while having it easily accessible when you need it? This is a great question! My answer varies depending on your situation. Read on to discover our top safety tips!
How Do You Keep Your Passport Safe While Traveling?
When in transit through airports where security is ultra-high, I keep my passport in my handbag or in the most accessible compartment of my daypack.
Since airports are generally secure, I don’t worry about placing it in an anti-theft product. When on board the flight, I keep my daypack stowed underneath the seat in front of me or hidden underneath my clothing (if necessary).
What’s a daypack?
A daypack is the personal item you choose to pack other than your main luggage. This can be a small backpack, large travel purse, or small carry-on bag. Learn more about the best day packs.
On Trains and Land Transportation
This is the ONLY time I carry my passport on me when I travel.
When I’m on land transportation and won’t need to show my passport, I have it safely hidden within my daypack. If I’m traveling in a part of the world where theft is common, I use underwear with hidden pockets. I like these cute boyshort-style travel undies by Clever Travel Companion.
If you don’t have underwear with pockets, the next best option is a money belt like this one. In these scenarios, you would not be sightseeing but just going from point A to B, from one accommodation to the next.
Never ever ever store your passport, money, or credit cards in baggage that will be stowed underneath a bus or in the luggage section of the train.
It’s most common that your luggage will get stolen on land transportation, so always keep your valuables on you or hidden deep in your carry-on.
Border Crossings By Land
If I am crossing a border via land, I use EXTRA caution as some crossings can be very shady.
Make sure to hide your passport on your body using travel underwear or a money belt at all times! Just remove it when needed to show the border patrol officer as discreetly as possible.
My passport is ALWAYS locked in my bag at the hotel while I’m sightseeing. Thankfully, this strategy has worked for me during my six years of full-time travel through 36 countries.
I’ve heard countless times of travelers losing their passports when they’re out at big festivals or street fairs. This is when you’d most want to leave your passport in your accommodation because you’re a prime target at events with lots of people in close quarters.
I’ve also heard stories of passports getting stolen out of trouser pockets. If you insist on taking your passport out sightseeing with you, keep it hidden under your clothing by using a money belt or travel underwear with pockets. Some travelers prefer neck wallets to hide their passport, like this Neck Stash Hidden security Wallet.
Please Note: Money belts are to be used only for things you don’t need access to. Keep the cash you’ll need for the day in a wallet and don’t dig into your money belt in public–that defeats the purpose! I see travelers doing this all the time, making them an easy target.
Will Your Passport Be Safe In Your Hotel Room?
Remember, most thefts occur from convenience.
It’s more unlikely that a thief will take your entire suitcase out of your room than your cash or credit cards. Hotels don’t want to have a bad reputation, so a less obvious theft is easier to deny versus an entire suitcase that suddenly disappears.
Avoid theft by using a suitcase with lockable zippers AND locks that can’t easily be pried open.
Yes, there are ways to break zippers and sneak into bags, but again–if you don’t have a hotel safe or don’t feel comfortable leaving your passport with reception (if that’s an option), then all you can do is make it more difficult for a thief to break into your bag.
It’s more likely a thief will try to open an unlocked bag than risk getting caught taking time to break into a locked suitcase.
These are the best carry-on suitcases (plus they have lockable zippers)!
What About General Photo Identification?
While I’ve hardly ever needed to show photo identification in my six years of travel, I do carry my California State ID on me at all times in case of an emergency.
PLEASE NOTE: These tips aren’t 100% fool-proof and neither is an anti-theft device. However, you can do your best to prevent a theft by exercising caution and following these tips.
How do you keep your passport safe while traveling? Share and comment below!
The anti-theft items mentioned are available on Amazon:
- Travel Underwear with Pockets: discreetly hide passport, cards, and cash
- Money Belt: the silk material is smooth against the skin
- Money Pouch: easily hidden beneath a scarf
Please read this post to learn about additional anti-theft options for travel.
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