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When you travel internationally, what do you do with your passport?

I travel quite a bit internationally and safety is always my top concern.  I love people, but I’m on my guard when I travel.  For the most part people are trustworthy, but it’s that one or two people that spoils it.

I was in the Charles de Gaulle, Paris France train station once and while giving a guy directions, his friend tried to rob my travel companion’s purse. Totally not cool. Luckily she spotted the guy and then they both ran away before we could do anything about it.

So usually, I tend to leave my passport at the place I’m staying when I travel.  Usually somewhere hidden in the room, in the in-room safe or with the front desk in their safe. The issue is that when the rooms are being cleaned, the door is wide open, so someone can enter the room when say the cleaning person is doing the bathroom.

On my last trip though, I just did not feel that my room was safe when I was not there and did not really trust the front desk space.  So I kept it with me at all times.  I was not really happy about it, but thought it was the best decision.  As it turns out all went well.

A funny story.  I was in the People’s Republic of China a few years back with a two other friends.  We were in a five star hotel so it was all swanky. One of my friends placed all our passports and some other valuables in the in-room safe. When we got back from our day’s adventure, one of us needed an item. Well, the combination did not work as he’d forgotten it. So we had to ask the hotel to break into our safe. A tad embarrassing to say the least.

So what do you do with your passport when you travel internationally? Do you:

  1. Keep it with you at all times?
  2. Keep it in the hotel in-room safe?
  3. Keep it in the hotel safe at the front desk?
  4. Something else?

Please leave a comment below.

6 thoughts on “When you travel internationally, what do you do with your passport?

  1. I keep a photo of the passport details page and any relavent country specific visas and email it to myself or save the photos on your smartphone or your own camera you are using on a daily basis while travelling.

  2. i’m often confused. while stashing my passport in the room safe or putting in the hotel safe is fine, when i’m in my room. what occassions warrant the need to produce my passport WHEN I AM AWAY from my hotel room? when making theatre tickets purchase? when doing banking? i know i’ll need my passport at the airport. but what about train travel? my biggest fear is having my passport taken away by some official, and them keeping it! so perhaps carrying a copy of the passport is best-with the original kept elsewhere?

    1. @Jess, thanks for the comments.
      You can’t use the copy of your passport for identification purposes. its just if you lose the original then you can use it to get a new one quicker/easier from the local consulate/passport office for your country.
      I’d advise to use a non-passport ID, such as a driver’s license for identification purposes and only the passport for the airport/train station/ferry station or hotel as some hotels do ask you for it when you arrive to check-in. You won’t need it for train travel unless you are crossing a country’s border.
      As for your “biggest fear,” officials won’t take away your passport unless they suspect it to be fraudulent, so you are O.K. there.
      I’m usually torn between keeping it with me or leaving it with the hotel safe or the safe in my room.

  3. Thanks for the post!

    Keep it in an in-room safe and have a black and white copy on you. About room service…if its not safe then I would recommend leaving the “Do Not Disturb” sign out front…especially if you’re there for a short period, just have them deliver more towels while you’re in the room.


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