You know how you always got on just fine with the cover they gave you at the passport office? Well, not any more. Nowadays you have a fistful of identical-looking documents and airport security wants to split your family into two separate parties without holding up the queue. A while ago I had a revelation in a wallet shop and bought the kids passport holders so I could a) slot their documents together in one, neat bundle; b) reduce the amount of time I spend fumbling to remove passports from pockets and trying to find the photo page when I’m at the check-in counter; and c) figure out, with not more than a glance, whose damn stuff belongs to whom. I am happy to report that since then I have become a total convert.
Oh sure, I know what you’re thinking. If she wanted to tell the passports apart at a glance, she could have just stuck a different sticker on to the front of each one. She could have used boarding passes, identity cards, and immigration and customs paperwork as tidy little bookmarks at the photo page, keeping the whole set grasped together, perhaps in an ordinary little pencil case so nothing falls out and gets lost. Anyway, what’s her deal with not being able to get the passport out of the pocket? Does she have some sort of hand-eye coordination issue?
And to all of that I say, yes, of course you are right. The stickers, absolutely, the hand-eye coordination issue, quite possibly, which explains why the rest is not an ideal solution, although actually you could easily put each person’s stuff into an individual little pencil case, which would amount to roughly the same idea as long as the pencil cases were all different colours or something. Huh. You’re good. I should have taken you with me to the wallet shop and saved some money.
But it doesn’t matter. I like them and they look good and they weren’t that expensive (I got them on special).
How did I get them? I bought them at The Wallet Shop in Singapore. (Etsy have pretty ones but they were all pretty basic – no special slots for cards.)
Where, when and how often do I use it? Every time we need to take our passports.
Good points: They look nice. They make it easier to handle a whole group’s worth of documents through airports and immigration points.
Drawbacks: Their utility is, admittedly, a little marginal. You still have to take your passport out to hand it over, although I find it easier to get the passports in and out of these than the ones the passport office gave me. The pencil case solution is probably cheaper, less fiddly again, and more secure (but would it look as pretty?).
Do I recommend it? (to whom): I recommend it to those who are travelling with two or more kids, those who like to personalise their stuff with some bling, and those who are about as coordinated with documents and passports as I am. Or at least find a few soft, zip-up pencil cases or some stickers or something.
Update: I’ve since seen family-sized passport holders with slots for four or six passports. I have to say, I’m not entirely convinced. The big point with these is that you can easily separate everyone’s documents when need be, and you have spaces to keep individuals’ immigration cards, boarding passes, and passports together.
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