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On most shore excursions, you can leave your passport on the ship and bring a photocopy (paper or digital) with you.

JD Lasica/Special to Cruiseable

On most shore excursions, you can leave your passport on the ship and bring a photocopy (paper or digital) with you.

6 tips to keep your passport safe when taking a cruise

How to safeguard your most valuable document while traveling abroad

Your passport — your ticket into magical foreign lands and your proof of identification. The freedom that comes with owning a passport is incredible, but lose it while exploring one of those magical foreign lands and you could find yourself in a situation that is not only incredibly inconvenient, but one that could end up costing you a small fortune.

In the video below, globe-hopping Sonia of Sonia's Travels has some quick tips on how you can protect your passport when traveling abroad.


I've been keeping my own little list of advice on how to ensure your passport is kept safe at all times when traveling abroad on a cruise. I'd love to hear your tips too! 

Here are my big 6 tips for safeguarding your passport while traveling:


Never put your passport or any other important items like credit cards in the back pocket of your pants or shorts. This is the first place a pickpocket will look and if they find it, you probably won’t know anything about it until several hours later.


 Don’t keep your passport stored in an outer pocket on your bag or backpack. If you do keep it in your bag ensure it is in a hidden, inside compartment and make sure main zip on your bag is closed. An open bag is an open invitation and it defeats the point of hiding your valuables in the first place.


If you don’t need to take your passport ashore, then don’t! Leave it locked securely in your safe within your stateroom. There is no point risking loss or theft.


Where possible, hide your passport on your immediate person. In some countries passports are hot property and are worth a small fortune on the black market. Usually these are also the countries in which you will face the biggest problems should your passport be lost or stolen. My advice: Hide it on your body. You can buy discreet travel underwear, the ideal option for hiding important documents, or you could just hide it in a hidden money belt under your clothes. So long as it's on your body and out of sight.

One option is to photograph you passport I.D. page with your mobile phone, bring your smartphone & leave the passport on the ship

Most of the time you will not need to show your passport when going ashore, however, it is still sensible to take some form of identification with you and I suggest bringing a photocopy of your original passport. You may be stopped by a police officer or need to show proof of I.D. when boarding a train, and a photocopy of your passport will work perfectly. If you'd prefer, you could always memorize your passport number and expiration date as these too should be accepted if accompanied by a photo I.D. card. Another option is to photograph your passport I.D. page with your phone or digital camera and then email it to yourself. This way you don’t need to carry extra documents and the image will always be easily accessible.


If you venture ashore independently and use a local bus or train service then be sure to remove all documents and cash from your bag if you plan on using the luggage compartments. Never EVER leave your passport unattended!

Safeguarding your most valuable document

The above tips should help keep your passport and other belongings safe when ashore, but please always remember — if you don’t need it then leave it on board!

Should something go wrong and you find yourself without your passport, then you must contact the local police immediately followed by your cruise ship. It is vitally important to contact the local police as you will need the crime reference details to pass on to your embassy. Once you have these details, contact the local embassy or consulate and complete any paperwork promptly. Your passport will then be cancelled and provisions made to issue you with an emergency passport to get you back home — hopefully before your ship sails!

Your take

How about you? Have you ever lost your passport abroad? What tips do you have for keeping your passport safe? 

Updated from an earlier post. See anything wrong? What did we overlook? Be a co-creator!

Danielle Fear
Travel writer and social media professional based in Newcastle, UK. I've been cruising since since 2007. Follow me on Twitter at @CruiseMiss.