Should you carry your passport with you in Europe?

Should you carry your passport with you in Europe?

European Square with people - timelapse

It does depend on what country you are planning on visiting. But a copy of your passport or your passport itself is recommended across Europe. Some form of identification is a legal requirement. 

Are you curious about a specific European country? I go into several individual countries below. This is a good question, let’s dig into it a little deeper.

What I do

If you do not feel comfortable carrying your actual passport around with you while you are out and about, a copy of your passport may suffice as identification, depending on the country you are in. 

Passports and other valuables should always be kept in a hotel safe, according to the US State Department. That is what I do. Take a picture of it and keep that handy on my phone, but leave my passport in the hotel safe.

Remember that carrying your passport with you also increases the risk of it being stolen or lost.

But do I need to keep my passport on me?

If you are stopped by the authorities, you could be asked for both your passport or some form of ID that states your nation of origin. They can detain you if they would like while they review your paperwork and situation. The police are unlikely to require you to identify yourself unless you’re involved in a serious incident like a drug bust, terror raid or a fight though. 

Some other times you will need your passport in Europe, are checking into your hotel, flying between countries, renting a car. When you rent a car, you will also need to show your driver’s license. 

You don’t need to show it when crossing the border into most western European countries. Some exceptions include crossing into Croatia and Switzerland by boat or on land… Also flying into the UK or Ireland. 

Otherwise don’t worry too much about keeping your passport on you. Even when you go out for the night. European bars don’t typically ask to see an ID. If they do, A US driver’s license will typically work just fine. So you should be good without your passport for the night.

Tips for traveling with your passport

These things are important for keeping your passport safe and keeping track of it while you are on the road.

Keep a color copy of your passport with you.

I have a friend who was in Cancun for a break from the winter weather in Minnesota. One day, she went to breakfast with friends and she left her passport on the table at the restaurant. She realized she had left it just a few minutes after leaving and ran back but it was too late: her passport had been stolen.

Leave it in a safe in your hotel

If you’re planning something, like swimming or a scuba dive where you feel like you won’t have a safe place to lock up your passport or keep it on you, you might want to leave it back at the hotel. I would.

Lock it up in the safe in your room. They are typically very safe and secure. Yes, I know they can be broken into if someone is really trying, but they typically are quite safe and unless you have someone who is really out to get you, or you have done something to make the hotel staff really grumpy, you will be fine.

Typically, people who try to tell you that hotel safes aren’t secure, are trying to sell you something… or are paranoid. Yes, even if it is a legit website or a close friend.

It boils down to personal preference and how much risk you’re willing to take on for yourself and those traveling with you during your trip abroad.

So You Know – You might get hassled by your insurance company if you don’t lock up your ID or passport in the hotel safe.

Carry a color copy of my passport and/or your driver’s license

You could carry another form of ID as well. If you were to lose your passport it could be hard to re-enter the US. It’s doable, but a bit of a hassle. Consider carrying a color copy of the Bio/identity page and the latest entry stamp if you do this.

Keep a digital copy on your phone

This could come in handy as well, especially in combination with the paper one.

If you need to, for any reason, be quickly admitted to the Embassy of your country, then carrying something that can prove your citizenship can be very beneficial for you.

Don’t just leave it in your luggage! 

It is more likely to get stolen there. Either by hotel staff, airport staff or pickpockets.

Be careful if someone starts talking to you in the middle of a busy touristy spot.

It might be fine, but it might not. It could be a distraction ploy by a pickpocket. They work in teams where one distracts, the other steals.

Be careful if a vendor requires you to leave your passport 

They might do it legitimately, with no ill-intent, as security to rent a car boat or scooter. Feel the situation out and see if you can leave them your paper copy. 

I just did that in Mexico to rent a scooter but they looked pretty legit, and I knew we weren’t going to be rally-driving the scooter so I felt the risk was pretty low. It turned out fine.

Though they could have scammed us by claiming that we damaged their vehicle… or kept it if we legitimately damaged the vehicle.

If it gets stolen, notify the authorities asap

If you do get your passport stolen, it’s important to notify the nearest authority and file a police report with as much information as possible:

The date, time, location (street address if possible), what color was the vehicle, license plate number, details of how you had your belongings (wallet or bag) open, etc.

Photocopy your passport two times

Make sure one of them is kept with someone who can email, text or fax it to you in an emergency, and the other you could keep with you at all times. 

European storefront

Do the opposite of what I have suggested

Or carry the original passport and leave a copy in the hotel and pic of it on your phone in case you need to replace a lost original.  

To avoid losing any of these documents while traveling, I store copies of all documents, as well as a list of credit card numbers and phone numbers online.

Note – Having a copy of your passport is of use if the original document is lost or stolen and you need the actual document in your given situation. Although a copy might make things easier for the embassy staff and yourself if you need to get a replacement, it does not have any ability to replace or work in the place of the original ID (passport or driver’s license, etc.) 

Make sure someone at home has a copy of your passport in case of an emergency

If you have any issues or if there is some unforeseen emergency, having someone who isn’t on the trip but is highly responsive and responsible keep a copy of your passport, digital or hardcopy, can be helpful. 

