How can I keep my passport safe when travelling?

How can I keep my passport safe when travelling?

*This article contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through one of these links I will receive a small commission. This in no way affects my recommendation, however.*

 

In this article you’ll learn:

  • Tips from full-time travelers on how to keep your passport safe

  • Passport safety stats

  • Top 3 travel products to keep your passport safe

 

 

I had my passport stolen once.

It was being kept in a rectangular pouch with some cash and, most importantly, a USB drive of all of my recent travel pics. The pouch was brightly colored and sitting right on top of an open bag I kept beside me on a bus ride. I was enjoying the ride and looking out of the window at the gorgeous Guatemalan countryside when someone must have picked the low-hanging fruit from my bag. I didn’t even notice it was gone until I reached my destination and had no ID or money for a hotel that night. It felt like my own fault because I was a naive traveler.

It’s a poignant memory for me. It sucked. I lost a full day of precious travel time at the American Embassy trying to get get a new passport, it cost me over $200 to replace on-the-spot, I had to scrounge around and eventually call relatives for help to find a place to sleep that night, and, worst of all, I was a little more wise to the negativity in the world.

I hope that doesn’t happen to you!

The fact that you’re even curious about how to keep your passport safe while travelling shows you’re a wiser traveler than I was. I’m happy to share my new habits and those of other full-time travel families!

 

So how do I keep my passport safe while travelling? 

Advice from men and women who travel full-time with their families

 

“I keep mine on me and then a copy of all in our room along with the kid’s originals. If I were going on longer trips where I’d rent a house or something I’d probably just keep all originals and copies in the rental.” –Jade


“We bring duct tape and tape them into unsuspecting places in our room.” –Mindy


“We keep ID on us and passports in a safe in our room. If you get mugged or lose your wallet you’ll want a backup to get back on a plane to go home.” –Abigail


“I carry only a copy with me unless it’s strictly required to carry the actual book. I leave the passport in my locked luggage at the hotel. I don’t use hotel safes as it increases the chance of forgetting it when you check out.” –Luis


“I’ve emailed myself a copy, have a copy on my phone, have a printed copy somewhere nearby, and leave the passport in the room when I’m out.” –Rebecca


“I carry copies on my (also backed up on Google Drive), and then keep them in our dirty undies. If someone is going to rifle through dirty underwear on the floor, then congrats! You can have them.” –Morgan


“Also keep a photo on something accessible from any web browser. And have your emergency contact back home be able to have access to it!” –Bitsy


“For me it depends on where I am. Often, I leave them somewhere safe in the hotel or whatever room I’m in. Usually I use an actual fireproof safe. I have heard that some places will not accept any ID from a foreigner except a passport and that I had better keep our passports on me at all times in case of emergency (in those countries).” –Faith


“If I can’t lock it away, which is my first choice, then I carry it with me.” –Autumn


 

When polled, 50% of travelers say they lock their passports away. 43% leave it unlocked in the room, and only 7% carry it with them at all times.

 

If you find yourself staying in an unsafe or communal residence and you’re concerned about leaving it in the room, here are some ways to keep your passport safe from being mugged:

 

  • The original anti-theft backpack

We personally bought and use the XD Design Bobby Anti-theft Backpack after hearing horror stories of theft gangs working together to cut and steal your bag or purse. We love this backpack because it’s loaded with safety features! The zipper is lockable, the material and straps are cut-proof, it’s water repellent, and has hidden pockets for phones, money, or passports that pickpockets will never be able to access.

There are a lot of anti-theft backpacks available right now, but we felt best buying the original. We are product developers, too, and know that the original always takes the most pride and care to make the best product. When we’re talking about the safety of our identities and all of our expensive equipment we aren’t willing to take any chances!

XD Design anti-theft backpack for travelling

Order through Amazon here.

  • Travel Money Belt

Money belts have been used for decades to help people feel safe when traveling! We have a set in addition to our anti-theft backpack for days when we don’t want to carry the backpack.

The idea is simple: the money belt has one or two slim pockets and attaches with a belt around your waist. You can carry non-bulky items inside (like bills, a credit card, or passport) and tuck it under your clothes. If it’s kept slim enough professional muggers won’t even know you’re wearing one, and if they do notice they’ll have to full-on grab you to try to get to it, giving you time to get away or call for help.

When shopping for the best travel money belt you’ll want one that is slim, wide, and padded for comfort. We chose these ones:

The Best travel money belt to keep passport safeOrder through Amazon here

  • Portable Travel Safe

A portable travel safe is pretty much what it sounds like: a safe you bring with you to a new hotel and use to store important items then bring back home with you. This is a good idea if you like to use a safe, as many hotels and AirBnBs around the world don’t provide one.

A good portable travel safe will be lightweight, easy to conceal in any environment, and cut-proof. I like this one. It’s disguise as a book makes it easy to hide in a room, and it’s the perfect size for passports and cash.

Portable travel safe to keep passports safe when travelling

Order through Amazon here

 

 

Travelling is meant to be fun! There are plenty of things you can’t control, like weather or crowds, with the potential to ruin your day. Don’t let something you could control bring you down, too!

 

If you’re at all worried about keeping your passport safe while you travel follow this advice and then go enjoy your trip!

 

If you’re planning a family trip pin this article for later to remember the best advice!

Planning a family trip abroad? Family vacation or honeymoon? Here are the best tips to keep your passport safe when traveling from full-time travel families! Advice from travelers and also the best travel safe, best anti-theft backpack, and best travel money belt!

 

 

 

 

14 Comments

    1. Keeping a copy is a great way to have some peace of mind, when you don’t want to risk losing the original!

  1. I’m sorry to hear about your passport and I’m glad you’re able to secure a new one as it is difficult to get replacement (at least here in the Philippines, you need affidavit of loss and you need to wait forever just to process it). I keep my passport safe by putting it in a zip up plastic bag (just in case my bag gets submerged in water). I always carry it around with me wherever I go. I also send emails (passport and flight details) to myself and to my parents and bf days before my trip. Thank you very much for these information! <3

  2. I’ve never put so much thought into this, but now I will definitely be giving it more consideration! Thank you for sharing your tips with us after your experience.

  3. This is some really good advice. I’ve been robbed before and it is never a good feeling. Important things like passports, social security cards, IDs, etc. are really important to keep safe and track of.

  4. I highly recommend the money belt. You can usually fit six or so passports inside. I was so paranoid about lost passports when I traveled with students–I always kept two photocopies (one in my luggage and one in my husband’s) and I carried any of the ones the kids didn’t want to. One did have his stolen–left it at a phone booth in London. Luckily, I had the copy with all the numbers. Now we just take a digital photo that’s uploaded to the cloud.

  5. Great Travel Tips! So sorry that you had the experience of getting your passport stolen. We usually keep ours in the room in any strange location I can think of. I also usually keep a few copies in various places. For my last trip, I also purchased something similar to the money belt.

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