Are Passport Covers Worthwhile Or Just A Waste Of Money?

Dealing with your passport can be a bit of a pain. You worry about whether it remains valid if it still has your maiden name on it, if you should get rid of old passports, and how close to expiration the ID card can be for entering each country you plan to travel to. Given all the hassles that come with a passport, you want to take care of it once you have it in your possession. After all, it will likely stay with you for a full decade. Enter the passport cover.


Some travelers turn to passport covers to avoid issues like coffee spills or torn pages while their passport floats around in their carry-on bag. However, the benefits of this item extend beyond the aesthetic. Yet, you may want to skip using one, or at least approach your cover choice with caution. They come in all sorts of colors and designs, as well as materials and sizes. In fact, a larger cover might offer increased security.

The good and bad sides of passport covers

On the pro side, using a cover that can hold other items you need for your trip may help you remember to pack your passport in the first place. For instance, some covers have windows for your vaccine card or other information you need to have handy when traveling, like your boarding pass. Others have slots to use as a wallet. As an added benefit, covers you can find online even include RFID protection, as many passports contain RFID chips.


While you have your choice of materials, a cover with a water-resistant lining or outside can keep your ID card safe if you get caught in the rain or have a tendency to spill your drinks. While some passports feature quite a bit of plastic inside, particularly the newer ones, they still use a lot of paper. A cover can keep it from tearing when you rummage through your bag. If you pick one in a bright color, it also makes your passport easier to find in your carry-on.

On the con side, you can't keep your passport in its case when you go through passport control, meaning that, along with whatever else you carrying, you need your hands to take it out. While this might not present much of a hassle while visiting a single country, it can get annoying if you travel a lot or hit several countries while on your trip.


Picking the right passport cover

If you decide to buy a passport cover, which should you go with? Thankfully, this purchase doesn't have to break the bank. You can pick up a basic cover for a modest investment via Amazon for as low as $6. If you want RFID protection, Amazon has plenty to choose from for just a couple of dollars more. You can, of course, get fancier covers in materials like cloth and leather (Burberry has one for almost $400), but you certainly don't need to drop that kind of money to keep your passport safe.


You'll want to bear in mind a couple of potential issues if you worry about your passport getting swiped. A cover that says "passport" on it might catch the attention of thieves, as could an otherwise non-descript variety that comes passport-shaped. The ID card contains a lot of information that criminals can make use of. Consider making a stolen passport less likely by choosing a bigger cover that looks like it could fit an e-reader or one that can hold your Kindle and passport without immediately signaling that it might contain other valuables.

If you travel with your family, a larger cover with space for several passports, as well as other travel documents, could be an ideal fit. (A passport might be a bit too much responsibility for a little one.) Finally, if you don't use a cover, think about getting a money belt to put around your waist so your passport remains protected.