Passport safety 101: 6 ways to safeguard your identity during travel

2019-06-10 09:30 - Saara Mowlana
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passport handover

6 ways to ensure the safety of your identity. (Photo: iStock)

There's nothing quite as stressful as the permanent worry of losing your passport and legal doccies while in transit.

Not to mention the stresses that accompany where to safeguard your legal docs while settled into a new destination in new unchartered (by you) lands...

It is absolutely frightening and daunting that this little booklet we whip out so rarely (unless you're on that frequent traveller lush life buzz) can hold all of our traveller legitimacy and fate within its green casing.

But fret not my fellow occasional and frequent travellers - we've got you sorted with some pro tips. 

READ: Your face as your passport? New technology will streamline journeys from check-in to take-off 

Check out six ways to keep your docs and identity protected during your travels below:


Copies, copies, copies...

Always, always, always make a copy or more of your passport in case of an emergency. And to ensure they don't also go missing along with your passport (in the event that it does go missing), keep the copies separate from the actual passport so that you've got your proof of ID on you should push come to shove and your pocket gets picked. 

Make copies of the page that has your photo and full name on it and store them away in random places of your luggage. Leave one copy of your passport at home, with an emergency contact or trusted colleague. (If you find yourself needing to replace your passport, have ID sized photos at the ready and bring extras along with you as well). 

SEE: How to renew your passport 

Conceal, but feel

Speaking of easy-to-pick pockets - don't keep your passport in loose pockets or even your carry on bag. Your best bet is to strap it to your body like you're ready for the combat of travel. Whether you opt for undies with hidden zip-up pocket compartments or the spy-worthy inside jacket pocket or a classic trendy fanny pack (or money bag) be sure to keep it close and inconspicuously check or feel for it regularly. 

Packing it in your carry on is risky should your carry on need to be checked in last minute and you forget to retrieve it before it goes into the unknown realm the conveyer belt leads to. 

If you do opt for a fanny pack - consider strapping it diagonally over your shoulder and across your chest as this option allows you to have more control and protection over the bag from any wandering or prying sticky fingers.

And if the thought of being caught fanny-pack-handed (or -chested) is a bit much, invest in a good travel purse that has several internal compartments as well as a closed zip section that you can keep in your spacey zip up pocket or in your front-way worn back pack (front-way worn for the ultimate safety, of course).

CHECK OUT: Passport Guidelines 101: Could smiling for your ID photo protect your identity? 

Keep it crisp

Keeping your passport safe goes beyond just making sure you don't lose it - you've also got to keep it in a good physical condition. Customs can be quite picky when it comes to how your passport looks. So be sure to keep it straight and tighly flattened to avoid any unwarranted curled corners or ripped page edges and nosily unnecessary custom delays and interrogations.

This means ensuring that your passport also doesn't get wet or weathered either to keep it in solid vampiristic condition until it actually expires. Investing in a good waterproof cover and keeping it concealed until necessary ought to help keep it in mint condition. 

ICYMI: Say goodbye to your passport: Biometric airports across the world 

Divide to conquer

Avoid clumping all of the passports together when travelling in groups. If you're travelling in groups or as a family divide the passports among the adults and if you're all adults - carry your own passport. This way if one of your group members loses their passport, the rest of the group will not be inhibited or affected.

However, if one person is carrying everyone's passports, you run the risk of losing all of the passports should the person misplace the documents or have them pickpocketed. 

ALSO SEE: The Golden Visa: Travelling the exclusive world of the 1% 

Be vigilant

And, most importantly, be nonchalantly vigilant of your surroundings. By this I mean that you should be alert to what is happening around you and always check regularly that your doccies are still all in place and in order, however, it is vital to be casually alert. Do not look too alert should you attract any actual danger toward you or your possessions.

Basically - try not to look frantic while checking for your passport or docs, make the act seem seamless and inconspicuous - so that you're safe about staying safe.

ALSO READ: Travel abominations according to Anthony Bourdain 


Lock it up

When at your destination - your best bet is to simply lock up your passport at the place you're staying. You needn't conceal a complicated safe within the hotel wall, but merely invest in a good and solid suitcase with a lock system that you can trust to leave your passport in while touring the new city or town.

If you worry about having to present proof of identity while trekking around - keep one of those fifty copies on you, just in case, but keep your actual passport locked away safely at your place of stay. 

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