PASSPORT CARRYING TIPS
Travelling the world, whether it’s on a gap year, a family holiday, or a once in a lifetime trip; is a dream come true for many. And as much as we want to think of the World as one great big ol’ friendly place, sorry to be the one to burst your bubble, but it can actually be quite hostile. Travelling safely is a juggling act in itself; trying to lessen the risks of theft, loss, being ripped off, border controls, customs…to name just a few.
With our Travel and Money series we will try to give you hints, tips and hacks to ensure you and your money/passport/belongings have a safe and pleasant trip together.
In this post we will cover PASSPORTS, that cute little dog eared book that so many of us don’t want others to see the photograph within, you know, the photo of you 10 year ago when you had a moustache and a curly perm (and that’s just the wife). Having a passport brings you freedom to travel the world, but should you find your ‘dog eared friend’ goes missing, it can cause a whole heap of hullabaloo and in some cases, get you a hefty fine or deported.
Hopefully, like us, you will never have any issues (other than Lynne trying to carry prohibited items through customs), but these handy tips may well reduce the chances of your passport going missing or being stolen, and should the unthinkable ever happen, help make the process of recovery or replacement swift and painless.
SHOULD I CARRY THE ORIGINAL
Tricky one! When you’re actively travelling we would say yes, and in many countries it is actually a legal requirement to have your passport on your person (tourists) when out and about; it is certainly needed for border crossings and at most airports and ferry ports. When carrying an original passport, rather than keep it in a purse/wallet, we suggest wearing an under-garment belt, a slimline one that fits around the waist and is discreet. If you have your passport in a handbag/wallet, it’s probably the first thing a thief would target.
MY PASSPORT AND VALUABLES WILL BE SAFE IN A HOTEL SAFE…RIGHT
Most hotels offer the service of a reception safe where you can store your passport and valuables, and in a lot of instances, your room will also have a small electronic coded safe. Depending on the hotel (and its reputation) depends on whether or not we leave valuables or take them out with us. A word of warning though, many crooks/dodgy staff have ways and means of getting into an electronic coded room safe, and as trustworthy as you are, thefts from hotel room safes are on the increase. Think of it this way, you have locked your passport, credit card and holiday cash into the safe and then you disappear for a day of touring, you return back to the hotel and can’t recall the code you entered. Is the safe unusable? Have you lost your contents forever? In a word…No! The staff have override codes for this exact instance and not all staff members are honest. Many crooks/dodgy staff won’t empty the safe completely, they will copy down your credit card details, and take a small number of notes so as not to arouse suspicion. If in doubt, take your valuables out.
Thankfully, there are a number of safe locks available to help keep your valuables safe when locked away in a hotel room electronic safe. We recommend the Milockie Hotel Safe (model MK1000), a nifty little lock that is travel size and the only way to get into the safe once it has been fitted, is to break it open, but at least that way you will know you’ve been robbed.
CAN I JUST USE A PHOTOCOPY
We always carry photocopies, and whenever possible, present the copy rather than the original passport. Most hotels are happy with a photocopy. Let’s face it, the less you handle and handover your passport, the less chance you have of it going missing or being stolen. If your passport does go AWOL, you can use the photocopy at your embassy to order a replacement. We also carry spare passport photos of each traveller.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I LOSE MY PASSPORT WHILST TRAVELLING
First of all…don’t panic! Track back on yourself and see if it turns up. Check at the hotel reception just in case you dropped it and someone handed it in. If you don’t locate your passport, take your photocopy and any other id that you may have, and go along to your own country consulate or embassy. You should also file a Police report and obtain a reference number. You will need two passport photos. Some,not all, Embassy’s offer a 24 hour replacement service, but it is quite costly, in excess of £100 we believe.
EMAIL AND USB ARE YOUR FRIENDS
Backup, backup and backup some more. Before we travel, we always scan our original documents, this includes passports, insurance, hotel bookings, car hire and anything else that is applicable. Once scanned, we email them to ourselves and CC in a family member, that way we have access to them, and if we can’t get an issue resolved in a foreign land, we can ask the relative to assist where necessary. We also take the copies as files on a USB stick (encrypted and password protected).
USB, copies, emails, originals….is this really all necessary? In a word, yes! It’s better to have covered all angles than find yourself in a whole heap of trouble because your passport has decided to go and have a holiday on its own.
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All views, opinions and experiences are that of The Callaghan Posse and are correct at time of publication.
Information, currency and prices are correct at time of post publication.
Photos taken by Andrew Callaghan for use and distribution by Around The World In 18 Years