It certainly isn’t necessary, but for the same reasons that organizations ask for emergency contact on their applications and waivers, it could be good to have someone available to help with proof of your identity back home. 

Put an emergency contact person’s information inside your passport

And on that note, it would be good to paperclip in the back cover of your passport an emergency contact that has critical information about you and backups of your important documents. 

Here are some articles with specific advice based on the laws of these European locations.

Do I have to carry my passport in Spain?

Should you carry your passport with you in France?

Do I have to carry my passport in Turkey?

Should you carry your passport with you in Italy?

Do I need to carry my passport in Germany?

Should you carry your passport with you in London?

Do I have to carry my passport in Europe?

It depends on your personal preference and how much risk you’re willing to take on for yourself and those traveling with you during your trip abroad. A valid form of identification is required in Europe and identification guidelines vary by country.

I have linked to several of the most popular European locations up above for you to go more in-depth into each of them.

In most countries in the European Union the law requires it, but people don’t carry their passports with them typically. Typically when people are stopped and asked for their passport they show them their driver’s license and a copy of their bio page from their passport… or call back to the hotel or resort and get things sorted out pretty quickly.

Do you need a passport to travel around Europe?

You do need a passport to travel between countries around Europe. It doesn’t just apply when you cross the border for example, at an airport. When you are staying in a European country, you may also need to show an ID or a passport. Visas are also required in some countries.

quiet small town street with flowers and people on bikes in the early morning

Do you need a passport to travel by train in Europe?

You don’t need a passport to board a train in Europe, you will need to have a ticket or pass that allows you to ride. But they won’t ask for ID.

Do they check passports on trains in Europe?

They don’t check passports on trains that are traveling within a country in Europe. If the train crosses into any other country they will check passports.

Do you need a passport on high-speed trains in Europe?

You don’t need a passport to get on the train. You have a train ticket. Reservations are required to board and ride high-speed trains.

Can you travel without a passport in Europe?

No, you cannot travel through Europe without a valid U.S. passport or enter any of its 44 countries. In some parts of Europe, you can travel from one country to another without one, but to get to Europe you will need one and when leaving to go back to your country of origin, you’ll need a passport.

Hope you have found this post helpful! 

References

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/travelers-with-special-considerations/schengen.html

Should you carry your passport with you in Italy?

Should you carry your passport with you in Italy?

You should carry your passport or a copy of the data page with you in Italy. It is the law in Italy that you have an ID on you at all times. 

Gov.uk states that if you are only carrying a photocopy of your passport’s data page, which is fine, that you also carry your driver’s license as well or some other additional form of ID. 

If you are carrying your passport, you don’t need to carry any additional identification.

Read on for answers to other questions you might have and for tips for traveling with your passport through Italy and anywhere internationally.

Can I travel back to Italy with an expired passport?

No, a card for identity (carta d’identità) or passport issued to you in Italy that has expired will not be accepted upon return. You can however use one as an ID card inside the country. 

How much time do I need on my passport to travel to Italy?

If you are a non-EU national (not a citizen of the European Union) you must have a valid passport with at least three months left to enter Italy. 

Related: Should you carry your passport with you in Europe?
Related: Should you carry your passport with you in Thailand?

Do you have to carry your passport with you in Italy?

If/When you are stopped while driving, the police will usually ask for your entire passport.

I have a friend who has been traveling to Italy off and on for 14 years, including living there for 5, and has never had it happen to him or his wife, or friends and family that have come and gone in their time living there.

A quick visit with them revealed that it’s common to see visitors and locals on trains, buses or other public transportation have their tickets and documents inspected if they hadn’t stamped their tickets or didn’t have tickets for one reason or another.

The ones that plead their cases most convincingly seem to get away with it just fine. 

There are also random traffic stops, at which the drivers of cars, scooters etc should have to show their IDs aren’t always asked to show them either. I found that interesting. 

My wife and I haven’t been to Italy yet, but when we go, we will follow what we normally do when we are in any other foreign country, Carry our US driver’s licenses and a copy of our data page from our passports and leave our actual passports back where ae are staying. 

No police officer has ever asked to see my passport while I was traveling.

Tips for taking your passport to Italy

These tips and ideas are important for keeping your passport safe and keeping track of it while you are on your Italian vacation.

Keep a color copy of your passport with you.

I have a friend who was in Cancun for a break from the winter weather in Minnesota. One day, she went to breakfast with friends and she left her passport on the table at the restaurant. She realized she had left it just a few minutes after leaving and ran back but it was too late: her passport had been stolen.

Leave it in a safe in your hotel

If you’re planning something, like swimming or a scuba dive where you feel like you won’t have a safe place to lock up your passport or keep it on you, you might want to leave it back at the hotel. I would.

Lock it up in the safe in your room. They are typically very safe and secure. Yes, I know they can be broken into if someone is really trying, but they typically are quite safe and unless you have someone who is really out to get you, or you have done something to make the hotel staff grumpy, you will be fine.

Typically, people who try to tell you that hotel safes aren’t secure, are trying to sell you something… or are paranoid. Yes, even if it is a legit website or a close friend.

