4 clever places to hide your passport while sightseeing

When you’re on vacation and spending the day sightseeing, you should keep your passport with you. Many foreign countries have laws that state that tourists must have identification with them at all times. But keeping your passport safe while sightseeing can be challenging. Here are some clever places to hide your passport while walking around.

1. Inside your hat

If you happen to be in a chilly climate, the inside of your hat can be a safe place to hide your passport. Just make sure it’s the kind of hat that can’t be blown away in a gusty wind. A tight, knit cap is the best hat to wear for storing a passport.

2. Around your neck

For a small investment, you can purchase a plastic case with a ring on it for hiding your passport. Just slip the passport inside the case, and attach the whole thing to a long necklace or chain for your neck. Your passport will be safely tucked up against your chest, inside your shirt. There’s no way anyone can take it without you knowing about it.

3. Inside your scarf

If you are handy with sewing, you can sew a hidden pocket on one side of a scarf. Just open the scarf seam with a seam ripper, sew in a pocket and add a small zipper that’s the same color as the scarf. Now when you sightsee, just wear the scarf around your neck, and your passport will be safely inside it the whole time, without anyone else – including passport thieves – suspecting.

4. In your shoe

If you’re not planning on doing a lot of walking; for instance, if you’re taking a bus or boat tour – you could conceivably store your passport inside your shoe. It won’t be the most comfortable hiding place, but if you’re traveling in a country with high crime, the minor inconvenience will be worth it.

These four clever places for hiding your passport will help you to keep your most valuable traveling possession safe and sound. Even if you lose your wallet, your passport will enable you to get back home to your own country.

Travel safety tips for solo travelers

Have you got the travel bug for trekking off into the world on your own? There’s nothing quite so exhilarating as packing your bags and flying solo, going wherever the wind takes you. However, be warned. There are special safety precautions that even seasoned travelers should take when traveling alone.

Protect your passport

When you got your passport photo taken, it’s not likely you were picturing having your passport stolen while abroad. However, every day, travelers in foreign countries get their passports stolen, leaving them stranded far away from home.

To protect yourself, always keep your passport safe. Consider investing in a passport case with RFID blocking, which will keep savvy criminals from electronically pickpocketing your passport information. Not only that, but your passport will feel a little heavier in your pocket, giving you extra warning if someone tries to lift it.

Maintain sobriety

Part of traveling is enjoying the delectable food and drinks available in far flung places. But if you overindulge, you leave yourself particularly susceptible to cunning criminals who may try to take advantage of your lessened awareness after drinking more than your fair share. By all means, sample the goodness that foreign places have to offer, but as a solo traveler, it’s even more important to maintain your sobriety so you can get back to your hotel safely.

One tip to try is to have a glass of water in between each beer or cocktail. This will reduce the amount of liquid that you’re able to comfortably consume.

Keep in contact with friends and family

It’s fun to take off without telling anyone where you’re going. But if you’re traveling alone, this isn’t a safe option. Confide in at least one person so that if you run into trouble, you’ll have someone who can quickly get to you or lend you a helping hand. Add a layer of protection by giving that person a photocopy of your passport photo. If need be, this will help authorities locate you in a foreign country.

These travel safety tips for solo travelers will help to make your journeys even more enjoyable. You’ll be able to relax, knowing your passport is always safe and sound.

Photo: Travel by Moyan_Brenn licensed under Creative commons 2

5 tips to help you reach your holiday destination on time

Preparing to head out for the holidays? Travel can become a headache very quickly if you haven’t accounted for the necessary variables. Make sure everything goes smoothly and you arrive at your destination on time by keeping these five holiday travel tips in mind.

Plan in advance

A good plan wins out over no plan every time. Even a bad plan wins over having no plans at all! Take the time to think things through a little in advance, and you’ll be far less likely to run into a surprise when it’s time to get on the road.

