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Travel with passport or leave in hotel?

I am sure this question gets asked alot but I was not able to find a recent forum on it....

My husband and I are traveling to London and Ireland and are debating whether we should travel with our passport during the day or leave it in the hotel/B&B? We are staying in a easyHotel chain in London and then various B&B's throughout Ireland.

I am leaning towards keeping it secured in the hotel room since I feel we have a better chance loosing it traveling throughout the day but would love people's feedback!

Much thanks!

Posted by
8889 posts

The UK and Ireland are two countries which do not have a legal requirement for you to carry ID. Therefore you can leave it in your hotel or bring it with you, whichever makes you feel happier.

The chance of loosing your passport is overrated. Millions of people carry theirs everyday. It is the preferred ID for proving you are over 18 if you want to by alcohol or tobacco. More 18-year-olds have a passport than have a Driving Licence.

Posted by
544 posts

Rick will tell you in all his books the best advice: Carry it in a money belt.

I don't follow his advice. I keep mine in the same pocket of my bag all the time and it stays in my hotel room with my bag during the day. I'm more concerned with losing or forgetting my passport than it being stolen.

This is assuming I don't have a rental car. If I am driving I carry my passport, just in case I get pulled over for a safety inspection. I'm not sure if I'm required to have it, but it seems like it couldn't hurt.

One time, back when airline tickets were paper, I put my passport and tickets in the safe at my hotel, forgot, and left them behind. Luckily someone from the hotel was kind enough to drive them to me at the train station 30 minutes away from the hotel and met me there as my train was pulling into the station.

I don't want to leave my passport behind accidentally ever again, so same place every time works best for me.

Posted by
516 posts

You're going to get a wide range of answers on this one, but like travel insurance (and those that will tell you they've been traveling for 50 years and never had an accident and never buy it), it doesn't cost you a heck of a lot but could really help you in an emergency. In the case of carrying your passport (in a safe place like a money belt), it doesn't cost you anything at all and might bring you some peace of mind.

Posted by
660 posts

It depends on the country you're in - as far as comfort level. When I travel in the UK and Western Europe, I leave it in my room. I don't even carry a photocopy of it. My advice would be to perhaps leave it in your room and carry a color photocopy with you. This all depends on your comfort level. In the UK and Germany (my comfort levels), I often don't even carry the color photocopy but that might be risky according to others.

Posted by
7645 posts

I never carry my passport with me unless I am traveling from one place to the next. Other than that, it stays in my hotel room safe along with my train/plane tickets and other items. In B&B's, I leave it in my suitcase in my room.

A photo copy of a passport is of no value except maybe at the consulate if you need a new passport. You certainly can't use it for ID purposes, so why even bother carrying one? Photo-shop and scanners mean I can put whatever I like on a piece of paper. Your name, my photo. Not very valid and basically useless.

Posted by
104 posts

I don't carry mine with me. I carry a color photocopy and a "Passport Card" (issued by the State Dept.) I do carry my drivers license with me though, to backup that it's really my passport copy!

WhateverLA

Posted by
516 posts

Fortunately I've never lost my passport but I'm interested to know what the U.S. Consulate would ask for as identity if you do show up there requiring assistance for a lost passport or lost ID. My feeling is that if you keep your passport and your ID together, they'll both get stolen at the same time (whether from your bag, hotel safe, luggage, money belt, etc.) and you'll basically be left with no ID at all. If you do keep scanned copies online, then you can go into any internet cafe to print a copy or have your hotel print it for you. Unless you have your passport number memorized and can recite it for the folks at the consulate, you'll need to have some information to provide to them (whether that's a paper photo copy of your passport, ID, etc.). Or can the consulate help you with just your name and home address (which of course you'd be able to produce verbally and not require any paperwork to remember)?

Posted by
8889 posts

KC, you wrote "your passport and your ID". Confusing. You passport is your ID.
As we are specifically discussing the UK and Ireland, where there is no legal requirement to carry ID, you can happily leave your passport in your hotel.
There is no point in carry your Driving Licence if you are not driving.
In other countries you legally have to carry ID (that is, for non-EU citizens, your passport).

