Where to keep passport when traveling

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Jul 22, 2017
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#1
We will be traveling to Italy this summer, and both my husband and I will be wearing a money belt under our clothing to keep our cash, as I have been reading about all the pickpockets in Italy. Is it safer to keep our passports on us in the hidden money belt all the time, or would it be safer to keep it in the safe at our hotel. We will also be keeping copies of the passport in a separate location, just in case. Just wondering what other people have done when traveling to foreign countries. Thank you!
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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#2
In-room hotel safes are notoriously unsafe. I never carry my passport while out and about ... the front desk no doubt has a "real" safe, so that would be my advice. Last time we were in Italy, I had just read an article about the "beggars" who would thrust a baby into your arms, etc. We were walking down the via Condoti when a woman with (surprise!) a baby rose up from her crouch on the side, with several little kids running around. I let out a scream that stopped her cold. My husband, blissfully ignorant, thought I had suffered some huge injury. One of the kids got 15euro out of his pocket tho!
 
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Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#3
They sell passport holders that hang around your neck you can buy if you are that concerned. I am a New Yorker and have never had an issue in Italy. I found it no less safe than traveling around NYC. My wife uses a purse that goes around her shoulder and hangs in front of her. We put both of our passports in it and never had a problem.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#4
Therese certainly pickpocketing does happen and tourists are easy targets as they are often distracted. People that live in large cities like myself tend to have more protective habits — such as the way I carry my purse. I would never buy or use a purse that does not have a cross body strap and a zipper to close. Also it is not just money — pickpockets are looking to take smartphones, cameras, anything of value.

The pickpockets are usually hanging out near tourist attractions and public transportation — bus, subways, trains. In Italy there are often gangs of children and young teens — and they are aggressive. Do not be afraid of pushing back.

I carry my passport but I often need it when traveling. Hotel safe (not in room) may be the safest. Always be aware, and do not make it easy for a thief to steal.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
And remember that Italy is generally very safe; if one lives in a suburb in the US, one is aware of thefts from cars, thefts of packages from the front door, and so on. It is sad that this is such a global problem but what causes problems for people is that it is a different type of theft (pickpockets) versus what happens at home so the precautions are different.

You will have a wonderful time, just take precautions so to minimize the risks of being stolen from.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#6
I view questions like this in this light: what would happen if they are lost?

In that context these things stand out:
  • Cash and credit cards
  • ID documents (driver's license, passport, visa, etc.)
  • Prescription meds
  • Smartphone and GPS
Losing those would create a significant problem, especially credit cards and ID documents, so I always keep them with me ...
 

Neil Maley

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#7
We also were concerned with all the reports of pickpockets but realized how ridiculous we were. We live right outside of NYC and are just used to being aware of our surroundings and took the normal precautions we would practice right here.
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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#8
I view questions like this in this light: what would happen if they are lost?

In that context these things stand out:
  • Cash and credit cards
  • ID documents (driver's license, passport, visa, etc.)
  • Prescription meds
  • Smartphone and GPS
Losing those would create a significant problem, especially credit cards and ID documents, so I always keep them with me ...
My password-protected laptop has all the pertinent info on my credit cards, as well as photocopies of our driver's licenses and passports. I include copies of my travel file in case I am in the lounge at JFK drinking champagne and leave the paper file when I depart. It is difficult to get a hotel to print something from your flash, however, but they'll usually print from an attachment in an email that you send them. I also have a little "list of stuff' with details on everything that might be pertinent if the originals disappeared. I take two meds daily, so I think I'l l get that info on that list as well.
 
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mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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#9
I carry all of that info either in my contact list [I use outlook exchange], in the notes sections, for instance or in the notes app on my iPhone. This all copies over to my iPad for double access, dead batteries et al.
I have a general Travel Info note for info on items like who to call for roadside assistance, etc and then a one-time. Note for the specific trip. All flight info, rervations with conf #, phone numbers of vendor, just any/all info I think I maight need, just in case.
 
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jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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#10
But doesn't this mean that your information is "out there" online? I've never quite understood how anything is safe online ... the hackers are far smarter than any security a third party can build in. Even if all some kid did was cancel a few of my reservations, it would still be a royal pain. Not that they care about our personal notes, but they do care about our credit card info!
 
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johnbaker

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Oct 2, 2014
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#11
Personally, I keep a copy of my passport in my suitcase. My wife has a scanned copy at home. The book stays in my room safe and my passport card is in my wallet.

