I hope this isn't a stupid question, but I can't seem to find the answer anywhere. I'll be traveling to Italy later this year and was wondering if I should carry my passport around with me at all times or if it's safer/better to leave it at the hotel as we do our sightseeing.
Thank you to everyone who responded! This has helped me a lot. :)
I believe technically you should carry your passport with you at all times and may be asked to produce it by authorities. Having said that, I just returned from 2 weeks visit in Italy and I usually kept my passport in the safe at my hotel and only took it with me when I knew I was going to a bank and needed to produce it to change money.
hi...I kept a color copy of my passport on me at all times and kept the original at the hotel for safekeeping, that way if needed I had something to produce until I retreived the real thing.
We keep everything (passport, plane ticket, emergency credit card, etc.) with us at all times in a money belt. It is just another piece of clothing during our trips. The concern of losing the passport is huge but with a moneybelt or neck pouch under your clothes you will not have problems. It's a great security.
Perhaps its a personal preference - but I always like to keep/have the passport on me. It fits fine in your money belt or your other under-clothes walets you may pref. I agree a Photocopy in your day wallet is handy too if needed for ID with CreditCard (mine say ask for ID on the back!) But no one did last year in Germany! One more trick is to either have a small waterproof wallet pocket (like surfers use) or just keek it in a small zip-lock to in your money belt if you think it might rain! Hotel safes are fine but not many small B&Bs have them.
I agree with the 2 last posters. I always keep my passport and plane tickets in my moneybelt. That way I am always responsible for them. The only time I did not do this was when I rented an apartment for 2 weeks and felt things were more secure.
I would not leave it in a hotel room for sure, and even have doubts about a safe - though I'm sure many people have sucessfully done this.
I agree with the posters that carry their passports all the time. For me the color copy is the back up. I think some of our European friends are surprised at our fixation for protecting our passports. I threat it like my driver's license, Not particularly concerned about it being stolen BUT I do take reasonable precautions. Most items are in the money belt including the passport if I am certain I will not need it that day. If I will need it, I carry it in a zipper front pocket on my shirt or a secured pocket in my pants -- same for a little cash and a credit card. I do think that these sites over emphasis the possibility of theft because it is discussed so often. I have seen stats that suggest that 1 in 4 to 1 in 3 Am will be hit but that leaves 3 in 4 not hit. We have traveled 15+ years, 200+ days with no problems. Just exercise, standard, reasonable precaution and your are fine -- nothing extreme. And be thankful that there are some Am not taking precautions.
I just responded on another discussion forum with this, but once I came up out of the Paris Metro into the middle of a large rowdy demonstration. Police asked for my passport (to verify I was who I said I was) and escorted me safely out of the way. I'm so glad I had it on me, and tend to think a photocopy wouldn't have served the same purpose.
That was pre-9/11. Now, with the threat of potential terrorist activity just about anywhere, I'd rather have it with me in case I need to get into an embassy fast rather than run back to the hotel to get it! As someone else said, make the money belt a standard part of your wardrobe (they are not at all uncomfortable if you wear them at or below your belt!) and keep your passport and back-up credit cards and cash there!
I was interested to see this thread. We've been to Paris many times, and I never bother taking my passport out of the hotel because I'm afraid I'd lose it - since my normal routine does not include keeping track of a passport. My wallet I can keep track of, but where to stash your passport?
In the UK I never bothered with it. They know I'm American as soon as I open my mouth.
In Ireland I never bothered with it. They even give the taxback discount without it.
In Italy - on a Rick Steves tour - we used our moneybelts, and I kept my passport in there. I think that's an acceptable solution. I won't lose it unless I also lose my pants. In which case I have a much larger problem!
I'm thinking I may start using the moneybelt more. It worked pretty well. Also helped to keep from eating too much.
Regardless of where you keep your passport be sure to have a copy with you that is kept seperate from the real deal. Leave a copy with someone at home that you can contact easily in case of an emergency. Most people travel without incident but it is smart to be prepared for the worst case scenario.
I've been to Europe 10+ times for 2-4 week trips and I've never carried a passport with me just walking around. Many times the hotel takes them.
You should carry it with you in a money belt along with your other valuables.
I carried mine with me. I needed to show it when I used computers at internet points.
Do not carry your passport!!! leave it in the hotel safe. If you lose it, it's a pain in the you know what to deal with the american embassy. Its much safer in the hotel safe than on your body!!
I leave mine in the hotel in the safe. No fun, having to constantly check to make sure you still have your passport.
I've never even used a money belt, to be honest. Just a well gaurded bag. No problems yet.
Never carry my passport - always leave it in the hotel safe. Many posts have suggested carrying a copy for id purposes. I did on one trip put it in my money belt and it ended up with a permanent curve in it. After that trip I ditched the money belt and carrying my passport. That was years ago and I have travelled to Europe each year for the past 10 and never have had a problem. Maybe just luck.
I prefer to go with the poster who said that 1 in 4 Americans have problems and, thus, 3 in 4 do not. Therefore, I'm going to try to be the careful 1 in 4 who carries my passport with me at all times in my money belt.
I really don't want to have to deal with the loss of that document -- either at home or away -- and plan to take all sensible precautions for my first trip to Europe. (Italy)