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Passport question - carry with or leave at hotel?

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Jul 23rd, 2015, 06:20 AM
  #1
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Passport question - carry with or leave at hotel?

I'm never clear on the rule if one is supposed to carry one's passport while touring/walking around or if it is safer to leave locked up in y hotel. Any ideas? I'll be in Turkey Romania Germany & Austria.
APBaron is offline  
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 06:26 AM
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Carry a photocopy of it and keep the original in your hotel.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 06:34 AM
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Hi,

There is no problem with carrying your passport but I suggest to keep it close to your body, e.g. in an inner pocket compartment. If you leave it in the hotel, make sure that it's really in a safe place, e.g. in the hotel safe or locked into your suitcase. What I'm often doing is to make copies of my passport which I have on a USB stick (just in case I loose it) plus physical copies which I carry along in place of the passport. However Europe is pretty safe and nothing should happen. Pickpockets are interested in values. So keep your passport separate from your bills.

Enjoy your trip!

Evelyn
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 06:53 AM
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I generally do what Sparkchaser says, unless I have some reason I might be asked to show it that day (ie, train ticket designated to me). I've never had a problem nor been pickpocketed/mugged but there's always a first time, I suppose.

It is absolutely not true that pickpockets are not interested in passports, they are extremely valuable on the black market. Besides, often they may swipe things and just take it all.

As far as "rules", some people issue dire warnings about how it is illegal for you to walk around in Europe without your passport as if the entire country were some terrible police state waiting to throw tourists into jail for nothing. I think you have to be able to prove your identity in questionable circumstances or if arrested, but you aren't going to be locked up for life if your passport were in your hotel room and you had to have someone get it for you if you were arrested.

Haven't been to Turkey in many years but in general, I am more cautious in countries like that, not less (in terms of not having it on me).
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 06:57 AM
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It's generally the law that you must carry a valid I.D./passport with you at all times, but many tourists take a copy and leave the original in a safe place at the hotel. I have yet to hear of a single instance where a tourist landed in any trouble because they were not carrying their passport while sightseeing.

Also, your passport is of value to some pickpockets, not to mention the hassle of losing it, so whenever you have it with you, keep it very secure and separate from other valuables.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 10:34 AM
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We always carry the originals since if anything happens to it we want to know immediately. If you leave in the hotel how secure will it be? In-room safes - if the room has one - can often be opened by staff. And leaving in the main hotel safe it can be easy to forget.

Caveat:Have been to europe more than 100 times with never a problem of theft or loss - but I am a native New Yorker and have noted that some people do not seem to use the same normal safety procedures that I do for personal belongings.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 10:43 AM
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I leave my passport at the hotel, but carry my passport card or drivers license in order to have ID on my person.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 10:52 AM
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"I have yet to hear of a single instance where a tourist landed in any trouble because they were not carrying their passport while sightseeing."

OK, here's one for you then. Happened in Brussels. A brawl broke out in an Irish pub near the Grand'Place and spilled out on the street. The police came by, cordoned off the area and demanded that everyone -- whether they'd been involved or not, whether they'd even been in the pub or not -- show their real official IDs. Copies were not accepted. Those who could not produce valid, genuine IDs were penalized.

Another one for you. This time, in Switzerland. Tourists were riding the trams in Basel and forgot their free transit card that come with a hotel stay. The "control" police happened to do a spot check and when the tourists couldn't produce their transit card, they were asked to produce official ID. The authorities were definitely NOT pleased to be shown mere copies. The couple was taken off the tram and I could see something (tickets, fines, no idea, I didn't get off with them) being written up.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 11:13 AM
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APBaron, the OP, asked about "the rule"--and the answer is, there isn't one.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 11:30 AM
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We carry ours with us and also my husband has a copy of mine and I have a copy of his. We don't trust hotel safes!
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 12:57 PM
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I carry both my wife's and mine. It's not a question of control, but she has been pickpocketed and recently lost her bag with wallet and all ID in it. I have never lost papers; but then, the importance of papers has been drilled into me since I was a child. I use a visible belt pouch with passport, wallet, IDP in it. I keep a copy of the passport on my e-mail account, just in case.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 01:20 PM
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I leave mine in the safe. Spending time on all the travel forums, not once have I read that hotel staff stole out of a room safe. Have you? With Trip Advisor, and almost instant posting, if this was ever a problem, we all would know about it. The mgr. might be able to get into a safe, but certainly not the housekeepers.

