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Do you carry your passport around when traveling overseas?

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Do you carry your passport around when traveling overseas?

Postby Winston » Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:52 am

I have a question. When overseas, do you guys carry your passport around everywhere you go? If so, how and where? In a shoulder bag or in your pocket? If not, then where do you leave it? In your luggage?

The thing is, if you leave it in your luggage, then you risk having the hotel staff steal it. Or a thief who breaks into your room may take it too. But if you carry it on you, then you risk having it pickpocketed, or misplacing it, or getting mugged and losing it, etc. When you are out with strangers around, anything can happen. So either way, there's risk involved.

If you use a passport protector belt and keep it under your clothes, it feels uncomfortable around your skin and eventually smells from your sweat. So that's not a good solution either, especially if you have to take it out to go swimming or go to the beach.

So what's the ideal solution for where to keep your passport?

I know many hotels in the Philippines have safes. But if you put it there, then you risk not remembering the combination of the safe. Or you may forget to take it out and lose it that way too. So either way, there's some risk involved. How do you guys manage that?
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Re: Do you carry your passport around when traveling oversea

Postby Rock » Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:57 am

Winston wrote:I have a question. When overseas, do you guys carry your passport around everywhere you go? If so, how and where? In a shoulder bag or in your pocket? If not, then where do you leave it? In your luggage?

The thing is, if you leave it in your luggage, then you risk having the hotel staff steal it. Or a thief who breaks into your room may take it too. But if you carry it on you, then you risk having it pickpocketed, or misplacing it, or getting mugged and losing it, etc. When you are out with strangers around, anything can happen. So either way, there's risk involved.

If you use a passport protector belt and keep it under your clothes, it feels uncomfortable around your skin and eventually smells from your sweat. So that's not a good solution either, especially if you have to take it out to go swimming or go to the beach.

So what's the ideal solution for where to keep your passport?

I know many hotels in the Philippines have safes. But if you put it there, then you risk not remembering the combination of the safe. Or you may forget to take it out and lose it that way too. So either way, there's some risk involved. How do you guys manage that?


I stay in secure places and if necessary lock passport up in safe. I've never had anything taken out of my room tho. And anyway, if your passport is stolen, you can get a quick temp (1 year) one at USA embassy and apply for 10 year back in your country of residence. US passport is really not that valuable anymore to thieves cus with new technology, it's very hard to use it to create a new fake.
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Re: Do you carry your passport around when traveling oversea

Postby Ghost » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:45 pm

I just carry it in my pocket usually. (I also pocket guard with my hands constantly.)
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Re: Do you carry your passport around when traveling oversea

Postby Jester » Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:06 pm

Ghost wrote:I just carry it in my pocket usually. (I also pocket guard with my hands constantly.)


:!: :!: :!:
:shock: :shock: :shock:

If I carried it in a front pocket, like I do my wallet and phone(s), wouldnt it get bent, folded, spindled, mutilated etc especially when I sat down?

PS to Winston: GREAT OP. I was just discussing this yesterday with family. I know some countries technically make you carry it with you.

(Not an issue for me in Mexico, because I also ordered the wallet-size passport card good for North America. NWO-ish but damned convenient.)
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Re: Do you carry your passport around when traveling oversea

Postby Yohan » Sat Jan 24, 2015 2:32 pm

No, I do not carry my passport with me all the time - in Japan I have a resident card, passport not required. While in Philippines or Thailand or other countries my passport is in a safety box either in the hotel in Philippines or in the safety box in my own second home in Thailand, but I carry photocopies with me, showing the passport-page with my data and picture, and also a copy of the page with the immigration stamp.
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Re: Do you carry your passport around when traveling oversea

Postby xiongmao » Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:02 pm

Yes I always carry my passport. In China I accidentally walked into a military facility, but my passport saved me.

