Protecting the most valuable thing you travel with- your passport
Replacing a lost or stolen passport can ruin anyone’s travel. Here are things you can do to protect your passport before, during and after you travel.
Before you go
Get it covered. Buy one that’s nondescript, even one with another country's name on it. And get one with RFID protection build it to prevent hackers from accessing it.
Make a copy of just your front page and get it laminated. When someone asks you for your passport, other than at the airport, passport control or border crossings so places like the hotel clerk, just give them your laminated card.
If you have a Visa ahead of time, make a copy and keep it on your phone. This way you can prove you are in that country legally if stopped.
Leave a scanned version or a photo of your passport and visa with a trusted friend or relative back home as an extra back up.
Register with the Step Program - US State Department every time you leave the country. Take a photo of the location, phone number of the US embassy and consulate in the countries you will be traveling to and keep it on your phone.
While you are there
Keep your original passport in your money belt or hotel safe. Carry around your laminated copy.
Did you get a Visa at the airport? Take a picture of it and keep it on your phone once you have it.
Don’t store your passport in your pants pocket. In the confusing of airports put your passport away in a safe place right away to avoid leaving it behind or be an easy target for a thief. A money belt or inside your bra is a great place.
In some countries you need to be extra wary. If someone who appears to be official (i.e., in a police uniform or some other official-looking outfit) stops you on the street for no reason and asks for your passport, do whatever you can to not to hand it over. Pretend you don’t speak the language. Hand them the laminated copy. Tell them your passport is back at the hotel. Do not pull out your passport until you are in a public place and feel afe. The truth is that if you encounter a real police officer with a real reason to see your passport, he shouldn’t have a problem taking you to a nearby police station and walking with you to your hotel to retrieve it. In both locations, if you can manage it, pull your passport out only when you are in sight of a group of people.
If your passport is lost or stolen go to the nearest US embassy or consulate. You’ll know where that is because you already have it on your phone.
After you come home
Keep your passport in a safe, dry place. Don’t lose it!
Keep it current. You should renew your passport when its about 6 months from expiring. Some countries wont accept a passport that’s less than 6 months from expiration.