It boils down to personal preference and how much risk you’re willing to take on for yourself and those traveling with you during your trip abroad.

So You Know – You might get hassled by your insurance company if you don’t lock up your ID or passport in the hotel safe.

Carry a color copy of my passport and/or your driver’s license

You could carry another form of ID as well. If you were to lose your passport it could be hard to re-enter the US. It’s doable, but a bit of a hassle. Consider carrying a color copy of the Bio/identity page and the latest entry stamp if you do this.

Keep a digital copy on your phone

This could come in handy as well, especially in combination with the paper one.

If you need to, for any reason, be quickly admitted to the Embassy of your country, then carrying something that can prove your citizenship can be very beneficial for you.

Don’t just leave it in your luggage! 

It is more likely to get stolen there. Either by hotel staff, airport staff or pickpockets.

Be careful if someone starts talking to you in the middle of a busy touristy spot.

It might be fine, but it might not. It could be a distraction ploy by a pickpocket. They work in teams where one distracts, the other steals.

Be careful if a vendor requires you to leave your passport 

They might do it legitimately, with no ill-intent, as security to rent a car boat or scooter. Feel the situation out and see if you can leave them your paper copy. 

I just did that to rent a scooter but they looked pretty legit, and I knew we weren’t going to be rally-driving the scooter so I felt the risk was pretty low. It turned out fine.

Though they could have scammed us by claiming that we damaged their vehicle… or kept it if we legitimately damaged the vehicle.

If it gets stolen, notify the authorities asap

If you do get your passport stolen, it’s important to notify the nearest authority and file a police report with as much information as possible:

The date, time, location (street address if possible), what color was the vehicle, license plate number, details of how you had your belongings (wallet or bag) open, etc.

Photocopy your passport two times

Make sure one of them is kept with someone who can email, text or fax it to you in an emergency, and the other you could keep with you at all times. 

Do the opposite of what I have suggested

Or carry the original passport and leave a copy in the hotel and pic of it on your phone in case you need to replace a lost original.  

To avoid losing any of these documents while traveling, I store copies of all documents, as well as a list of credit card numbers and phone numbers online.

Note – Having a copy of your passport won’t replace the original if your actual passport is lost or stolen and you need the original. But a copy might make things easier for the embassy staff and yourself if you need to get a replacement.

Make sure someone at home has a copy of your passport in case of an emergency

If you have any issues or if there is some unforeseen emergency, having someone who isn’t on the trip but is highly responsive and responsible keep a copy of your passport, digital or hardcopy, can be helpful. 

It certainly isn’t necessary, but for the same reasons that organizations ask for emergency contact on their applications and waivers, it could be good to have someone available to help with proof of your identity back home. 

Put an emergency contact person’s information inside your passport

And on that note, it would be good to paperclip in the back cover of your passport an emergency contact that has critical information about you and backups of your important documents. 

Do you have to carry your passport with you in Italy?

Yes, the law requires you to carry your passport in Italy, but people don’t carry their passports with them. I don’t know anyone who has been stopped and asked for their passport, but I have read online of folks who have, and they just call back to the hotel or resort and get things sorted out pretty quickly.

It boils down to personal preference and how much risk you’re willing to take on for yourself and those traveling with you during your trip abroad.

I can’t tell you what to do, but just let you know what French law is and what I do. You can go from there.

Do I have to carry ID in Italy?

Not an Italian citizen?

If you aren’t an Italian citizen then a passport needs to be carried with you or you can show a copy of the bio/data page of your passport and a driver’s license or other picture ID. 

You are an Italian citizen?

The Italian identity card, known as the Carta D’Identità, will need to be carried in public if you are an Italian. Police will not require you to produce any documents, however. Name, surname, and residence will be all you need.

Does Italy have its own passport?

Italy does have its own passports. Italian citizens need them in order to travel internationally. Passports and national ID cards give citizens free movement rights and the right to reside in any country within the European Union, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland.

Related: Do I have to carry my passport in Spain?

Can I travel to Italy with a passport that expires in 3 months?

The validity of your passport must extend beyond the period of stay by at least three months. Tourists and business travelers from the United States do not need a visa to enter Italy for up to 90 days.

Can I travel to Italy with only 3 months left on my passport?

Yes, you can travel to Italy so long as your passport is valid for three months after you will be exiting Italy at the end of your stay. 

Do I need to carry my passport with me in Rome?

You need a valid form of identification in Italy, as we mentioned earlier. The same goes for Rome and other Italian cities. This means that, in Rome, even though you’re unlikely to be checked, you must have your passport with you at all times.  Driver’s licenses from another country also won’t be accepted.

Do I need a driver’s license to drive in Italy?

Before leaving the United States, Americans who plan to drive in Italy should get an International Driving Permit.

If accompanied by an official translation in Italian, tourists may also use their American driver’s license so long as it is valid. A resident American registered with the local Vital Records Bureau needs to apply for an Italian license within a year of registration with the local Vital Records Bureau (known as Anagrafe).

You can request a new permit through the mail if yours is about to expire while abroad. Reach out to these guys to make that happen. 

