Support TFG by using the links in our articles to shop. We receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) so we can continue to create helpful free content. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases made on Amazon in addition to other retailers featured on the blog. Thank you, we appreciate your support!
Wondering how to keep your passport secure while having it easily accessible when you need it? This is a great question! My answer varies depending on your situation. Read on to discover our top passport safety tips!
How To Keep Your Passport Safe While Traveling
Table Of Contents
Every traveler’s nightmare is losing their passport or having it stolen. Wherever you travel, losing your passport can completely ruin your trip and make it difficult for you to get home.
Wherever you’re traveling, we’re sharing how to keep your passport safe in these scenarios:
- Going to and from airports
- Traveling by land on trains, cars, or buses
- Crossing the border by land
- When sightseeing
How to Keep Your Passport Safe at Airports
Travelon Anti-Theft Cross-Body Bag
When going through airports, which are generally pretty secure, I keep my passport in my handbag or in an accessible, interior compartment of my daypack. Just to be safe, don’t keep it in the outermost pocket of your bag or in an easily accessible jacket or pant pocket, as convenient as it might be.
When going through security, I make sure my passport is securely zipped in my bag. When on board the flight, I keep my daypack stowed underneath the seat in front of me or hidden underneath my clothing (if necessary).
Check out our round up of the best anti-theft travel bags for women based on the top picks from TFG readers!
Travelon Anti-theft Signature Slim Multipurpose Backpack
What’s a daypack? A daypack is the personal item you choose to add to your capsule wardrobe other than your main luggage. This can be a small backpack, large travel purse, or small carry-on bag.
An anti-theft daypack is a great option for travel, but there are many kinds of anti-theft accessories to meet everyone’s needs. To ensure all your valuables (not just your passport) are secure, the best option is to use a combination of items.
Let’s take a look at the best day bag options for every type of trip!
Compass Rose RFID Secret Bra Wallet (similar)
Make sure to use a hidden bra wallet to store your credit cards and cash for everyday use, use another anti-theft accessory of your choosing to store your passport on transit days, and the rest of the time, use a lockable suitcase, safe, or locker to keep your belongings secure inside your accommodation.
Travel Money Belt RFID Blocking Hidden Waist Stash
How to Keep Your Passport Safe On Trains and Land Transportation
Aside from being at the airport, taking transportation to get from point A to B is the only time I carry my passport on me. And because I won’t need to show my passport, I make sure to have it safely hidden within my daypack.
Never, ever, ever store your passport, money, or credit cards in baggage that will be stowed underneath a bus, in the trunk of a shared car service, or in the luggage section of a train. It’s most common that your luggage will get stolen on land transportation, so always keep your valuables on you or hidden deep in your carry-on.
Here’s a roundup of the best money belts and travel accessories to theft-proof your gear!
If you’re wondering how to protect your passport when traveling in a part of the world where theft is common, I use underwear with hidden pockets. I like these cute boyshort-style travel undies.
If you don’t have underwear with pockets like the ones below, a good option is a secure passport money belt like this.
If you’re looking for clothing designed to protect your belongings, our readers share their recommendations for concealed pocket clothing!
Trench Coat with 20 Secret Pockets
How to Keep Your Passport Safe During Border Crossings By Land
If I’m crossing a border via land, I use EXTRA caution, as some crossings can be very shady. The best way to carry passport while traveling through borders is using travel underwear or a money belt! Just remove it when needed to show the border patrol officer as discreetly as possible.
Passports clothing is another option, and one popular piece that many readers have suggested is this SCOTTeVEST trench coach that has a whopping 20 hidden pockets! You can stroll along fashionably while keeping all of your most valuable items completely safe from pickpockets.
You could also opt for a scarf with a secret pocket. These anti-theft scarves are designed to fit a passport, as well as some other valuable items, and the infinity styles means there’s no risk of it falling off! This is another popular passport traveling scarf.
Read these four travel safety tips and how they could’ve helped me avoid having my bag stolen!
Venture 4th Travel Neck Pouch with RFID Blocking
How to Keep Your Passport Safe When Sightseeing
My passport is ALWAYS locked in my bag at the hotel while I’m sightseeing. Thankfully, this strategy has worked for me during my six years of full-time travel through 36 countries.
I’ve heard countless stories of travelers losing their passports when they’re out at big festivals or street fairs. This is when you’d most want to leave your passport in your accommodation because you’re a prime target for pickpocketing at events with lots of people in close quarters.
I’ve also heard stories of passports getting stolen out of trouser pockets. If you insist on taking your passport out sightseeing with you, keep it hidden under your clothing by using a money belt or travel underwear with pockets. Some travelers prefer neck wallets to hide their passport, like this Neck Stash Hidden security Wallet, claiming that they’re the best way to carry passport and money when traveling!
Please Note: Money belts are to be used only for things you don’t need access to. Keep the cash you’ll need for the day in a wallet and don’t dig into your money belt in public–that defeats the purpose! I see travelers doing this all the time, making them an easy target.
Here are our readers top recommendations for scarves with pockets to help keep your valuables safe!