Posted by
4821 posts

Just my take, yes, ideally, carry it with you always. However, I do use a little discretion. If I am just heading out for dinner or a walk, then no, I rarely have it with me. A longer day doing museums, lunch, other sights, then usually it is in my neck pouch/money belt. If I am heading further afield for the day or overnight, taking a train, or going from town to town, then I always have it.

Posted by
104 posts

You should never put all your eggs in one basket! Keep one ID in a neck pouch, and one in your money belt, and same goes for credit cards or debit cards. Keep one in the hotel safe and one on ya! That's always worked for me!

To the OP, hope you have a great trip!

WhateverLA

Posted by
30 posts

Moneybelt. Rick knows what he's talking about. Three months a year for thirty years on the road.

Posted by
2290 posts

My take is that it really depends on your personal comfort and the country you are in. If I were in a third world country, or one that I found intimidating for some reason then I would carry my passport everywhere. In the EU countries, here are my personal guidelines:

-if I'm going on a day trip outside the city where I'm staying, I take my passport with me
-if I'm in transit and don't have a hotel, I take my passport with me
-If I'm staying at a hotel without a safe in the room, I take my passport with me
-If I'm staying at a hotel with an in-room safe, I test the safe to make sure it works then use it for my passport.

Bottom line is that it can be stolen anywhere, but I feel good about the safes in the hotels I've been in. Yes, they can be cracked, but it's less likely there's a thief in my room than when I'm out and about at tourist destinations. As far as being stopped...I have a copy on me, as well as my US ID and I think that if I'm in the same city I'll be able to go to the hotel to retrieve it. This seems very unlikely to be an issue to me. But opinions vary wildly on this topic, so do what you feel is best.

I will note that I keep it in a money belt when it's on me. But I hate moneybelts and only wear them when necessary. I often need to carry 2 passports (mine and my child's), and that makes the moneybelt huge and conspicuous, too.

Posted by
11554 posts

Same as Ms Jo: we leave them in the hotel safe. Neither my husband or I use moneybelts (other methods work fine for us) so we only get them out when transferring to another location.

Posted by
12099 posts

Hi,

Generally, I say also it depends in which country I am. In Germany, England, Austria most often I Ieave it in the hotel/Pension, unless I am taking a day trip by train r/t. Then I carry it in a neck pouch or in the hidden pocket. In Hungary since it was a day trip I have had it on me. I carry it with me also in France. I don't use the hotel safe, regardless where; the Pensionen usually don't have one. I stayed at the Easy Hotel once, the one at Paddington, would not recommend it unless it's absolutely necessary, no other choice available. One night was enough.

Posted by
972 posts

You should always have some form of ID on you, what if you get hit by a car? I always carry my drivers license with me and leave the Passport in the apartment. The drivers license can also be used to leave as insurance for audio guides at certain sites. I can leave the country without my drivers license, but not without my passport. I know Millions of people use their passport as their main ID. I live in a college town and many, many students carry it willy nilly around as their only ID and have no problem.

Posted by
17653 posts

I feel that my "deep storage" is the safest place for my passport, safer than any hotel safe, that lots of people have access to, or an in-room safe that many have keys to, so I carry it with me - always - same as my money and ATM cards.

Posted by
688 posts

Hubby got the passport holder on this site that has a belt loop and then goes inside his pants. He will have it on him EVERYDAY. Sorry but that is the only thing that would keep me calm.

Posted by
16 posts

I just consider it part of my genetic code and much like a finger print, It says who I am, so it stays with me always. It and my wallet are me...all else is just stuff. It's kept against my skin. If the worst happens and you have nothing, if a train derails or a buss runs off a mountain, you still have your identity. They will be able to ID your remains. It ain't heavy...it's my passport.

Posted by
7173 posts

Just make a color copy on a single sheet of paper and carry it with you. Leave the passport in the safe. Your color copy of your passport works just fine.

