August 21, 2012

Stick it where the sun don't shine

Not your attitude, your passport. 

If you’ve ever traveled outside the country, you’ve probably heard the advice to keep your passport and other valuables underneath your clothes.  Well, it’s pretty dadgum good advice.  

I followed this advice almost too religiously for years.  I’d stash my passport belt underneath my clothes, then I’d have to squirm and dig inside my own pants at each airport as I went through customs.  The customs agent would stare at me with an annoyed look as I went fishing in my own underwear for my passport.  And then I could never get the belt to fit back down there correctly.  

Is that your passport, or are you happy to see me?
I finally stopped keeping my passport in my clothes while navigating airports.  With all the security at airports across the world these days, I’m not terribly concerned about my purse or bag being stolen at most major airports.  I’m more concerned with not pissing off the lovely men and women that hold the power to let me into their home country.

A few years ago, I decided I was quite the experienced and savvy traveler, so I got lax about keeping my passport in my clothes at all.  I’d never had anything stolen, and I knew most of the tricks that pickpockets could try on me.  Sure, I’d tuck it away in some situations, but hey, I had this traveling thing down.  

And then last year, I had my ass handed to me in India.  My stomach dropped as the gypsy woman’s hand rifled through my purse.  At least all that travel had educated me to the point that I knew what was happening - she was nabbing my wallet.  That, and the travel gods had my back.  I was actually able to steal my own wallet back.  Also, that just happened to be one of the days that my passport was indeed tucked safely underneath my clothes.

Lax traveler no more.  I’m going to Chile next month, and guess where my passport is going to live?  You got it - it’s going to get reeeaaally cozy with my underwear.  

Remember kids, if someone has to sexually assault you to get to your passport, then it’s in the right place.