Samsonite Omni PC International Carry On
How to Keep Your Passport Safe In Your Hotel Room
When figuring out where to keep passport when traveling, remember that most thefts occur from convenience. It’s less likely that a thief will take your entire suitcase out of your room than any cash or credit cards that are sitting out. Hotels don’t want to have a bad reputation, either, so a less obvious theft is easier to deny versus an entire suitcase that suddenly disappears.
Avoid theft by using a suitcase with lockable zippers that can’t easily be pried open. Yes, there are ways to break zippers and sneak into bags, but again, if you don’t have a hotel safe or don’t feel comfortable leaving your passport with reception (if that’s an option), then all you can do is make it more difficult for a thief to break into your bag.
It’s more likely a thief will try to open an unlocked bag than risk getting caught taking time to break into a locked suitcase.
If I hadn’t left my Osprey backpack locked in my hostel in Borneo, my valuables would have been gone when I returned from a scuba diving trip. The Osprey Transporter and the Samsonite Omni PC are both terrific suitcases that have built-in lockable zippers.
If you travel enough, small mishaps may happen while on the road. It’s almost unavoidable. Here are my five best safe travel tips!
Pacsafe Travelsafe Portable Safe
Another great option for where to put passport when traveling is to bring your own portable safe, like this PacSafe option that can be locked down to a stationary object in your room. A lot of readers opt for a portable safe, as it ensures that no matter where they’re headed, they’ll always have a super secure place to keep their passports and other valuables. They can also be secured to the inside of your bag in many of the other scenarios listed above!
Please read my top ten tried and tested anti-theft travel tips for more information on how to properly use these items!
What About General Photo Identification?
While I’ve hardly ever needed to show photo identification in my six years of travel, I do carry my California State ID on me at all times in case of an emergency.
Get a no-fail flawless look with these awesome beauty tips!
WATCH THIS VIDEO (starting at the -17:20 minute) FOR MORE TIPS ON HOW TO KEEP PASSPORT SAFE WHILE TRAVELING. FIND OUT HOW I’VE AVOIDED BECOMING A VICTIM OF THEFT DURING 9 YEARS OF FULL-TIME TRAVEL:
You can also watch the video on Facebook here.
Product Comparison Chart
Let’s take a quick look of the travel accessories that can help you keep your passport safe when traveling:
|BRAND | MODEL||FEATURES | REVIEWS||RATING | PRICE|
|Travelon Anti-Theft Cross-Body Bag||When going through security, I make sure my passport is securely zipped in my bag. When on board the flight, I keep my daypack stowed underneath the seat in front of me or hidden underneath my clothing (if necessary).||Check Price|
|Travelon Anti-theft Signature Slim Multipurpose Backpack||An anti-theft daypack is a great option for travel, but there are many kinds of anti-theft accessories to meet everyone’s needs. To ensure all your valuables (not just your passport) are secure, the best option is to use a combination of items.||Check Price|
|Compass Rose RFID Secret Bra Wallet (similar)||Make sure to use a hidden bra wallet to store your credit cards and cash for everyday use, use another anti-theft accessory of your choosing to store your passport on transit days, and the rest of the time, use a lockable suitcase, safe, or locker to keep your belongings secure inside your accommodation.||Check Price|
|Travel Money Belt RFID Blocking Hidden Waist Stash||Aside from being at the airport, taking transportation to get from point A to B is the only time I carry my passport on me. And because I won’t need to show my passport, I make sure to have it safely hidden within my daypack.||Check Price|
|Underwear with Secret Pocket||If you’re wondering how to protect your passport when traveling in a part of the world where theft is common, I use underwear with hidden pockets.||Check Price|
|Trench Coat with 20 Secret Pockets||Passports clothing is another option, and one popular piece that many readers have suggested is this SCOTTeVEST trench coach that has a whopping 20 hidden pockets! You can stroll along fashionably while keeping all of your most valuable items completely safe from pickpockets.||Check Price|
|Venture 4th Travel Neck Pouch with RFID Blocking||Some travelers prefer neck wallets to hide their passport, like this Neck Stash Hidden security Wallet, claiming that they’re the best way to carry passport and money when traveling!||Check Price|
|Samsonite Omni PC International Carry On||Avoid theft by using a suitcase with lockable zippers that can’t easily be pried open. Yes, there are ways to break zippers and sneak into bags, but again, if you don’t have a hotel safe or don’t feel comfortable leaving your passport with reception (if that’s an option), then all you can do is make it more difficult for a thief to break into your bag.||Check Price|
|Pacsafe Travelsafe Portable Safe||Another great option for where to put passport when traveling is to bring your own portable safe, like this PacSafe option that can be locked down to a stationary object in your room.||Check Price|
These tips aren’t 100% fool-proof and neither is an anti-theft device. However, you can do your best to prevent a theft by exercising caution and following these tips.
What are your tips for how to keep your passport safe while traveling? Share and comment below!
For more travel safety tips, please read:
- Best Money Belts and Anti-theft Travel Accessories
- The Best Anti-theft Travel Bags for Women
- I Had My Bag Stolen and 4 Ways I Could’ve Avoided It
- How I Keep My Valuables Safe Abroad
LIKED THIS POST? PIN THIS PIC TO SAVE IT!
