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And now for something completely different ...


MikeNJ1109

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... of maybe not! The passport issue -- no, not whether you need one on a cruise, but whether you should take it with you (for example) when off the ship on excursions -- has been bantered about ad nauseum. The following is an article that appears on CNN.Com, and wanted to share it with the group. --- Michael

 

 

By Steve Almasy

CNN

(CNN) -- Richard Deitsch struggled through several days of denial before facing the fact that he was thousands of miles from home and he had no idea where his passport was.

 

The Sports Illustrated reporter was covering the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, where he should have been having the time of his life. But his emotions were all over the place -- and none of them were good. His passport, he assumed, had fallen out of his backpack.

 

"When I realized it was missing, I went through a number of stages -- panic, fear, anger, and finally, acceptance," he wrote while enjoying a recent vacation in Russia. "I looked for three days in every possible spot before I finally admitted to myself it was gone."

 

Deitsch's bureaucratic nightmare reached a low point when he found himself inside a police station telling his story to five police officials who spoke no English. "I was a wreck," he wrote later in a Sports Illustrated piece.

 

He had brought his own translator, an SI China reporter whom Deitsch credited with negotiating through the red tape and eventually saving his entire assignment.

 

Fortunately for Deitsch, he had prepared well for such an emergency.

 

The best thing Deitsch did, said travel experts, was to make several copies of his passport and work visa before departing for China. As a result, he had a replacement passport in his hands within a few days after he reported it missing.

 

Experts seem to come from two schools of thought on how to protect a passport. Some prefer to lock the document away once they arrive in a destination, while others say keeping the passport with you is the best way to safeguard it.

 

Whatever option you choose, the bottom line is, if you lose your passport you must be able to prove your identity and citizenship to the U.S. government. The best way to do it is to have a copy of your passport handy.

 

Deitsch's experience has prompted him to become "hyper-vigilant" about his passport, he wrote. He usually chooses to lock the document in a safe during his travels, rarely carrying his passport on him.

 

"And when I do, I find myself grabbing the front of my pants-pocket every couple of minutes to make sure that it remains where it should," he wrote.

 

Once it's clear your passport is lost, bring your passport copy and any other traveling or ID-related paperwork to the nearest embassy or consulate during business hours.

 

Be prepared to spend at least four hours waiting in line, filling out forms and answering questions from officials.

 

If you didn't bring extra ID photos with you on your trip, have some taken before heading to the embassy or consulate. Make sure the photos are cropped to the correct size for your country's passport.

 

If you have no paperwork, take someone in your traveling party with you. They will have to vouch for you.

 

U.S. citizens who are traveling alone and have no other way to prove their identification will be allowed to call "family, friends or associates" in the United States to confirm their identity, according to the U.S. State Department Web site.

 

Laura Kidder, editorial director of Fodor's travel guides, suggested making color copies of the passport's data page and sticking them inside your luggage; you can scan them into a computer and e-mail them to yourself; or you can use an online document storage company.

 

"There's one [online company] that is particularly geared for passport and travel documents," Kidder said. She recommends the Australian Web site http://www.passportsupport.com, which costs about $15 Australian per year.

 

"This is the safest way to do it, which is more secure than you e-mailing it to yourself," said Kidder. Storing your passport data on a server offers higher security, she said, because the data is encrypted. In addition to passport documents, such services also will safely store data for tickets, drivers licenses, medical papers and lists of critical contacts.

 

Passportsupport.com users are asked to scan their documents in jpg files. Users can then upload these files to the passportsupport.com server with the Web site's interface.

 

Kidder said she keeps copies of her documents in her luggage when traveling, and her passport secure in the hotel -- either in a self-service safe in the hotel room or a safe operated by the front desk.

 

Rather than safes, Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, said he prefers to hold his passport himself.

 

Siciliano said he always carries his passport (and other valuables) on him, even when he heads down to a beach to relax with his laptop. He says if you plan to go in the water, know that someone is waiting to steal your stuff. Invest in portable alarms and don't lose sight of your possessions.