The passport card has everything on it for the embassy to issue an emergency passport.
 

mmb

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Jan 20, 2015
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#13
But doesn't this mean that your information is "out there" online?
Well Judy, I don’t really know for sure but I feel ok with what I do.
My iPhone/iPad do not back up to a cloud, they back up to my server at home which is super secure. My son is a computer hardware, security genius. The server is backed up to Crashplan.
If I use my PC in public I always use the VPN. I have super strong passwords.
Apple has told me that if someone gets ahold of my iPhone/iPad they have about three chances to guess the passcode and then it locks. At any point that I discover either of these devices not in my possession, I can erase the info on the device and I can reinstall from my backup if necessary. (As in I found the device or bought a new one.)
As for anyone hacking into my iPhone or iPad, neither have been jailbroken and no one has had an opportunity to install a spy app on them so I’m really not worried.
If someone has other indormation about the safety of these items, I would love to hear about it.
 
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mmb

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Jan 20, 2015
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#14
Personally, I keep a copy of my passport in my suitcase. My wife has a scanned copy at home. The book stays in my room safe and my passport card is in my wallet.

The passport card has everything on it for the embassy to issue an emergency passport.
My fav carryon has a zip-in lining for some reason. It is not super evident so i use that space for copies of any paper documents I carry with me, passport, DL, etc. I don’t have a passport card, that’s an extra expense, right?
 
Jul 27, 2016
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#16
I keep my passport in the safe in the hotel room, and carry my Global Entry card, which gives me a US gov't-issued ID on me. Scans of my passport, along with credit card numbers, are in an encrypted file in my Dropbox, accessible from my phone or computer, just in case I need access. Theoretically creates a hacking risk I suppose, but the potential benefit in the event my passport is stolen is significant, and breaking into those files falls into the category of "if someone with the resources to break into those files is after me, I've got much bigger problems than a lost passport."
 
Mar 4, 2017
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#17
Hi Therese~
I've been to Europe (including Italy) many times and make a practice of always wearing my passport on my body in my PortaPocket. Rarely do I feel confident enough of the safe, but lately have been staying at airbnb lodgings so occasionally leave it at the host's place (as long as they're not in a big city).
One thing to be cautious about neck safes: they can bleed sweat through the nylon and can ruin your passport photos.
And a note about wearing purses cross-body: you can be at risk for broken bones if someone is determined enough to take your bag (they'll throw you down to get it, according to an ER nurse w/27 yrs of experience who'd told me this).
I just use PortaPocket to get around, every day. An XL Pocket at my hip under my sweater/top acts as my phone & passports holder; another Small Pocket under my pant leg lets me carry my ID/cards/cash. Never have had a problem in over 10 years of doing this. Discreet, simple, and so comfy I forget they're there. Have a fantastic trip!
 
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Feb 11, 2018
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#18
They sell passport holders that hang around your neck you can buy if you are that concerned. I am a New Yorker and have never had an issue in Italy. I found it no less safe than traveling around NYC. My wife uses a purse that goes around her shoulder and hangs in front of her. We put both of our passports in it and never had a problem.
Yes, a cross-body bag with zipper is the way to go. For the truly paranoid, there are bags that have a cable built into the strap, making them cut-proof.
 
Feb 11, 2018
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#19
My password-protected laptop has all the pertinent info on my credit cards, as well as photocopies of our driver's licenses and passports. I include copies of my travel file in case I am in the lounge at JFK drinking champagne and leave the paper file when I depart. It is difficult to get a hotel to print something from your flash, however, but they'll usually print from an attachment in an email that you send them. I also have a little "list of stuff' with details on everything that might be pertinent if the originals disappeared. I take two meds daily, so I think I'l l get that info on that list as well.
I keep all the info not only in my laptop, but in my phone as well. And I also keep my health information (including meds info) on them. AND a scanned paper copy with my travel docs and itineraries. Paranoid? Maybe. But an ounce of prevention...BTW, I think there are places where you're required to carry your passport. And I needed it when shopping at places that don't charge the VAT to US citizens. Don't know whether a copy would have been sufficient.
 
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Jun 27, 2017
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#20
We typically wear travel vests, buttoned up, with passports and essential credit/debit cards secured in an inside zippered pockets. Yes, i know they instantly scream, "TOURIST," but we've never had a problem. My hubby also has a pair of Pick-Pocket Proof Pants from Clothing Arts, which we first learned about at Elliott.org. We never put anything in our back pockets. We try to spot one another, too. I am not as vigilant as my hubby, as I often slip into the White Zone, gazing at all the sights to see. Thank goodness, he seldom strays from the Orange Zone.