I hope you enjoyed this post on how to keep your passport safe while traveling. If you found it helpful, please share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
I would never have heard about Travelon bags and backpacks if I hadn’t read this blog post. Thanks to your review, I’ve purchased three of them, and given my college age daughter a backpack. I also use your packing lists religiously and refer to them whenever I ned to plan outfits for various destination, usually doing that a week before departure, so I have time to launder or repair any clothes as needed. If I have extra time, I list outfits to wear per day (from outerwear to tops, bottoms, scarves and shoes), a strategy that came in handy when I was on book tour 9 years ago — it saves so much time when you don’t have to figure out what to wear on any given day. I’ve gone back to your packing lists time and again over the last 9 years and recommended the packing lists to friends who habitually overpack.Thank. you so much for putting together such a practical, yet stylish method of packing, it’s totally helped me to streamline my travel!
Hi, thank you for putting this site together, tons of useful information! I have similar way of having 2nd wallet with fake credit cards and small bills on me to hand to the thief in case of street rubbery. I also have an old cheap cell phone that I would hand to the thief (there are places where they “hunt” for those as well). My rules as to the phone phone: (1) keep the “spare” charged; (2) don’t use original on public; (3) if using original to take pictures/call, have the “spare” to resemble the original (in case the thieves watch you before approach).
Hi Alexandra, thank you so much for your feedback, glad you find the site helpful!! Thank you for sharing your travel experiences with me!:)
A little late to the table here, but you know about PortaPocket now! 🙂 I constantly use these little sanity-savers every time I travel. Took my 11 yr old daughter overseas for her 1st time (girls trip!) last August… we had absolutely zero problems discreetly carrying our passports, cells, credit cards & other small valuables ON ourselves the whole 2 weeks. :)) LOVE your work in this space. Cheers from Chicago!! xox
GREAT post. I love all your suggestions. Strangely enough, it’s while travelling in the USA I needed to show ID: visiting United Nations in NYC, using a credit card and purchasing alcohol in a store. That’s when carrying a driver’s licence is handy. I carry a laminated copy of the Information page of my passport in my day pack. In my travels I’ve been asked for my passport when seeking medical attention, buying a SIM card and checking into accommodation. I was even asked to show my passport when taking a boat on a day trip to a few islands off the coast of Cambodia, and for a hiking permit in the Taroko Gorge in Taiwan. In all cases, the laminated copy was accepted without hesitation.
That’s a great suggestions Anne, thanks!
My husband and I want to plan an Ireland/Scotland/England trip for next year. We will be 69 yo by then. How should we prepare for a potential health emergency? Do we need a special type of health insurance to cover us while out of the US? Also, what do you suggest as a perfect length of time to see the major sights in all 3 places? Thanks for all the wonderful information you provide for travelers. I learn something new each day.
I am going to Paris and Ireland for the first time at the end of the month for my honeymoon! Actually, I’ve never been out of the North American continent, so I’m a little nervous about safety and have a lot of dumb questions floating around in my head. I was wondering — our hotels are supposed to have safes in the room. Given the choice, it is a safer bet to store passports in the safe versus a locked suitcase?
Hi Christine. I can’t speak for all hotels. Some will and some won’t have safes. It’s best if you check with your hotels. I can only speak for myself so ultimately you have to make your own decision about this, but if a locker is available I use it to store anything that fits. I’ll post your question on Facebook to get more feedback for you. Check in the Facebook page for more replies: https://www.facebook.com/TravelFashionGirl
I thought we had to keep our passport with us at all times. I ended purchasing the theft proof backback, which I loved. I left a copy of my passport in our hotel safe, and I also made a copy which I left at home. (we have someone stay at our house when we travel. The boy shorts look great and I also found some great boots that have a travel pocket on the inside (haven’t purchase that yet) Love the tips from SnarkyNomad and Karen. BTW, after reading all your articles, I packed one small carry on suitcase and a backpack for a 15 day trip to France. I lost one sandal – so I never wore those. I brought one ballet flat (never used) and 1 wedge – used once. I wore my sneakers the entire time. So thanks for your help.
Thanks Donna, glad you were able to travel carry-on only 🙂
I always keep a photocopy of my passport in my wallet when I travel, and I have an electronic copy of my passport in my email just in case. Also, if you are American, be sure to register your travels with the US State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) here: https://step.state.gov/step/. They’ll send you security updates for the area you’re traveling to and will be able to contact you in case of emergency.
great tip! thanks!
And if you’re ever traveling in Russia, hand them just a photocopy of your passport. If you give them a real one they might not give it back until you give them a little present. I had a run-in with one guy who wanted a bottle of Hennessy for some reason. I obviously had no Hennessy on me, but he wanted some anyway.
Wow – good to know!
I just got back from eastern Turkey and I had to have my passport on me at all times due to the countless military checkpoints. I think it really depends on where you’re traveling and then you can figure out if leaving your passport locked in your luggage in the hotel makes sense.
Good to know – thank you Laura!