American Automobile Association
Worldwide Travel Department 
1000 AAA Drive
Heathrow, FL 32746 
Phone: (407) 444-7000 

Things not to do in Italy! 

I hope this article has been helpful!

*References

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Italy.html

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy/local-laws-and-customs

Do I have to carry my passport in Spain?

Do I have to carry my passport in Spain?

It is a requirement that all Spanish citizens and foreigners living in Spain carry and present when requested, identification papers. Regardless of what people typically do, the law in Spain states that foreigners need a valid passport or proof that the passport is being renewed.

According to Spanish law, everyone is required to present a national identity card or passport to the police or the Guardia Civil upon request. That is why a driver’s license won’t work. It isn’t an internationally recognized document showing one’s nationality.

If you do not feel comfortable carrying your actual passport, a copy of your passport may suffice as identification. That is what I do. Take a picture of it and keep that handy on my phone. 

Remember that carrying your passport with you also increases the risk of it being stolen or lost.

I go to Spain every couple of years and don’t carry mine but leave it where I’m staying.

You will also need a passport valid for three months beyond the length of your stay in Spain to enter the country. When you enter, they will look for that.

Does Spain require you to keep your passport on you?

If you are stopped by the authorities, you could be asked for both your passport or some form of ID that states your nation of origin. They can detain you if they would like while they review your paperwork and situation. The Police are unlikely to require you to identify yourself unless you’re involved in a serious incident (drug bust, terror raid, etc) or a fight on the street. 

And know that some of Spain’s law enforcement wear plain clothes regularly. Anytime you encounter someone claiming to be a plainclothes policeman, you should always ask to see their law enforcement identification.

I typically leave my passport back at the hotel or Airbnb. I know others who leave theirs at their hotel as well so as not to get their wallet or passport stolen… or lose it somewhere.

Related: Should you carry your passport with you in Europe?
Related: Should you carry your passport with you in Italy?

Tips for traveling with your passport or ID in Spain

1. One thing you could do is keep a color copy of your passport with you.

I have a friend who was in Cancun for a break from the winter weather in Minnesota. One day, she went to breakfast with friends and she left her passport on the table at the restaurant. She realized she had left it just a few minutes after leaving and ran back but it was too late: her passport had been stolen.

2. If you’re planning something, like swimming or a scuba dive where you feel like you won’t have a safe place to lock up your passport or keep it on you, you might want to leave it back at the hotel. I would.

Lock it up in the safe in your room. They are typically very safe and secure. Yes, I know they can be broken into if someone is really trying, but they typically are quite safe and unless you have someone who is really out for you, or you have done something to make the hotel staff really grumpy, you will be fine.

Typically, people who try to tell you that hotel safes aren’t secure, are trying to sell you something… or are paranoid. Yes, even if it is a legit website or a close friend.

It boils down to personal preference and how much risk you’re willing to take on for yourself and those traveling with you during your trip abroad.

So You Know – You might get hassled by your insurance company if you don’t lock up your ID or passport in the hotel safe.

3. I carry a color copy of my passport or my driver’s license with me. You could carry another form of ID as well. If you were to lose your passport it could be hard to re-enter the US. It’s doable, but a bit of a hassle. Consider carrying a color copy of the Bio/identity page and the latest entry stamp if you do this.

4. Also, keep a digital copy on your phone. This could come in handy as well, especially in combination with the paper one.

If you need to, for any reason, be quickly admitted to the Embassy of your country, then carrying something that can prove your citizenship can be very beneficial for you.

5. Don’t just leave it in your luggage! It is more likely to get stolen there.

6. Be careful if someone starts talking to you in the middle of a busy touristy spot. It might be fine, but it might not. It could be a distraction ploy by a pickpocket. They work in teams where one distracts, the other steals.

7. Be careful if a vendor of any kind requires you to leave your passport as security to rent a car boat or scooter! Feel the situation out and see if you can leave them your paper copy. 

I just did that in Mexico to rent a scooter but they looked pretty legit, and I knew we weren’t going to be rally-driving the scooter so I felt the risk was pretty low. It turned out fine.

Though they could have scammed us by claiming that we damaged their vehicle… or kept it if we legitimately damaged the vehicle.

8. If you do get your passport stolen, it’s important to notify the nearest Spanish authority and file a police report with as much information as possible:

The date, time, location (street address if possible), the vehicle’s color, license plate number, details of how you had your belongings (wallet or bag) open, etc.

9. Photocopy your passport two times. Make sure one of them is kept with someone who can email, text or fax it to you in an emergency, and the other you could keep with you at all times. 

10. Or you could do the opposite of what has been suggested thus far and carry the original passport and leave a copy in the hotel. 

To avoid losing any of these documents while traveling, I store copies of all documents, as well as a list of credit card numbers and phone numbers online.

Should you carry your passport with you in Spain?

It boils down to personal preference and how much risk you’re willing to take on for yourself and those traveling with you during your trip abroad.

I can’t tell you what to do, but just let you know what Spanish law is and what I do. You can go from there.

