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Travel Safety in Italy: Your Passport

Intrepid travelers are fond of saying that as long as you’ve got your passport, you can get whatever else you need along the way. There may be other things you’d rather not forget when you’re packing, but there’s more than a little truth to this statement – which is why losing your passport can be such a nightmare.
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The best thing you can do with your passport when you’re traveling is to keep it in a safe place that isn’t your purse or daybag. If there’s a safe in your hotel room, that’s a good option, and your money belt is another option if you aren’t comfortable with the security level of the safe. That’s true pretty much regardless of where you go in the world – but in Italy, you might be surprised to be asked for your passport at every hotel, and not just the airport.

In Italy, the hotels are required to register guests with the local authorities, which they do via your passport information. They will collect your passport when you check in, sometimes keeping it for 24 hours before returning it to you. There’s no reason to be alarmed by this – you’ll get your passport back, it’s not being stolen, and nothing is untoward about the process. Just be sure to put your passport in your hotel safe or money belt when you get it back.
Even if you’re taking all the necessary precautions with your passport, it’s still a good idea to be prepared for a “just in case” scenario. Before leaving home, scan the photo/signature page of your passport and email it to yourself (to an account you can access from anywhere via the web). Make a couple copies of the scanned page – tuck one into a hidden part of your carry-on bag (away from the actual passport), and leave one at home with a trusted friend or family member you’d be able to contact if necessary.
If you lose your passport (or it’s stolen) while you’re in Italy, you’ll need to take one of those photocopies to the nearest embassy for your home country in order to get a temporary replacement passport issued. You can do this without the photocopy, but it’s a far longer and more challenging process – things go much more smoothly if you have a photocopy of the photo/signature page.

Some of the Major Foreign Embassies & Consulates in Italy

photo by swimparallel