Travel Advice - Take good care of your passport
When you are traveling internationally, your passport serves as your
official identification document and the key that unlocks airports for
international travel. Simply put, no passport, no travel.
When departing from the United States your passport will generally be
examined at the check-in gate and, often, at the boarding gate.
- When you arrive at your international destination, you will be
processed into the Arrivals Hall and pass through a passport control
area where your passport will be checked and possibly stamped indicating
the date that you arrived in the country.
- In addition, you will be required to fill out a “landing card” that
identifies you as a foreign national and requires personal information,
including your passport number. The “landing cards” are usually supplied
by the airline crew prior to landing.
While abroad, you may be required to present you passport at hotel
- You might be asked for your passport when cashing traveler checks at
- Finally, if you are on a multi-country trip, every time you fly to
a new country, you and your passport could go through the
departure/arrival scenario described above.
While losing your passport when abroad is not a total disaster, it is a
major inconvenience: the only place that you can begin the process to
resolve this issue is at a U.S. embassy.
- Replacement takes time and leads to “heartburn” since you will be
spending your vacation time in a non-productive manner.
- See our
article on lost passports and the
procedures required to replace them.
Although accidents always happen, you should do your best protect your
- There are periods during travel when your passport will be examined
frequently and this may lead to your casually storing it in a bag or a
shirt pocket. In other cases, you may be jet lagged or thinking of
something else and simply stuff it in your pocket.
- These are good ways to loose this valuable document.
- During travel, the safest place for your passport is zipped and
secure in your money belt (see
Get money belts and be prepared to use them and
- If you know that you are going to have to show your passport
numerous times (e.g. on a travel day) keep it in an inside pocket,
a buttoned or zipped pocket, or in a zipped pocket on your fanny pack.
- When you are sure that your passport flipping is over, return your
passport to the safety of the money belt, artfully hidden beneath your
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