The law requires it, but people don’t carry their passports with them typically. I don’t know anyone who has been stopped and asked for their passport, but I have read online of folks who have, and they just call back to the hotel or resort and get things sorted out pretty quickly.

Can Spanish police search me or my belongings?

Yes, the Police in Spain can stop and search you, your vehicle, and your personal items. They may do this to find and arrest individuals suspected of having committed an offense, in addition to collecting evidence related to an offense.

To ensure that forbidden or dangerous items are not being transported, police may search vehicles and personal items. If you disobey the police, refuse or resist showing ID documents, you may be charged with a criminal offense and face 6 to 12 months in prison.

In most instances, a body search can only be conducted by an officer of the same gender as the subject, other than in justified and extreme circumstances. 

Do you have to carry an ID in Spain?

The Spanish authorities want you to carry your ID with you if you are in Spain, but photocopies of your passport can work as a form of ID.

Note – Having a copy of your passport is of no use if the original document is lost or stolen. At the embassy, you’ll still have to follow the same process to get a new one. Although a copy might make things easier for the embassy person, it does not have any legal significance.

Can I travel to Spain with 3 months left on my passport?

So long as your passport is valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave Spain, you will be able to use it to get into the country. If it is less than that, you need to get a new passport.

How fast can a passport be renewed?

You can speed up your passport application process with the help of an expedited passport service. If you apply for an expedited passport, you can receive your passport within 2-3 weeks as opposed to the normal application process of 4-6 weeks. With additional optional services and a fee, you can have your travel document ready as soon as 24 hours.

Hope you have found this post helpful! 

*References

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Spain.html#/

Should I Leave My Passport In The Hotel Or Carry It With Me At All Times?

Should I Leave My Passport In The Hotel Or Carry It With Me At All Times?

crowd of people walking in an outdoor market

I’m sure you have asked yourself this question before. Should I leave my passport at the hotel when I am traveling in a foreign country or carry it with me for the day?

The answer to that depends on what your plans are for the day, where you are and what you feel safer with.

First, it depends where you are

If the country you are visiting requires you to carry your passport, you should do it. Malaysia, France and Italy are some examples.

You could still not do it. On a personal note, I don’t. I have never been stopped by the police and asked to see my passport.

There is a friend of mine that was stopped a few times and asked to present his passport. The police have never hassled him. He leaves his passport is in the hotel where he stays, and he has told them where he’s staying and that his passport is there. It isn’t hard for the authorities to verify that. They do it all the time.

TIP – One thing you could do is keep a color copy of your passport with you if that makes you feel better.

I had a friend who was in Paris for the summer. One day, she went to breakfast with friends and she left her passport on the table at the restaurant. She realized she had left it just a few minutes after leaving and ran back but it was too late: her passport had been stolen.

What are your plans for the day?

If you’re planning something, like swimming or a scuba dive where you feel like you won’t have a safe place to lock up your passport or keep it on you, you might want to leave it back at the hotel. I would.

Lock it up in the safe in your room. They are typically very safe and secure. Yes, I know they can be broken into if someone is really trying, but they typically are quite safe and unless you have someone who is really out for you, or you have done something to make the hotel staff really grumpy, you will be fine.

Typically people that try to tell you they aren’t safe, are trying to sell you something. Yes, even if it is a really legit website.

It boils down to personal preference and how much risk you’re willing to take on for yourself and those traveling with you during your trip abroad.

TIP – You might get hassled by your insurance company if you don’t lock up your ID or passport in the hotel safe.

Related: What’s the “passport issuing country” if you’re in a foreign country?

What do you feel safer doing?

You might inherently not trust the hotel staff… Or you might lose things and not want to carry your passport around with you everywhere you go.

You have a better feel for that.

Like I said earlier, my favorite way to ensure my passport is safe is to leave it in the hotel’s safe. It’s not perfectly invulnerable there but much better off than carrying it around:

  1. I have lost a few things during my travels. Luckily none of them were very hard to replace.
  2. Passports are often targeted by thieves. I’ve seen street gangs target cash, cards, and passports. They do a good job at what they do.

Here is an article I wrote on keeping your wallet safe when traveling abroad.

So I carry a color copy of my passport or my driver’s license with me. You could carry another form of ID as well. It can be hard to re-enter the US without a passport. It’s doable, but a bit of a hassle. If you do this, consider carrying a color copy of the Bio/identity page and latest entry stamp.

Also, keep a digital copy on your phone. This could come in handy as well, especially in combination with the paper one.

If you need to, for any reason, be quickly admitted to the Embassy of your country, then carrying something that can prove your citizenship can be very beneficial for you.

TIP – Don’t just leave it in your luggage! It is more likely to get stolen there.

Be careful when someone starts talking to you in the middle of a busy touristy spot. It might not just be a distraction ploy by a pickpocket. They work in teams; one distracts, the other steals.

Related: Should you carry your passport with you in Europe?

