Passport Wallet?

My wife and I will be traveling to Europe for the first time in 15+ years in March. Most of our time will be spent in Italy with a few days in Germany to cap off the trip.

I was curious as to your thoughts on getting a passport wallet or something similar to have your passport/ID (Global Entry card), credit cards, and cash all in one place. Is it too risky to keep all of these items together in case of the wallet getting lost or stolen? I don’t want to be without something I possibly need at all times, yet a bit nervous that they are all kept together. Am I being too paranoid, or is this a good way to travel overseas?

Risk aside, many passport check points will ask that you remove the passport from the carrier. My wife gave me a nice leather one for the holidays and I ended up having to remove it not every time, but enough to make it a bit of a hassle.

Good point. I did not think of the hassle it may cause. Is it important to carry around your passport as ID, or will something like a drivers license be sufficient? Sorry for the stupid questions.

A hotel in Europe will take and hold your passport. So when you are in country in a hotel, you won’t need to carry it. I always have a digital copy of my passport hidden in the cloud just in case.

I’ve not given my passport to a hotel to hold in the last decade.

I just had to give mine to a hotel in Italy last Fall. Your results may vary.

Echoing the comments about passports, as the hotel will take your passport, scan/photocopy it and if you need it you’ll need to ask for it - typically the next day is fine, but they always seemed reluctant to simply take a copy and return it whilst checking in.

If hitting the top tourist destinations, Rome, Venice, Florence, Pisa etc. or places like Naples/Palermo, then it is worth extra vigilance against theft, Be especially wary going through these train stations and in places where large numbers of transient visitors pass by e.g. tourist hotspots, especially when it is bustling busy. Conversely in quieter & less touristy locations, there is less cause for caution.

Some travellers swear by an under-shirt ‘money belt’. Slightly awkward / uncomfortable, but should give peace of mind.

Most of the places I go to in Italy avoid the perils of the major tourist hot-spots, so I’ve felt pretty confident treating money and my wallet no different to at home. On the very rare occasions I’ve felt a little twitchy, I’ve either left money in a hotel / apartment safe, or kept the majority of my money separate, whilst keeping ‘readies’ in a more convenient / natural location e.g. a trouser pocket. I’ve never been pickpocketed in Italy, nor have I seen it happen, but I have heard of it in the locations mentioned above.

As well as money, have some care over sign-posting yourself as ‘rich/easy pickings’. Likewise beware of scenarios where your valuables are in your bag but out of sight. Handbags over the back of a chair or smaller bags stashed at the end of a train carriage are examples that might prove enticing. We do always try to ensure that both of us have at least €20 on us, as should the worst ever happen, at least one of us has the means to get us back to the apartment/hotel.

One useful tip. It’s very natural to pat your wallet just to check it’s still there. Apparently this is quite a useful signpost to the pickpockets! If you’re going to do so, be subtle!

Slowtrav had some useful hints / good discussions a while back, so worth a search there.

Finally… hope you have a great trip to Italy. It is a place we return ~ once a year, and it really does reward return visits. There may be a temptation to try to see ‘everything’, but that’s impossible. Take your time to enjoy what you do see and anything you can’t fit in is merely an enticement to return.


Seeing this less and less. If they ask, they’all take a photocopy.

I’ve always carried a money belt when in busy tourist areas. It can be a bit of a hassle, but the peace of mind is easily worth the extra hassle. Visions of being stranded abroad and having to deal with stolen credit cards/ID… No thanks.

Thank you very much for all of the feedback provided. I didn’t realize that some hotels would even hold your passport during your stay. Since it sounds like I don’t need to have it on me while walking around cities, etc., I will probably leave it separate from my wallet. Hopefully, the hotels we book will have safes in the rooms.

I have also considered the money belt option, and may still decide to go that route before the trip. Currently, I carry a fairly compact wallet that fits well and deep within the front pockets of my pants, so I feel pretty good about that option for now.

Hi Nick
The passport thing stems from an archaic Italian law, whereby every visitor had to register with the local police when they arrived. The hotels rather than allowing this to impinge on people’s holidays, would themselves take the passports and register the visitors with the police.

Unless it has been repealed, I believe the law to still apply in theory, though the police would probably give you a strange look if you turned up at the local police station to register fro your holiday.


Ian, I thought you were already well known by the police in Italy. [snort.gif] [wow.gif]

Never had my passport held by a hotel in Europe including Italy. I have had them make a copy. I would never carry it with me when out and about as there is no reason to have it. I leave it in the safe.


I put my license, cash, and credit cards in my front pocket when out and about.

Passports stay in the hotel.

And yes, I’ve had my passport held by hotels in a number of different counties. Rare now a days.

I can’t remember the last time a hotel kept my passport. Most simply look at it, maybe scan it, perhaps might take a copy at most.

I leave passport, extra credit cards, excess cash, etc…in my hotel safe. I take 1 credit card and enough cash for 1 day and fold it in half and stuff it in my front pocket. That’s it. I follow the maxim “don’t take it with you unless you can live without it when you get back”.

Oh, btw, I never take my wallet when I travel abroad either. I literally fold cash around a credit card and stuff it in my front pocket. I value my wallet itself more than the cash they might steal.

Refer to the tread inquiring about carrying a passport on you at all times- there`s more feedback as to what some do.


Only if they hang out in gastronomie, enoteche, gelaterie etc… in which case we’re probably on first name terms blush

No point in carrying your Global Entry Card, it’s electronic, they don’t ask to see it.