When we travel the one document I take the very best care of is our passports. I have a special wallet that I keep them in and never ever hand them over to the kids. As we all know they are the ‘key to the world’, and not so easy to replace – especially when you are outside of your home county. A Chinese family learned this last week when their pre-schooler got a hold of his dad’s passport – while they were travelling. The child proceeded to add some extra flair to the document including drawings of the rest of the family, their pets and dad got a new do, a beard and a lip enhancement.
The finished product is completely unledgable document, which means the family will have to stay in the country while they are able to issued a second one.
The distraught reportedly dad posted an image of the defaced passport on weibo.com. Many quickly called the image a hoax after it was pointed out how consistent the writing was – for a 4-year-old. It was also noted that Chinese passports have a thin laminate over them for easy scanning that make it difficult for a drawing of this nature without pressing very hard on the paper, which there is no evidence of.
Regardless of the image’s validity it serves as a reminder to parents that kids may not be aware of how precious these documents are. They are your lifeline when you are outside of your country.
Here are some tips we use while travelling to keep our passports safe.
- Keep them together. Even if you are travelling with teens, always have one person hold onto the passports. This makes it easy to quickly to do a count every so often to ensure you still have them all.
- Once you arrive at your destination lock your passports up in the room safe or hide them in a very good spot. The room safe is always the number one spot to store important documents, but if there isn’t one you’ll need to get creative. Hint: Your sock drawer is not an option.
- Always keep a photocopy of your family’s passports with you. I keep ours in a different location than where we store the originals.
- Before you leave home copy down the consulate’s information in the event one of your passport’s go missing. Know what you need to do before you get there. When I renew our passports the office gives me a book that lists all of the offices all over the world. I carry that in my wallet when we travel.