Pack for every eventuality

The better you can pack to avoid delays, the faster you’ll reach your destination. While it’s impossible to really pack for every eventually, you can at least make sure you’re well-prepared for the likely suspects—flats, messes, hunger, etc.

Consider your best route, not the best route

While an unfamiliar drive through complex terrain may be theoretically faster, and a dizzying mess of flight transfers may look faster and cheaper on paper, you need to think carefully about whether that’s the right route for you. Sometimes discretion wins out over ambition.

Make sure your passport and other paperwork is in order

If you’re crossing a border, make sure you have your passport and any other necessary documentation ready for the trip. The same goes for tickets, baggage claim slips, hotel packages and anything you might need to get to your destination without headaches. Be especially aware of potential delays; if you don’t have your passport in hand already, don’t be confident you’ll have it on time, especially if you’re still waiting to find out whether your passport photos and applications were acceptable.

Stay on top of travel changes

Weather changes, flights get delayed, roads have accidents – there are plenty of things that can change the rules for your trip at the last minute and derail your plans. That’s okay! Just make sure you’re paying attention to relevant news sources and are staying flexible, so you can account for problems and eliminate them ASAP.

These won’t guarantee your arrival on time—nothing can do that—but they’ll greatly increase the odds you get where you’re going without too much delay.

3 reasons people choose online passport photo services over booths

If you’ve been looking into obtaining photos for your passport or the passports of family members, you’re no doubt already quite familiar with the idea of a passport-friendly photo booth. Despite the convenience of such installations, savvy travelers are increasingly leaning upon the benefits of online passport photo services, which allow for self-taken pictures to be assessed and adjusted to meet all relevant standards. Here are a few of the reasons why:

1. Tricky photos

Some photos are simply too finicky to take reliably in a photo booth in a public area. This is especially true if you’re trying to take photos with special considerations for faith, a medical condition, or if you’re taking photos of children or babies. As a child isn’t allowed to have anyone else in the photo, can’t be making too much of an expression, needs to be lined up properly, and can’t have a pacifier, toy, or anything else in place, this is one of the leading reasons for people to prefer online passport photo services. For all of these cases, it’s far easier to take the photo at home, when a good opportunity arises.

2. Reliability

If you take a photo at a booth and submit it, you won’t know of any problems until you receive your rejection. By using a photo service to adjust and submit your photos, you get an extra level of reliability. That means it’s far less likely you’ll find yourself needing to cancel a holiday trip or a cruise due to a surprise passport failure. For many people, this extra safety check is all the reason they need.

3. Convenience

Of course, you don’t need to have any serious reasons to take passport photos at home and use an online service; if it sounds more convenient, that’s because it is. Don’t think an online service is a tool only for emergencies. Plenty of people choose to skip the booth simply because they don’t want to go through the hassle of having to find one. It’s that simple.

If you want to ensure your passport pictures make the grade, then why not use Paspic like lots of other savvy travelers?

3 common sources of holiday travel headaches

Thinking about traveling for the holidays? Make sure everything goes smoothly by eliminating your holiday travel headaches BEFORE they arise. These three common sources of woe aren’t the only things that can go wrong while traveling, but they’re very common sources of trouble and are very easily dealt with if you plan in advance.

Poor packing

Whether it’s a suitcase full of flight contraband, inadequate laundry for the trip, forgotten toiletries, or broken electronics, poor packing can turn holiday cheer sour in a hurry. Take the time to read up on both general packing tips for safe and effective packing and tips specific to your travel route, to avoid various headaches with airport security, customs, and gatekeepers. You might be surprised by what can’t travel in a cargo hold or cross national borders legally.

Passport woes

One that takes many people traveling across national borders by surprise, passport headaches can become holiday-ruining nightmares if you don’t plan ahead. Perhaps the most important tip for dealing with passports in general would be to read up on all the finicky details. Whether it’s the long list of minor imperfections that can render your passport photos unacceptable or the strict rules governing paperwork, it’s easy to mess up at any stage if you don’t do your homework, but trivial to keep up with it all if you do. Read up, use a reliable passport photo service, and you’ll be fine.