 

Siciliano said locking passports in a room safe leaves you open to the possibility of a forgotten combination.

 

In those cases, a hotel will send someone to the room who can unlock the safe.

 

Devices that unlock room safes can easily be bought online, Siciliano said.

 

It's a good example of how many people can access your room and safe if they want to go through your stuff.

 

"There are people out there that are focusing on you not paying attention, on you being trusting, you being naive," he says. "You're putting your faith and trust in someone who might have problems. People are flawed."

 

The best way to protect yourself is to buy a passport holder for $10-$20 and always keep it on you, Siciliano said. Wear it under a shirt and pull it out only if needed. Never put it in a backpack or a purse.

 

Experts said preparation is most important; you need to do your research and have multiple copies of everything.

 

"I always have backup for my backup," Siciliano said.

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Thank you! Best article I have read on the subject, and now I'm headed to buy 2 passport holders. We always carry ours with us, but I don't want to carry mine in my backpack any longer, and I'll try to convince my DH to move his out of his pants/jacket pocket.

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It seems like carrying a color copy of your passport with you would be sufficient to get a new passport if you were left behind, right? I realize that means leaving your passport safely onboard the ship. This article makes you think that those safes are not really "safe." Anyone heard of the onboard safes being broken into?

 

I would much rather carry a copy and leave mine onboard, as long as it is truly secure.

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On our cruise to Alaska a few years back I took my passport into Skagway (I keep it in a security holder around my waist inside my jeans). My mom did not take her passport, only a copy.

 

Well, we took the White Pass Railroad and did not think about it going up into Fraser, British Columbia. We got off the train to use the restroom. A guard asked to see our ID and when my mom only had a copy he went ballistic. He berated her in front of everybody and she feared that he would not let her go. She was practically in tears. So now she always takes her passport, when it is not being held by the cruiseline (as they do sometimes).

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We made copies of our passports and drivers licences and kept them in the safe in our cabin. When we were in port, we took our original passports with us. they never left our sight. If we went to a beach, my husband went swimming, then I did.

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Since reading this thread, I'm wondering if I should rethink my plans. After seeing a thread on the topic about a month ago, I found a purse with strap just the right length to wear under my shoulder. It has a convenient place to grab so I'll be wearing it on my shoulder and holding it with my hand. I added a short strap that I then planned to attach to my belt loop. The article makes it sound like even these precautions are insufficient. Now I'm wondering if I should buy one of those under-the-clothes holders also.

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What confuses me is a "color" copy. The only thing a copy is good for is to (hopefully) expedite the replacement of the original. So why do so many insist on a color copy? Black and white, or color. Neither is legal proof of anything.

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we always lock our passports in a safe...on the ship or in foreign countries, in the hotel's most secure safe even if it's a 'pay' deal. we carry really good color copies of the front page cover and first page....just open the cover and plunk the thing down on a copy machine. now that they are being issued, we will also carry our passport cards. we have never had a problem doing it this way. we, of course, always have them [securely] at the ready when boarding or disembarking or entering/leaving countries at borders' immigration check points. we carry them in carriers that we can secure around our necks or to a belt loop that also hold our boarding passes, enough cash for tips/porters/luggage carts/snacks, and any other documents like customs forms that we will require. makes it easy with everything organized especially when we're tired and we don't have to go rummaging through anything which might result in items being dropped or pickpockets getting unwise ideas.:)

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... of maybe not! The passport issue -- no, not whether you need one on a cruise, but whether you should take it with you (for example) when off the ship on excursions -- has been bantered about ad nauseum. The following is an article that appears on CNN.Com, and wanted to share it with the group. --- Michael

 

 

By Steve Almasy

CNN

(CNN) -- Richard Deitsch struggled through several days of denial before facing the fact that he was thousands of miles from home and he had no idea where his passport was.

