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Carry your passport or not?

We are traveling in western France for two weeks starting Monday.
Should we keep our passports on us at all times, or is it better to put them in the hotel safe?
Thanks,
grafikur@yahoo.com

Posted by
9363 posts

You'll get varying opinions on this, but I carry mine. (And you might want to remove your personal email address from your post unless you want to be spammed mercilessly.)

Posted by
283 posts

I always carry it. I think in France you are actually required to have it in your possession for identification purposes. If you are stopped by police and do not have it, trouble could be close at hand.

My husband and I carry the money bag on the string over the neck and wear it under our clothing. The size is perfect for the passport. Also, how safe would you feel if you left it in the hotel? US Passports are worth money in many countries. AND how do you get home, if it is missing?

Posted by
11212 posts

In France, you are required to carry some form of identification. It doesn't necessarily have to be your passport, however, if you have a problem, and are stopped, it will identify you as an American and you will be allowed to call the U.S. Consulate for help. Without it, it might take longer to prove you are a U.S. citizen.

I always carry my passport with me, and a color copy of the front page separately in my luggage.

Posted by
11450 posts

I leave it in the hotel safe, always have. I bring my Drivers licence to use for id for getting audio guides( at some sites they want that) .. but other then that I have never needed my passport except to leave the country!

Posted by
182 posts

I don't carry ours with us. We keep it in the safe/lock box at the hotel. While planning my recent trip I read many posts on this site regarding this question and found that about 2/3 of the posts suggest keeping it on you, but I still decided against it.

Over the years we've never had a problem not having it with us as far as identification needs go. We've also felt comfortable where we stayed and felt they were safe there. We do keep a color copy of the our passports in a different location in case they are either stolen or lost.

Posted by
837 posts

On our first trip to Europe (France) we kept our passports with us, until they were stolen. Since then, we leave them in a safe and carry photocopies of the first page.

Posted by
11212 posts

I'll chime in from a professional point of view...as a tour director, I helped many a passenger who "lost" their passports....the losses came when the passports were kept in pockets, fanny packs, backpacks and purses. I never heard of one stolen from a moneybelt.

And then comes the calls made to hotels where the passenger forget to retrieve their passport from the hotel safe and I had to make arrangements to have it mailed to where we would be a few days later.

I always carry my passport in my moneybelt. Not only is it safe there, but in training we were taught to be ready to evacuate a country at a moments notice if need be. If my passport is in the hotel safe, I can't do that. While the likelihood of this happening is rare, the world is just too volatile to take chances.

Posted by
11805 posts

I keep mine in my moneybelt.

Do you normally carry your driver's license even when you aren't driving? Probably yes. Why? It also serves as your ID in case you need it. Your passport is your only legitimate ID when you travel so I suggest keeping it with you. I'd rather have it and not need it than the other way around.

Having said that, I only recall being asked for it on arrival to Europe and checking in at lodging.

Posted by
59 posts

David, Just curious about the circumstances of the theft of your passport?

Posted by
14881 posts

If I can lock it up safely where I'm staying, I do so. Otherwise, the passport is in my moneybelt.

Keep your driver's license handy for photo id. Any time you are asked for your passport, show it. They want photo id and find it simpler to ask for a passport!

Posted by
852 posts

We always carry our passports with us in a moneybelt and keep it in a safe when we get home. If you do not plan on carry it in a moneybelt sort of thing, then I think the best option would be to keep it in a safe at your hotel.

Posted by
590 posts

I keep mine locked up at my hostel or hotel room. I carry a drivers license for ID.

Posted by
20 posts

We've used Rick Steve' silk moneybelts.
Very comfy and secure.
We carried our passports and extra cash for 16 days with no worries.

Posted by
18296 posts

I don't trust anyone. My passport, my money, and my cards are always on my chest, in a neck wallet.

Last November I came back from a day out to find the keys to my room in the lock, where the maid had forgotten them.

Posted by
515 posts

My answer is Y.E.S.
Passport in moneybelt at all times. We are the "better be safe than sorry" kind of folks. Don't wish to spend precious European time replacing a passport.
Wow, have a wonderful time!

Posted by
59 posts

Cops point of view after several trips. I agree with Lee. Everything valuable in neckwallet worn under my shirt or in my Rick Steves moneybelt. I tour and sleep with great peace of mind.

Posted by
689 posts

In a safe.

I'm curious--what do all the "always in a moneybelt never the safe" people do in Canada and Mexico? Is it just in Europe for some reason you don't trust hotel safes? How do you manage on the beach in Mexico (or any other tropical country, for that matter)? Do you really use a moneybelt in Vancouver or Banff or other Canadian destinations?

Posted by
14881 posts

Christy, I don't know about Mexico, but it seems that pickpocketing is much more prevalent in major European cities than in Canada.

Posted by
11212 posts

Christy....I'll tell you what I do...I wear a moneybelt to just about everywhere...I've worn it in Vancouver and Banff and everywhere else I go in Canada. Would you like to hear about thieves in those towns? They are there. Just not as prevalent.

Anyplace there are tourists, there are thieves.

As for the beach...I don't waste time on beaches....I travel and explore. But when I do, the beach is usually connected to my hotel so in that case, for a few hours, I'll leave my valuables in the hotel safe or I bring along a waterproof moneybelt.

No, I don't wear a moneybelt in my hometown. I have a Pacsafe wallet that has a metal chain that connects to my belt. You see, thefts occur in supermarkets, department stores, etc. etc.

It may be overkill to some, but I don't have to worry about it.

Posted by
21709 posts

I never quite understand the "silliness" that creeps into the constant discussions about carrying passports and money belts. It is as if one point of view must prevail over the other.

Frank II summed it well and that should be the final word but will not be. Everyone needs to develop a sense of personal security that works for them. We are just back for a week in Chicago -- and, yes, I did use a money belt in Chicago. Overkill ??? Maybe !! But it is habit. Do I trust hotel safe? Sure, of course !! But I trust my money belt more. Then someone is going to bring up going to beach. If I go to the beach I will put it in the hotel safe or hide it in the room -- obviously !!!

Personally I am pleased to see some tourist not use money belt or use them improperly because it makes my travels safer.

Same for the passport. I always carry it. It is the only proof I have that I am legally in that country. The probability of having to prove that is extremely low but if you need it you better have it. About 15 years ago we got caught in some type of a round up in a subway station when a whole bunch of heavily armed police suddenly surrounded a group of about thirty people and demand ids and passports. Have no idea what they wanted. Looked at the passports, flip through the stamp pages, asked a couple of questions about when we entered the country, and lets us go. I don't think they want to wait till I got my passport from the hotel safe.

So do you own risk assessment and assume a risk level that you are comfortable with assuming. If you are more comfortable with your passport in the hotel safe then do that it.