Passports

Your passport is probably the most important item you will have with you on your trip.  You don't want to end up stuck somewhere unable to return home because you don't have your passport.  Keep your passport with you at all times if possible.  There may be activities when you are unable to keep it with you such as when participating in some type of water sport but for the most part, always try to keep it with you.

If your passport is lost or stolen abroad

You will have to replace the passport before returning to the United States. Contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. Contact information for U.S. embassies and consulates is also available in our country information pages. Ask to speak to the Consular Section to report your passport lost or stolen. If you have been the victim of a serious crime, be sure to tell a consular officer about it as soon as possible so we can provide appropriate assistance. If you are scheduled to leave the foreign country shortly, please provide our consular staff with the details of your travel. We will make every effort to assist you quickly. You will also be directed to where you can obtain a photo for your replacement passport. In most cases, you will need to get a passport photo prior to your arrival at the consular section.

If you are notified by a relative or friend traveling abroad that his/her U.S. passport has been lost/stolen, you may wish to contact the Office of Overseas Citizens Services, U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C, at 1-888-407-4747. That office will be able to help you put your friend or loved one in touch with the closest U.S. embassy or consulate. Your relative/friend must apply in person for a new passport at the U.S. embassy or consulate.

The following website provides information for lost or stolen passports

Hotels and Passports

There’s a long tradition throughout Europe of statutes requiring hotels to collect information on guests—including name, nationality, and ID number—enabling law enforcement to cross-check for wanted individuals, criminals, or missing persons. The European Union has since made such data collection a requirement for hotels in member states. Most of this information is simply stored to be made available to authorities upon request, though in certain areas, it is regularly collected. In the past, some hotels would hold guests’ passports for hours or even overnight to manually complete the registration process. Today, you usually just have to show it at check-in.

Do not leave your passport unattended

If you are traveling alone with no one to help keep an eye on your belongings, there may be situations such as staying in a hostel with other people when you have to leave items unattended.  Do not leave your passport, rail passes, money or other valuable items unattended; take them with you.

Six Month Validity Rule

Everyone knows a passport is required to travel internationally and of course your passport cannot expire at anytime during your trip.

Several countries require passports to be valid for at least 6 months beyond your planned return date.  In fact, you could be denied leaving the US or entry into a country if your passport has less than 6 months remaining.

To be safe, verify your passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended return date.  Based on your travel dates, if your passport expiration date will be getting close to the 6 months cutoff, get it renewed well in advance.

Secure your passport

Your hotel may have an in-room safe
Your hotel may have a desk safe
Keep your passport with you in a Money Belt or other secure location

Prior to your departure, make a photo copy of the main information page inside your passport showing your photo, personal information and id number.  Keep this copy with you on your travels in a separate location from your passport.  It may even be a good idea to swap copies with other members in your travel party so should anything happen, there will always be a backup copy.  Having a copy may assist you should something happen to your passport.

Kandouren RFID Blocking Passport Holder Cover Case

 

You may also want to consider a travel wallet for your passport helping to keep it safe for those times when you are not wearing a money belt.

We really like this case for the features and price.  It can be found on Amazon for around $7.00.

The case is made of synthetic leather; thus the low price.  It seems to be of good quality and is packed with features.  There are multiple slots for credit cards as well as two slots for SIM cards should you need them.  There is a large compartment below the credit card slots for money or other items.   Airline boarding passes and rail passes may be inerted into the upper slot on the left as shown below where the Visa Card is contained.  The right side is for the passport and has an elastic band allowing you to mark a page such as the main information page or an attached visa page.  There is also a handy pen slot in the center and we have found that our Fisher Bullet Space Pen with Clip fits perfectly.

  • Synthetic leather having a nice feel to it and is slim and durable
  • Size: 5.6 in. H x 4.1 in. W x 0.5 in D
  • Weight: 1.6 oz.
  • Made with RFID Blocking Technology
  • 4 credit card slots
  • 2 SIM card slots
  • 1 cash slot
  • 1 ticket slot
  • 1 pen slot
  • Available in multiple colors and styles