Posted by
167 posts

Glad someone pointed out that a color copy of the passport works for all ID needs, except of course for the airport.
Used the copy to ID myself if using a credit card in a store, or if needed to verify a train ticket purchase or anything else as I am traveling in a location.
I have several, laminated for durability. Also have a scanned copy kept in my email archive.
Like Tim, I have been doing this for years of travel, both to S. America, Mexico and Europe.

Posted by
71 posts

As Ann said we email copies to ourselves so we can access it if the original gets stolen. We also make a color copy, then laminate and fold it to the size of a passport....it won't wrinkle/crumple and there are no issues if it gets wet.

Posted by
11554 posts

I'm going to backpedal a bit on my previous response. Security concerns being what they currently are, we probably would carry our passports in our Pacsafe bag at all times should we encounter a random check; much more possible right now than during 'normal' (if there will be such a thing again) situations.

Posted by
844 posts

Hubby carries his in his money belt, I carry a color photo of his in my neck wallet. He carries a color photo of mine in his money belt and I carry mine in my neck wallet.

Posted by
607 posts

I usually leave it in the hotel room.

I have a colour scanned version in dropbox which is copied to my tablet and phone, which i carry all the time. That way even if l lose everything, i can access a copy if i can borrow a computer.

Posted by
628 posts

I like to email a scanned copy to myself (with password). I like to have passports on me at all times in money belt or neck pouch - especially during these times when you never know when you might need to "get out of Dodge" quickly. Hubby keeps copies on him as backup. Somehow I think he got the better deal.

Posted by
1 posts

Just a note for those who've misplaced a Passport at home. My wife misplaced her passport, we were going to travel so she applied for a replacement. Prior to the new Passport arriving, she found the misplaced Passport and saved it in its usual place. When we were departing, she retrieved her Passport; it never occurred to her that she was retrieving the one she had misplaced rather than the newly issued one. On arrival in London (we were transiting London onward to Italy) she was stopped by a UK Border Agent at Passport Control and asked if she'd ever reported her Passport as lost or stolen....my wife replied that she had but that she'd found it. The Agent explained that the Passport was listed in the Interpol System as "Lost or Stolen" and that my wife couldn't travel on it. Further, she explained, the Agent would need to confiscate the Passport and that we would need to go to the US Embassy the next business day...she gave us an Embassy phone number. It was Saturday night, the Embassy number was a recording and they weren't open on Sunday. The next day (Monday), the Embassy number rang for so long the cell phone automatically disconnected on each and every attempt. We thought we'd take our chances and just "show up" at the Embassy....we arrived at the Embassy and were told by the nice but firm guard, that even though we were U.S. Citizens (I had my Passport) we couldn't enter the Embassy without an "appointment." I explained the problem regarding the phone and the guard handed me her phone and said "let it ring...no matter how long it takes....let it ring, they will eventually answer." We got an appointment, my wife was ushered into a room reminiscent of the DMV with a "take a number" machine and a bunch of folding chairs, was called to the front and asked for her completed application, some ID and 2 Passport Photos (we were wise enough to have them taken at a photo shop that was open on Sunday ($30). She was issued a "temporary Passport" (90 days) for the cost of a new Passport but was told the fee would be applied to her next new Passport. By the way, because they issued a "temporary Passport" the "New Passport" at home was now cancelled. We continued our trip (after the purchase of new airline tickets) and made it to our final destination.......with a painful, expensive "lesson learned."

Posted by
7 posts

Unlike many responders my passport was stolen along with my wallet the night before I departed for the USA from Amsterdam . In a lovely Tapas restaurant at a group table I had to put my purse on the floor right by my leg because people were coming to sit next to me on the same bench . I found that everything was stolen the next day as I organized my purse for the airport .

My photo copy of my passport got me out of the country after a rush visit to the Embassy . Leave your passport the safe .

Posted by
41 posts

I have a money belt and wear it solely for the purpose of carrying my passport. I'm 6'7" and about 280 pounds, so trust myself to carry it at all times versus leave it in a hotel safe (that may or may not necessarily be safe).

Posted by
20625 posts

The Brussels situation just drives home the point for me as to why I always have my passport and money with me at all times. Things happen from earthquakes to terrorists attacks.