Places not to put your passport

  • An open shopping bag on top of the groceries
  • A purse that is slung over one shoulder in front of would-be thieves
  • The back pocket of your pants
  • One of the smaller outer pockets of a backpack
  • Public restroom or changing room

Places to carry your passport while traveling

  • Your backpack if you will be carrying it in a secure inner pocket or portion of a bigger main pocket
  • Your inner pocket of a jacket, vest, sweater. Preferably one that has a zipper
  • Front pockets of your pants
  • The safe in your hotel room (my personal favorite)

TIP – Be careful when someone starts talking to you in the middle of a busy touristy spot. It might not just be a distraction ploy by a pickpocket. They work in teams; one distracts, the other steals.

TIP – Do be careful if a vendor of any kind requires you to leave your passport as security to rent a car boat or scooter! Feel the situation out and see if you can leave them your paper copy. 

I just did that in Mexico to rent a scooter but they looked pretty legit, and I knew we weren’t going to be rally-driving the scooter so I felt the risk was pretty low. It turned out fine.

Though they could have scammed us by claiming that we damaged their vehicle… or keep it if we legitimately damaged the vehicle.

Related: What do I do with my luggage after checking out from my hotel?

Should I leave my passport in my Airbnb?

Leaving your passport at your Airbnb can be safer than if you carry it with you all day, but you might feel safer if you take it with you. Passports left behind should be locked in a room safe or hidden somewhere that won’t be obvious to the host or cleaning crew. Yes, your Airbnb might not be perfectly secure but can be more secure than carrying it with you everywhere you go.

Should you carry your passport with you in Mexico?

It is not necessary or advisable to carry your passport on your person while visiting or touring in Mexico, unless you have an express reason to do so, such as exchanging money.

Should you carry your passport with you in Italy?

Although it is unlikely you will be checked in Italy, you must carry your passport at all times. The Italian government requires you to have an official ID on you. And a foreign driver’s license won’t count. 

Should you carry your passport with you in Europe? 

Having a valid form of identification is required by law in Europe. Passports or copies of passports should be carried. 

Should you carry your passport with you at all times

The chances of losing your passport increase if you carry your passport everywhere when you travel. You should store your passport as securely as you can, and carry digital and physical copies of it with you.

Can I bring a lighter on a plane? (TSA’s Rules)

Can I bring a lighter on a plane? (TSA’s Rules)

Women picking up luggage - can I bring a lighter on a plane?

Can I bring a lighter on a plane? This is one of the most common questions that people ask themselves when preparing for their flight. While some lighters are permitted, there are restrictions as to what type you can bring and how it’s packed in your luggage.

Arc lighters, electronic lighters, and plasma lighters are not allowed on a plane or in carry on bags. But you can bring one disposable or one zippo lighter on a plane, according to the Department of Transportation. They are allowed in checked bags too, as long as they don’t have any fuel. If you want to bring lighters with fuel in checked baggage, they must be in a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved case. You can bring up to two lighters in checked bags if they are packed correctly.

Read on to learn more about how your lighter should be packed in your luggage and what types of lighters are allowed!

Can you bring a Bic lighter on a plane?

You can bring one Bic lighter on a plane. According to the Department of Transportation, you can only bring one lighter that uses a flammable gas like butane or a flammable liquid like Zippo lighters.

Bic lighters use butane. They fall under the category of disposable lighters which are allowed on a plane according to the TSA. A disposable lighter is one that you throw out when it runs out of fuel.

Can you take a cigarette lighter on a plane?

Disposable lighters or Zippo lighters are allowed on a plane without fuel. If you want to bring a lighter with fuel, it must be in your checked bags in a Department of Transportation approved case.

Disposable lighters are lighters that you throw out when you run out of fuel. Zippo is a brand of cigarette lighters, which the TSA allows on a plane without fuel.

Can I take a lighter on a domestic flight?

Yes, you can take one disposable or Zippo lighter on a domestic flight with fuel. There’s no limit to how many empty lighters you can bring, but you may be subject to additional screening when you go through airport security.

Can you take a butane lighter in checked baggage?

Butane torch lighters are not allowed in checked baggage unless they are in a DOT approved case. If so, you can bring up to two butane torch lighters. But they are not allowed to carry on a plane. Bic lighters, which use butane, are allowed on a plane. 

Liquid fuel lighters must have an absorbent lining like a Zippo lighter. Otherwise they are not allowed on a plane. You can bring up to two lighters in your checked bags as long as they are approved by the Department of Transportation.

What happens if a lighter is found in your checked luggage?

If a lighter is found in your checked luggage, the TSA agent may check if it’s empty. You can carry as many empty lighters as you like, but it may take some time to get through security. If the lighter has fuel, it must be in a DOT approved case. You cannot have more than two lighters in checked baggage in DOT approved cases.

If you can’t take all your lighters with you, you’ll have to give them to someone who is not traveling. You could empty the lighter, too, but that takes some work.

If you’re interested here’s a quick video on how to empty and refill a Bic lighter with butane.

Can you pack a lighter in checked luggage?

You can pack up to two lighters in checked luggage if they are in DOT approved cases. A DOT approved case is a durable, airtight case that prevents any fuel from leaking or sparks from igniting during travel. Stray sparks in an airplane cabin can lead to dangerous fires so the TSA is strict about how lighters are packed.

What are DOT approved cases for lighters?

