With summer now in full swing, many people are jetting off on their holidays. Most holidaymakers enjoy trouble-free trips. However valuable holiday time and money can be lost if a passport is lost or stolen as you may need to report the theft to the police, and be issued with an emergency travel document by the local consulate. To reduce passport theft, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has launched a campaign to remind people to be #PassportAware on holiday and keep their passport safe from thieves.
Top tips for keeping your passport safe
To help make the public aware of how thieves steal passports, the FCO has teamed up with stealth crime expert James Freedman to produce short films showing some of the most common techniques, together with crime prevention advice to help you minimise the risk of having your passport stolen while on holiday abroad. You can watch the videos on the FCO's Travel YouTube channel.
The FCO has produced its top tips to help you keep your passport safe:
Be aware of your surroundings and be wary of strangers who take an unusual amount of interest in you.
Lock your passport in a safe if you have access to one, or if you are required to keep it with you, ensure its location is not visible.
Thieves also target hire cars, as they anticipate that holiday makers will leave valuable items such as passports in their hire cars. You can take simple measures, such as leaving your passport in your hotel safe, or keep it with you in a secure pocket, to avoid losing your passport to thieves.
Make two photocopies of your passport – leave one with friends or family and take the second with you, or store an electronic copy securely. Where permitted, use your photocopy as alternative ID, for example when going out at night.
James Freedman, stealth crime expert, said: “Think about your passport and valuables: if you don’t need them, leave them in the hotel safe instead. Take only what you need and keep valuables in a secure pocket. Bag, purses and cases should never leave your line of sight. Be aware of anyone getting too close and don’t draw attention to your belongings by patting your pockets or constantly checking on them.”
You can find more information on staying safe whilst on holiday abroad by visiting the FCO's Travel Aware website, and keep up-to-date with the latest travel advice by signing up to the FCO Travel Facebook page and Twitter feed.