I never carry my passport unless crossing borders or flying. I have other ID. Take a photo of it and keep it in your phone, ipad or camera. It is only useful if you need to go to a consulate to replace it.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 02:01 PM
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It depends. IF my hotel has a safe, I may leave it there. If I think I might need it for ID or there's no safe I carry it with me, in a money belt under my clothes. In Italy I always carry it (legal requirement) and I think there were a couple of threads here recently by people who had had problems in Switzerland with not having their ID with them (am traveling, bad time to search).
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 02:29 PM
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I always carry it. I'd forget to take it out of the hotel safe.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 02:31 PM
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WhiterTea

What do youmean by 'penalized' ?
I've been living all my life in Belgium and never heard anything like that.

Anyway, like most Europeans, we have two legit ID's : National ID and Passport.
We leave our passport in our safe at hotel and keep our ID on us.

Mvg.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 02:59 PM
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Now having heard 2 stories of tourists getting "in trouble" for only producing a copy of their IDs, I will continue to (a) carry a copy of my passport (I'd rather pay a penalty than lose my passport) and (b) bypass Switzerland, since there are so many more appealing Alpine destinations anyway.

i also think it is daffy to imagine the hotel staff is going to open your hotel room safe and steal your passport.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 03:13 PM
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Also, I am mystified by this constant refrain that native New Yorkers are all either born with or acquire some super-knowledge about theft in Europe. I am a native New Yorker (NYC), and there are almost no pickpockets in New York City. In fact, not all that long ago, the New York Times interviewed one of the few pickpockets in the city, who actually lamented that there were so few pickpockets in the city, and they were so old, he doubted they would continue to even exist in a few years.

Most of us who grew up in New York City and lived there most of all our lives live by the simple knowledge that in the presence of a thief in New York City, you hand over your money. Period. So you don't get punched out or shot.

Europe is not like that. How dumb and unsophisticated do you have to be to realize that after 100 trips?
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 03:55 PM
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Here's one I read about on TA. A young couple was staying in an apartment in Rome. The man wanted to go to a bar in the evening, but she preferred to go back to the hotel. He went alone to a bar, where he had a bit too much, although they say he was by no means drunk. There was an argument and the police were called. He was taken to the station because he had no ID. Unfortunately neither had a phone that worked in Italy. Somehow, I don't remember the details, things got staightened out the next day.

Apart from the ID issue, if you stay in an apartment, both of you should have a working phone. And drinking too much in a foreign company is really stupid.

A woman in my town in Italy was detained for several hours by the carabinieri recently because she didn't have her ID with her. She had her driver's license, but that wasn't accepted.

I was told by our local marshall of the carabinieri, when I first came to Italy, that, until I got my Italian ID, I needed to carry my passport at all times, so I did. One of my daughters, when she visits me, carries a passport card and leaves the passport at home. The other always carries her passport. The passport card doesn't say anything about your entry and exit dates, so it might not satisfy every official.

I can assure you that anyone who looks North African would be required to show official ID, and somehow I don't care for the idea that paler people expect to be held to a different standard.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 03:58 PM
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In my previous post, in the first example, the young couple was staying in an apartment, not a hotel. That was a good part of the problem.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 06:24 PM
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Well for Americans the passport is the only official ID. We don;t have any system of national IDs for all people.

And as for being aware of theft - NO ONE is talking about robberies or muggings - which are very rare in tourist areas of europe. What we are talking about is pickpockets and those who prey on careless tourists by stealing wallets, purses, cameras, cell phones, etc - because the tourists put them down in public - or carry them in vulnerable backpacks - rather than holding on to valuables at all times, and carrying them in secured places.

(And as for pickpockets or similar in NYC - there are a lot of them in places frequented by tourists. There was a crackdown in Times Square recently. And a friend of mine - granted careless - has had her purse (gigantic) rifled several times on the subway.)

And yes, there have been reports of belongings rifled from in-room safes. I have not seen one on the europe board recently, but most hotels in europe don't have in-room safes. Have seen theft complaints for Las Vegas, Hawaii and places in Mexico and Latin America in the not distant past.
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