Some lighter companies like Zippo, Colibri, and Prometheus manufacture DOT approved cases for lighters. This allows you to travel with lighters that contain fuel in checked baggage. You can even travel with torch lighters, as long as they are secure in a DOT approved case. You can’t bring more than two lighters in DOT approved cases on a plane.

You can find the DOT approved cases on the companies’ websites or occasionally on Amazon.

Is a Bic lighter DOT approved?

Yes, you can bring one Bic lighter on a plane. The lighter must be in your carry on bag or in your pocket, not in checked baggage. You can bring up to two butane torch lighters in checked baggage if they are secure in a DOT approved case.

Are torch lighters allowed in checked baggage?

Yes, torch lighters are allowed in checked baggage. But they must be packed in a case approved by the Department of Transportation. Any lighter fluid that leaks into the airplane cabin poses a huge risk of igniting a fire, endangering everyone on board. So you don’t have any wiggle room when it comes to this rule. A DOT approved case is required for torch lighters with no exceptions.

Can you bring an electric lighter on a plane?

Unfortunately, you can’t bring an electric lighter on a plane or in checked baggage. The TSA also does not allow arc lighters or plasma lighters on a plane or in your checked bags. There’s no way around this, so be sure to leave it at your house before you head to the airport. If you bring it, it’ll be confiscated, so be sure to double check your bags!

How do I carry a lighter on a plane?

The lighter must be in your carry on bag or in your pocket. Don’t use your lighter on the plane as it is a fire hazard.

Hopefully this article on bringing lighters on a plane has helped you prepare for your next trip! If you still have lots to pack, be sure to check out our other ‘can I bring?’ articles below!

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Can I bring alcohol on a plane?

Can I bring alcohol on a plane?

Can I bring alcohol on a plane?

As you’re packing for your trip, you notice alcohol in your fridge. You’d like to bring it along to enjoy time with your friends and family. But, you wonder: can I bring alcohol on a plane?

We’ll go over the TSA guidelines for alcohol in this article. We’ll also talk about the rules for bringing alcohol in your checked baggage.

If you’re wondering if you can drink your own alcohol on a plane, we’ll go over that too. Let’s get started!

Can I bring alcohol in my carry-on bag?

Yes, you can bring alcohol in your carry-on bag. But, it’s subject to the TSA’s 3:1:1 liquid rule. This means you can bring a maximum of 3.4 ounces or 100 mL of alcohol on a plane. You can bring mini bottles of alcohol on a plane as long as they fit nicely inside a quart-sized bag.

The containers must be able to fit inside one bag, and there’s a limit of one bag per passenger.

It’s not a good idea to overflow your bag or pack it really tightly. This won’t go unnoticed by the TSA and it’ll just be more difficult for you to travel with all that extra liquid. So make sure you follow the rules for a smooth experience through airport security.

Can I bring alcohol on a plane in checked baggage?

Man drinking alcohol on a plane

Yes. Drinks that are between 24% (48 proof) and 70% alcohol (140 proof) must be five liters or less (1.3 gallons) in checked bags. They must be stored in unopened retail boxes, according to the TSA.

Most beers and wines that you can get from some grocery stores or liquor stores are on the lower end of this spectrum: around 48 proof.

Most vodka is 80 proof and whiskey ranges between 80 to 100 proof on average.

If you have alcohol under 24% concentrated, then there’s no limit on how much you can bring. 

Of course, it has to fit in your checked baggage, and your checked bag has to remain within the airline’s bag weight limit. But beyond that there are no requirements for under 24% alcohol.

You cannot pack alcohol in your checked luggage that is over 70% alcohol or 140 proof.

How do I pack alcohol in my checked luggage?

The TSA requires that alcohol between 24% and 70% concentrate must be in unopened retail packaging. They likely want to be able to quickly identify if the liquid is dangerous or suspicious if your bag needs to be checked. An unopened box with the labels on it gives the agents more confidence that the substance is safe.

Can airport scanners detect alcohol?

Airport x-ray scanners can tell if alcohol is in your carry-on bag. If it is not 3.4 ounces or 100 mL, the TSA agents will confiscate the drink. The scanners cannot tell if you have been drinking, nor does the TSA pay attention to that. Of course, if you are drunk to the point of being disruptive or obnoxious, the agents may call security. But many places around the airport serve drinks so you don’t need to worry about having some alcohol in your system.

If you brought too much alcohol and you’re stopped by a TSA agent, you have a few options.

  1. Dump out the liquid and carry the bottle or container on the plane.
  2. Dump out the liquid and leave 3.4 ounces or less to bring on the plane.
  3. Throw out the bottle or container.
  4. Have someone who is not traveling take your alcohol before you go through security and board the plane.
  5. Give the alcohol to the TSA agent. (They can’t drink on the job, but they will confiscate it!)

Your best option is to probably throw it out or give it to someone who is not traveling, if they’re available. You don’t want to hold up the line or lose your place in line because you didn’t follow the TSA liquid rules. Especially on busy days with crowded airports, that can be a real hassle!

How do you sneak alcohol through airport security?