 

The Sports Illustrated reporter was covering the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, where he should have been having the time of his life. But his emotions were all over the place -- and none of them were good. His passport, he assumed, had fallen out of his backpack.

 

"When I realized it was missing, I went through a number of stages -- panic, fear, anger, and finally, acceptance," he wrote while enjoying a recent vacation in Russia. "I looked for three days in every possible spot before I finally admitted to myself it was gone."

 

Deitsch's bureaucratic nightmare reached a low point when he found himself inside a police station telling his story to five police officials who spoke no English. "I was a wreck," he wrote later in a Sports Illustrated piece.

 

He had brought his own translator, an SI China reporter whom Deitsch credited with negotiating through the red tape and eventually saving his entire assignment.

 

Fortunately for Deitsch, he had prepared well for such an emergency.

 

The best thing Deitsch did, said travel experts, was to make several copies of his passport and work visa before departing for China. As a result, he had a replacement passport in his hands within a few days after he reported it missing.

 

Experts seem to come from two schools of thought on how to protect a passport. Some prefer to lock the document away once they arrive in a destination, while others say keeping the passport with you is the best way to safeguard it.

 

Whatever option you choose, the bottom line is, if you lose your passport you must be able to prove your identity and citizenship to the U.S. government. The best way to do it is to have a copy of your passport handy.

 

Deitsch's experience has prompted him to become "hyper-vigilant" about his passport, he wrote. He usually chooses to lock the document in a safe during his travels, rarely carrying his passport on him.

 

"And when I do, I find myself grabbing the front of my pants-pocket every couple of minutes to make sure that it remains where it should," he wrote.

 

Once it's clear your passport is lost, bring your passport copy and any other traveling or ID-related paperwork to the nearest embassy or consulate during business hours.

 

Be prepared to spend at least four hours waiting in line, filling out forms and answering questions from officials.

 

If you didn't bring extra ID photos with you on your trip, have some taken before heading to the embassy or consulate. Make sure the photos are cropped to the correct size for your country's passport.

 

If you have no paperwork, take someone in your traveling party with you. They will have to vouch for you.

 

U.S. citizens who are traveling alone and have no other way to prove their identification will be allowed to call "family, friends or associates" in the United States to confirm their identity, according to the U.S. State Department Web site.

 

Laura Kidder, editorial director of Fodor's travel guides, suggested making color copies of the passport's data page and sticking them inside your luggage; you can scan them into a computer and e-mail them to yourself; or you can use an online document storage company.

 

"There's one [online company] that is particularly geared for passport and travel documents," Kidder said. She recommends the Australian Web site http://www.passportsupport.com, which costs about $15 Australian per year.

 

"This is the safest way to do it, which is more secure than you e-mailing it to yourself," said Kidder. Storing your passport data on a server offers higher security, she said, because the data is encrypted. In addition to passport documents, such services also will safely store data for tickets, drivers licenses, medical papers and lists of critical contacts.

 

Passportsupport.com users are asked to scan their documents in jpg files. Users can then upload these files to the passportsupport.com server with the Web site's interface.

 

Kidder said she keeps copies of her documents in her luggage when traveling, and her passport secure in the hotel -- either in a self-service safe in the hotel room or a safe operated by the front desk.

 

Rather than safes, Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, said he prefers to hold his passport himself.

 

Siciliano said he always carries his passport (and other valuables) on him, even when he heads down to a beach to relax with his laptop. He says if you plan to go in the water, know that someone is waiting to steal your stuff. Invest in portable alarms and don't lose sight of your possessions.

 

Siciliano said locking passports in a room safe leaves you open to the possibility of a forgotten combination.

 

In those cases, a hotel will send someone to the room who can unlock the safe.

 

Devices that unlock room safes can easily be bought online, Siciliano said.

 

It's a good example of how many people can access your room and safe if they want to go through your stuff.

 

"There are people out there that are focusing on you not paying attention, on you being trusting, you being naive," he says. "You're putting your faith and trust in someone who might have problems. People are flawed."

