Travel Tip Thursday: Passport Safety
The single most important item you need to keep track of while travelling abroad is your passport. It’s your ticket in and out of countries - yes, including your home country! Replacing a lost passport during travel is, well, a headache. If you lose your passport, you need to contact the closest embassy and let them know as quickly as possible. If it was stolen, you then need to file a police report. Even if it may seem pointless in a foreign country, the police still need to be notified - your passport is an important document! You’ll need to go to the nearest embassy to fill out an application for a new passport - this includes a picture and paying the renewal fee. Then, you wait. Generally, the 4-6 week wait time for passport renewal is reduced while travelling abroad, but it can significantly mess up your travel schedule. Bear in mind that this process can only take place while the embassy is issuing passports - that means no weekends, and no holidays.
There are a few measures you can take to protect your passport while travelling abroad. Here you’ll find a post about the money belt - this is the first and easiest step you can take to protecting your passport. Take Gandalf’s advice on this one - keep it secret, keep it safe! Never leave your passport in your pack back in your room while out exploring - keep it on you at all times. Never leave it laying around in open sight unattended, either. It’s too easy for rooms to be broken into and packs to be stolen.
Keep a few copies of your passport stashed around. Make a copy of it and stick it in your money belt with your cash. Keep a copy in your backpack. Give a copy to your travelling companion, if you have one. If your hotel room has a safe, keep a copy in there. Leave paper copies with your contacts at home. Having a paper copy can speed up the replacement process in case you do lose the original. Keeping your original on a lanyard around your neck, hidden under your shirt, is a good option, too. You can find a passport lanyard on Amazon for around $10. Never carry it in your back pocket, or exterior pocket of any bag or pack. Anywhere you can feel it on your person - like a lanyard, or a belt - but is not visible to others is a good place to keep it.
What measures do you take to keep your passport safe? Let us know in the comments below!