Do not try to sneak alcohol through airport security. It won’t work. After you drop off your checked luggage, you’ll go through an x-ray scanner and so will your carry-on bag. The scanner will detect alcohol. If it’s larger than 3.4 ounces, it will be confiscated.

Think carefully before you decide to try breaking the TSA rules. In reality, you are just inconveniencing others and inconveniencing yourself by causing unnecessary delays for the TSA agents.

You cannot drink your own alcohol on a plane, anyway. So there’s no point in sneaking your own alcohol on a plane. Just purchase alcohol when you get to your destination so you don’t have to skirt any rules.

Can you take a bottle of wine in your checked luggage?

Yes, wine fits between the 24% and 70% alcohol content required by the TSA for checked baggage. You can take up to 5 liters of alcohol, so bring a few bottles if you’d like!

Can you take alcohol on a plane if you’re under 21?

Interior of an Airplane with Lights On

This depends on the specific alcohol laws in your state. Some states prohibit minors from possessing alcohol, while others only prohibit consuming it or buying it. You might catch some weird glances if you’re carrying a bunch of alcohol up to the security checkpoint. Not to mention that you have to stay within the TSA’s 3.4 ounce/100 mL liquid rule.

To avoid the hassle of your state’s laws and following the strict liquid rule, carry the alcohol in your checked bags. Even if you’re under 21, this shouldn’t be a problem. The agents won’t associate your age with the luggage they see, unless you do something suspicious.

Just be sure to pack 5 liters or less of 48 proof to 140 proof alcohol.

Utah, for example, has pretty strict laws on alcohol consumption. If you’re under 21, you cannot purchase or consume alcohol. Violating this law may result in a class B misdemeanor, up to 6 months in jail, and a $1,000 fine. You could also get your driver’s license suspended.

Check your state’s laws before you carry alcohol on a plane under 21. If in doubt, pack it in your checked luggage. 

Will a wine bottle explode on an airplane?

No, the airplane cabins with checked baggage are pressurized and kept at a specific temperature. They won’t explode on a plane. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to bring a whole bottle of wine on a plane. It will have to go in your checked luggage. You can only bring 3.4 ounces or 100 mL of alcohol on a plane.

Can you drink your own alcohol on a plane?

No, the Federal Aviation Administration prohibits you from drinking your own alcohol on a plane. They only allow you to drink alcohol provided by the airline.

Airlines don’t want to have to deal with drunk passengers or any problems that could arise from that. You don’t want fights breaking out in a small confined space 35,000 feet in the air!

How do you drink alcohol on a plane?

Some airlines will serve alcohol. This is the only way you can drink it on a plane. You can’t drink your own alcohol on a plane, but you can bring it. It just has to be under 3.4 ounces.

Can I bring alcohol on an American Airlines flight?

American Airlines follows the exact TSA guidelines. You can only bring 3.4 ounces of alcohol or less on a plane. They’re allowed in checked baggage if the beverage is between 25% and 70% alcohol and under five liters.

Can I bring alcohol on a United Airlines flight?

As the TSA guidelines state, you can bring 3.4 ounces or 100 mL of alcohol on a United Airlines flight. You’re not allowed to drink alcohol on the plane. But if you wanted to bring some with you, pack it in your checked baggage. You can pack up to five liters that’s between 25% and 70% alcohol.

Can I bring alcohol on a Southwest airlines flight?

You can bring 3.4 ounces or 100 mL of alcohol on a Southwest flight, just like the other major airlines. Southwest also follows the TSA checked baggage rules. You can bring up to 5 liters of alcohol that’s between 48 and 140 proof.

Are you noticing a pattern? Pretty much every major airline follows the TSA guidelines exactly. That being said, it’s still good to go to their specific website. Sometimes airlines have stricter requirements than the TSA, requirements that they don’t mention. You can also go to each airline’s website to see if they serve any alcohol on board. That’s the only way you can drink any on a plane, after all.

Can I bring alcohol on a plane for an international flight?

Yes, the same rules for bringing alcohol on a plane for domestic flights apply to international flights. You can bring 100 mL of alcohol on the plane. In checked baggage, the alcohol must be 24% to 70% concentrated, but you can bring up to 5 liters.

The TSA has a couple of specific requirements for traveling with alcohol on connecting flights/bring it overseas.

If you are bringing alcohol from overseas to the United States for a connecting flight, the bottles must be unopened and sealed securely. Also, you must show proof that you bought the alcohol within the last 48 hours. Hang on to the receipt so you can bring your alcohol home.

Regarding wine or spirits, the TSA doesn’t handle those regulations. Customs and Border Patrol does. They may get suspicious if you’re trying to bring more than a case of alcohol back to the States.

Beyond that, you’ll have to look at your state’s requirements. Every state has different requirements on what types of alcohol you can bring, and how much. So be sure to do your due diligence and conduct some research in advance.

Recap

We hope that this article helped you decide on what you can and can’t pack when it comes to alcohol. Remember, if in doubt, you can pack wine or beer in your checked bags. Even vodka and whiskey is allowed; you just can’t bring anything over 140 proof. And don’t bring too much – 5 liters is the limit!

Good luck and have a great trip!

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