Posted by
1343 posts

How does a passport help in a terrorist attack or earthquake? Just curious.

Posted by
3696 posts

I always have mine with me as well. I use a small cross body purse (Marucka) and it has my passport, cell phone, money and credit cards. I would not use a money belt... too uncomfortable. If I am every feeling apprehensive (on a crowded train, etc.) I just put it inside my shirt. I would never leave it in my hotel safe as I would be likely to forget it. I always have it with me, even at home.... I carry it the same as I do my drivers license.

Posted by
516 posts

Ditto Frank....

In situations like this you may not be able to get back to your hotel so it's good to have your ID on you.

Posted by
4821 posts

I think the recent issues in Brussels and earlier in Paris increase the liklihood that you amy be asked for identification as part of security checks. I certainly would not day trip on a train or across a border without your passport. Even taking public transport within a city may result in running into a security check. Now just popping out to the restaurant in the neighborhood...probably not a big deal, but the need to have your passport on you, or at least valid ID, has definitely increased.

Posted by
12099 posts

If I am taking a day trip r/t the passport is on me. If I am staying in the city, touring, checking out places, etc I've started to take the passport along more recently. In the past I didn't necessarily. Carry it along for emergency situations, for that just in case. I don't use the hotel room safe at all.

Posted by
10 posts

Always carry your passport! That has always been my travel rule when traveling outside the U.S. It is so crucial to have your passport with you in case of an emergency or impromptu security checkpoint. I have been in Brazil and in Russia when I was asked to show my passport at unannounced security checkpoints. In September, in France and Italy, I had to show my passport since my credit card was not chipped, at higher end stores.
And there is always a possibility that you could hurt yourself when out traveling for the day. To receive medical care, you need your passport.
I have been a first responder with American Red Cross, it was always necessary to have a passport for international clients. As U.S. citizens, we should follow the same protocol when we are traveling abroad.
I keep a copy in my suitcase and I leave a copy of my passport with a friend back home in case my passport is lost or stolen. And make sure your phone and ID tags have an ICE number (In Case of Emergency)
Be prepared .... Always carry your passport!

Posted by
12099 posts

True when making a purchase in France, not even at an expensive store. About 12 or so years ago at Monoprix in Paris I bought a shirt, was paying with the US credit card, obviously no chip. Upon seeing that the clerk asked for my passport, which I had on me that day...all for a twenty dollar shirt. The transaction went through, no problems. It's best to carry it. Presumably, if I had had no passport that day, the clerk would have refused the purchase with the credit card. I would have had to pay cash.

Posted by
9361 posts

Kaeleku, as Ed from Pensacola used to point out, in the event of a terrorist attack, or earthquake, or needing to be suddenly evacuated from an area, or some such , you might not have the ability to get back to your hotel to retrieve your passport. I always carry mine, generally in deep storage, but sometimes in my bag, depending on the situation. In today's political climate, it is also possible that you might have greater need for it for random ID checks.

Posted by
516 posts

Ultimately it's a cost vs. benefit discussion. If your passport was the size of a dictionary and weighed several pounds, obviously it's impractical to carry it around with you. But it weighs next to nothing and fits in your money belt (the US passports, anyway), where you're not going to randomly take it out during the day, so in fact, it's quite safe. I have yet to hear of someone getting their money belts pick-pocketed....although, it's possible you could be robbed at gun/knife point and be asked by the thief for your money belt.

Anyway, the bottom line is, the benefits of having it on you far outweigh the cost.

Posted by
20625 posts

I have yet to hear of someone getting their money belts pick-pocketed

Unfortunately last year someone reported here that his money belt was emptied. At the time, I refrained from suggesting it was his own fault. He was using the money belt as a hidden wallet behind his belt buckle. Standing in line to buy tickets, pulls the money belt up, opens it to get cash out when he is distracted and looks to the side for a second or two. Feels nothing, sees nothing but all the money in his belt is gone when is attention is refocused on his money belt. Of course, his complaint was that money belts don't offer that much protection. And how many times has it been stated here - Never access your money belt in public.