Failure to keep tabs on travel changes

Make sure you have a reliable source of notifications for your travel route. If your plane, train, or bus is going to be delayed, you need to know immediately. If your driving route is closed due to an accident, dangerous due to a storm, or frozen solid – you need to know immediately. The better you can stay informed of conditions along your route, the faster you’ll be able to make adjustments and get back on track.

The holidays are supposed to be fun, so don’t let holiday travel become an annual nightmare you dread. Take your time, plan right, and make the whole thing move along smoothly.

I lost my passport traveling! What do I do?

There is no worse feeling while traveling abroad than discovering your passport isn’t where you left it. If you don’t find it after digging through all your portable belongings, there is a good chance it is either lost or stolen. Now, this is a good time to remind you to always have a photocopy of your passport stuffed safely away in another area of your luggage. With that said, here are the steps you need to follow should you no longer have your passport.

Contact the Embassy

First, you need to contact the U.S. embassy in the country you are in. You may need to put some travel on hold as exiting the country you’re in is likely not a possibility. When you contact the embassy, you need to tell them your passport is lost or stolen. While talking with the consular, you need to inform them if you were directly involved in a crime (is there a police report?) or if the passport is simply misplaced. You’ll also need to tell them when you’re planning on exiting the country. This is important as the embassy can issue either a full passport or an emergency passport.

Take a new passport photo

You’ll need to head out to the embassy. Thankfully, this is easier to do in most countries as there is a U.S. embassy in most large cities. Take passport photos before going. You’ll be able to find passport photo locations at most photo or travel centers. Again, it is a good idea to have backup passport photos with you while traveling internationally.

Complete the documentation

When you visit the embassy, you’ll need to fill out a statement regarding what happened to your previous passport. You’ll also need to fill out an application for a new passport. During this application, you need the passport photos, a form of ID (your driver’s license works), travel itinerary (your return plane ticket works) and evidence you are a U.S. citizen. This is where having the photocopy of the passport or birth certificate helps. In a pinch, your driver’s license may suffice.

Pay and wait

You’ll need to the $140 fee for a new passport. You’ll also need to wait a few days for the new passport to be issued. The emergency passport will be issued in 24 hours, but that only lets you get into the U.S. If you can, wait the few days for the new passport.

Passports for internationally adopted children

Over the years, US families have had the interest of adopting children from different countries around the world. It is a good way to help families to grow, but because of child trafficking that has hit the world, there are legal procedures that must be followed for a child passport to be issued. Obtaining passports, citizenship, and visas are some of the things the new parents should ensure the adopted child has. So as the child can be eligible for a passport, some criteria should be followed because the children were not born in the United States.

Obtaining citizenship

So that the child can be issued with a passport, citizenship must be proofed for the child who is adopted. There are countries which participate in Hague convention, and if a child is adopted from such countries then obtaining citizenship can be easy. The admission of the children in the country is under IH-4 visa or IH-3 visa, whereby IH-4 visa is for children adopted in the U.S while IH-3 visa is for those that are adopted in their country. As long as they have the visa, it is lawful.

The process of application

If the child is from a country not involved in the Hague Convention, there are some forms which should be filled so that they can be granted the visas. Once the documentation is through, for them to obtain a passport, it is the same process as for an American child. Some of the relevant documents include certificate of citizenship of the child; a certificate of adoption; photographs of the parents; passport photo; and consent from both parents. Initially, the application must be submitted manually by those concerned, since there is legislation that does not allow children who are under the age of 16 years to renew their passport through mailing.

A DS-11 form must also be filled, and the submission should be through a legal and approved passport office. Though one may feel that obtaining a passport for children who have been adopted internationally is a complicated process, it is not. All you need is to be thorough with the course of getting citizenship, and you follow suits just like the other citizens. The process can be hastened by working with a passport office.