In Thailand I heard of a foreigner getting thrown in jail for not having his passport on him, and that cost a lot of effort to sort out. Not sure where I read it, but I think it was on Stickman's site.
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Re: Do you carry your passport around when traveling oversea

Postby MrMan » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:22 am

When I was in Indonesia, I almost never carried it around unless I was traveling overseas. But for most of that time, I carried around a local ID. I got stopped once in a taxi late at night and the taxi driver wanted to see my ID. I didn't realize it, but the seal on it over my picture was very, very faith. He couldn't see it and he wanted me to go to the station with him. I feigned not speaking Indonesian and just spoke English to him, staying in the car, until he let me go. I'd just gotten into the taxi. After he let me go, I started speaking Indonesian to the driver. He seemed to think I did the right thing, and so did my Indonesian coworkers. One of themy said I could have ended up dead in a ditch.

I don't remember if it was Thailand, but I heard in one of those countries, police might take your passport and ask for money to get it back, but they wouldn't arrest you if you carried a photocopy of it. So that may be a solution.

Another thing is you can get a passport holder that goes around your neck. It's like a necklace undergarment thing that you put your passport in. I use that on the airplane, but after 20 hours or so, it feels a bit uncomfortable wearing that, just a bit too heavy. But I load the thing down with tickets. Sometimes I keep my boarding passes in it. I work out a system of pockets or something and I have one where I keep whatever I need for the next step of the flight. A passport protector like this will keep it in good shape.

You can consult other expats or a Lonely Planet travel guide or ask the immigration when you go into the country about laws regarding carrying your passport. If you can get by with a photocopy in your pocket, you can make a few copies and keep the passport in the hotel safe, where maybe it will be safe. Maybe. They have to have a way to get in if a guest checks out without emptying it, though. My guess is they wouldn't give the cleaning staff those codes... if they are smart.

I think the US embassy may have 1 day service if you are overseas and lose your passport. They did many years ago, but you still have to pay for it.

I usually kept my wallet in my front pocket when in a crowded outdoor market or other high risk area. I was never pickpocketed overseas, though someone did steal some money out of my wallet and cash out of my room, but I've never had someone actually pick pocket me.
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Re: Do you carry your passport around when traveling oversea

Postby davewe » Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:03 pm

When I don't need it - I put it in a safe, along with excess cash (if I still have any). Resetting a hotel safe lock ain't that hard if you forget the combo.

But travel experts I respect do recommend keeping a copy of your passport and credit/debit cards separate in case you lose them or they are stolen.
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Re: Do you carry your passport around when traveling oversea

Postby Mr Natural » Sun Feb 01, 2015 5:26 pm

Depends on where you are, countries are different. In most places I carry a color copy, along with cash and a debit card. In China I have always carried it though, heard too many bad stories. BUT, when carrying anything valuable always use a waistband wallet or similar.
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Re: Do you carry your passport around when traveling oversea

Postby Contrarian Expatriate » Sun Feb 01, 2015 7:57 pm

Some countries REQUIRE foreigners to carry passports at all times. I usually carry an expired passport around and I use it as a secondary wallet.

If I ever lost my expired passport, I would keep a photocopy of the information page in my pocket at all times.
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Re: Do you carry your passport around when traveling oversea

Postby DDuana » Sun Feb 01, 2015 7:59 pm

God no. If you lose that puppy, you are in so much sht. I only carried it when I needed it stamped, or if I need it to do something, like opening a bank account.
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Re: Do you carry your passport around when traveling oversea

Postby Wolfeye » Mon Feb 02, 2015 9:18 pm

So an expired passport will work as ID? It always got on my nerves that people would act like you're not you were when you got the driver's license after it expired? Yeah, maybe some people aren't sure if I can still drive, but I didn't turn into somebody else!

Speaking of which: Did you guys hear about that thing in Ohio where the guy had been declared legally dead, but then he showed up again & the judge STILL said he's considered dead? The guy is standing right there alive & the judge just says "No you're not." An argument that something ceases to exist, despite its existance.
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Re: Do you carry your passport around when traveling oversea

Postby Mr Natural » Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:28 pm

Wolfeye wrote:So an expired passport will work as ID?


In most countries that or just a color copy will suffice, but like we said, depends on where you are.
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