Do you always have your passport with you?


While traveling, do you always have your passport with you? Or you leave it in your room/hotel/house and go around with just a copy of the main page?


Neither, passport in room, no copy on hand . Probably not the smartest thing to do I guess…


I rarely carry my passport unless I will be doing something likely to require it. I do usually have my US drivers license with me just in case. but I’d rather lose that than my passport. I also don’t carry a copy.


@kristof yeah, what if police will stop you for a control?
@wanderingdev is the driving license a valid ID abroad?


mostly they just want to see something with my name and picture on it. i wouldn’t use it to cross a border, but if i’m just out running errands and have to show ID it has always worked.

I’ve also, in more than 10+ cumulative years of travel through a few dozen countries, never been randomly stopped by cops on the street and asked for ID. YMMV based on your appearance though.

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Never happened abroad. It happened a few times in Italy (my home country).
So I guess the italian ID card is gonna be enough (more practical to carry around every day than a passport) event if it states that it’s a valid identification document only in EU and some neighbour countries.


@stepunk I spent most of my time in Indonesia and other places in SEA. Better not to have your passport on hand so the corrupt cops can take it from you. Better to just pay them off in case it’s necessary. Around Europe I may carry my Belgian ID or Driver’s license.

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I take a cell phone photo of my driver’s license and passport. I’ve used it twice - for buying a Sim card and renting an apartment.

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I don’t but I should. Well I should at least carry some ID.


Only carry a photocopy, except when crossing borders of course.

Usually I only carry a debit card, a credit card, photocopy of the passport and cash. In different pockets.

Also have 2 other backup credit cards (from different banks) at the apartment, so if I lose the main ones or get robbed, I won’t be left with no way to get cash / pay online.

All this has saved my butt in a couple of occasions.

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No, I don’t carry my passport as well.

As others have said, a photocopy will suffice for most (if not all) traveling situations. I keep an image of mine on my phone as well.

Further, I would suggest taking a photograph or copy of your current visa in said country to avoid any other hassles.

For example, if you are stopped riding a motorbike in a foreign country (and let’s face it, most rarely have the right operators license) - then it makes the stop easier to have a copy of your passport and visa on you.

Never just hand over your passport, but be aware - for some things in Asia, it is “normal” (use your judgement) to leave your passport as collateral for renting a hotel room. Especially in budget situations.

Finally, I would keep a photocopy of you passport backed up in a resource folder in Dropbox. Could come in handy if something happens and you need to get another passport.

All that said, for better or worse, the world can be more hostile or selective to some nationalities or even in the case of gender depending on where you’re at.

Last year, my Vietnamese wife and I were traveling in Thailand in a taxi. We were going down an alley lined up with Thai police. One cop jumped in front of the taxi and demanded we stop. He then proceeded to the window and demanded to see a copy of my wife’s passport, which she luckily had on her.

He checked her passport and - then waved us on.

And of course, this white guy’s passport he could care less about. Shitty situation.

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I never carry my passport with me while travelling. It’s safer in the hotel/hostel room/locker. If I have it on me, I may be robbed, or I might just lose it, so it’s not worth the risk.

The only time I’d take the passport with me would be when I knew I’d need it, such as getting a new phone SIM (required in some countries).

I have never been in a place where I needed my passport for identification (so far). I always have my phone on me, with a photo of my passport, and I also have my Australian drivers license which should suffice if I ever need to prove my identity.

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@stepunk it is required by majority countries for you to have some form of photo identification with you at all times. However, you can get away with a photo copy on many occasions.

While it is definitely more convenient to not carry around your passport while traveling, also consider what you are giving up because of this convenience: the ability to get out of the country in a hurry. While most travelers may consider this moot, it is a very important factor which can sometimes mean life or death (especially in underdeveloped and developing countries).

Sure, you (and most others) may never face this situation. Nevertheless, it is something about which you should think deeply before brushing off as a non-issue.


@kopepasah nice point! Emergency situations, even if very uncommon, are something that has to be taken into consideration.


Just to play devil’s advocate on the emergencies front, there is also those of us that can’t renew our passports while overseas if it’s damaged or lost. Best I can get is a temporary passport only good to travel back home.

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Turkey: I have been stopped countless times(my country)
Netherlands: Twice
Thailand: Once when I had no passport on me in middle of the night. Police thought for a half a minute before letting me go.
Luxembourg & Germany: Not sure if it counts but they stopped our car because they thought we were driving suspiciously


I always have my passport on me pretty much all the time, only time I don’t is if I know I am going to do nothing for the day except swim at a beach (which, unfortunately, is not all that often).

I’m an bit of an exception though, I am an unusually successful person when it comes to keeping track of my personal things, avoiding theft, and other incidents where wallet/keys/phone/passport could be destroyed or go missing.

In most situations, when asked for ID by some form of security or police, I’d innocently offer my US driver’s license first. I’d only offer the passport if asked directly. I’ve mostly traveled in Latin America, and the only time I’ve ever had to give my passport to police was in China. Even there, it is mandatory to check in with the city’s local police at some point (as a tourist), to get permission to leave whatever city you are in, or to get a local cellphone number. More of a bureaucratic function than any kind of random stop and frisk by the police.

I’m from NYC, where being stopped by the police is a frequent occurrence. It gives me the feeling that when I am outside of America, there is about a 1% chance someone will demand my passport. Though, 1% is still too much of a risk for an incident that could be as obnoxious and threatening to recover from as my passport being taken. I feel its much safer in my pocket than anywhere else ;).

I usually take a few photocopies of my passport and keep them in a non obvious location of my typically very light luggage. These are for a backup in case some freak incident destroys my passport, etc. I’m too paranoid that just having a photocopy on me alone will make police suspicious and win me a tour of their department.


Sure. Always keep it in my pocket. Once I got it in my teenage I never go outside without it even in mother-Russia where I am from. Driving license doesn’t work as an ID in many countries BTW :wink: At least I don’t think that in Russia police will be OK if the foreigner shows them the driving license :slight_smile:

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I keep a scan of it in 1Password on my phone. I also keep my passport in my laptop bag, but I don’t always take that out with me. I’ve used my drivers license as ID to verify my credit card a bunch of times in Mexico.

That said, I understand that by law you are supposed to carry your passport with you at all times in Thailand and I generally did, especially since the military increased in presence (they may have left CM since though) .


I only have mine with me if I’m driving or going to the bank or doing something where I need it. Otherwise I carry a copy and my regular domestic ID or drivers license. It’s rarely needed.