Whether your taste in hotels runs more to 5 star luxury or to budget backpacker hostels, you’re going to want your stay to be a safe one, both for your own physical safety and for your belongings. This includes keeping your passport safe, since having your passport stolen overseas is a nightmare no traveler wants to live out. Read on for our tips on keeping your passport secure in your temporary home away from home.
Keeping Your Passport Safe at Hotel Check-In
When you check into a hotel in a foreign country, you may be asked to show your passport, or even to leave your passport at the hotel reception desk. Many countries, including the United Kingdom and Italy, have laws that require hotels to keep records of the passport details for all international guests. You will need to allow the hotel to see your passport and make note of your passport information, but you are not required to leave your passport at the desk.
Some reception clerks will suggest that you can leave your passport with them temporarily, so that you can go relax in your room and not have to stand around waiting for your passport details to be recorded. If you’re not comfortable doing this, you don’t have to! You can either wait for the passport registration process to be completed, or you can offer the desk staff a photocopy of your passport to use while you take your passport book with you. (Another good reason to carry copies of your passport!)
If your hotel asks to hold onto your passport until you check out, you may absolutely refuse! This is an old technique to make sure that guests don’t skip out on their hotel bills. Nowadays, when the hotel has your credit card on file, it’s completely unnecessary.
Keeping Your Passport Safe in Your Hotel Room
When you are traveling, sometimes you will want to keep your passport on your person, and sometimes you may want to leave it in your hotel room, particularly if you are doing something like heading down to the beach to snorkel! If you choose to leave your passport in your room, there are steps you can take to keep it secure. Make sure not to leave your passport lying out in the open. Treat it the way you would cash or other valuables. The safest places to keep your passport are in a locked suitcase or in the room’s safe.
If you use the safe in your room to store your passport or other belongings, make sure to select a numeric passcode that would be hard for a thief to guess. Too many people use 1234 or 0000! Choose a number that’s easy for you to remember, like your child’s birthday or part of your phone number. (If you do forget your passcode, hotel staff will be able to open the safe for you.) You should also find a way to remind yourself to retrieve your passport from the safe, like leaving a note for yourself inside your suitcase. Should you leave your passport behind, you’re not going to get far without it!