 

The best way to protect yourself is to buy a passport holder for $10-$20 and always keep it on you, Siciliano said. Wear it under a shirt and pull it out only if needed. Never put it in a backpack or a purse.

 

Experts said preparation is most important; you need to do your research and have multiple copies of everything.

 

"I always have backup for my backup," Siciliano said.

 

Great resource, Michael. Thanks.

 

DT

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... suggested making color copies of the passport's data page and sticking them inside your luggage; you can scan them into a computer and e-mail them to yourself; or you can use an online document storage company.

Going to scan it, then put it into an email, but NOT EMAIL IT. Just save the email as a draft. That way it is always there when ever you need it. In the 'draft' folder seems to put it less into 'cyberspace.'

 

Rich

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What confuses me is a "color" copy. The only thing a copy is good for is to (hopefully) expedite the replacement of the original. So why do so many insist on a color copy? Black and white, or color. Neither is legal proof of anything.

 

A color copy will show much more detail on your photo. This makes it much easier for the agency to verify who you are and replace your passport.

 

I would always carry my passport. What if I missed the boat? I wouldn't want to wait for a replacment to be issued before I could fly and catch up with the boat.

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When we cruise, we put our passports in the safe in the stateroom and do not touch them unless we are told by the ship that we will need them for a specific port. Now all of this may change this coming June or whenever it is, but until it does, all we take with us when we go ashore is our drivers licence and a credit card and some cash. We don't even take our wallets.

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When we cruise, we put our passports in the safe in the stateroom and do not touch them unless we are told by the ship that we will need them for a specific port. Now all of this may change this coming June or whenever it is, but until it does, all we take with us when we go ashore is our drivers licence and a credit card and some cash. We don't even take our wallets.

 

 

The changes that will take place in June affect US entry requirements. Each country has its own laws and just because the US is changing its requirements doesn't mean any other country is.

 

If you have to bring your passport ashore, the cruise line will tell you.

 

By the way, I thoroughly agree with taking nothing more than some cash, a credit card and ID such as a drivers license. The less you take, the less there is to lose or have stolen.

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The reason for carrying your passport is in case of emergency where you miss the boat. If you have your passport and a credit card, you can immediately fly to the next port or fly home. If you don't have your passport, you'll be cooling your heels at the nearest US embassy for a few days. Take the passport and a copy hidden in your bags or on your person. Leave another copy in the room safe.

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The reason for carrying your passport is in case of emergency where you miss the boat. If you have your passport and a credit card, you can immediately fly to the next port or fly home. If you don't have your passport, you'll be cooling your heels at the nearest US embassy for a few days. Take the passport and a copy hidden in your bags or on your person. Leave another copy in the room safe.

 

 

If I had to venture a guess, I'd say that the number of people who either lose their documents or have them stolen while ashore far exceeds the number of people who miss the ship's departure.

 

I don't have any data to back it up, but it's my gut feeling from many years of travel and having owned a travel agency.

 

I always recommended clients carry nothing more than a copy of their passport if the actual document was not required by local authorities.

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Going to scan it, then put it into an email, but NOT EMAIL IT. Just save the email as a draft. That way it is always there when ever you need it. In the 'draft' folder seems to put it less into 'cyberspace.'

 

Rich

That only works if you have access to your computer. I have an online back up service and I have a scanned copy of my passport in there. I also keep a copy of it and my DH's in my suitcase and in his suitcase. I also leave a copy of it with someone at home in case all is lost and I can have them send it to me. I also leave a copy of my credit card at home with someone.

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That only works if you have access to your computer. I have an online back up service and I have a scanned copy of my passport in there. I also keep a copy of it and my DH's in my suitcase and in his suitcase. I also leave a copy of it with someone at home in case all is lost and I can have them send it to me. I also leave a copy of my credit card at home with someone.

 

I think the person was referring to a web based email account. I have SENT a copy of our stuff to an online account that I do not use much and it sits in a separate folder there. Anywhere in the world with a computer and I can get to it.

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