Passport holders are generally designed to protect passports against one or several hazards. When shopping for a passport holder, the most important consideration should be what types of hazard are likely to be encountered during travel. Some holders provide physical protection for passports, to prevent wear and tear. Others are designed to conceal passports from pickpockets and other thieves. The appearance of a passport holder is sometimes a secondary consideration, but function and security are typically more relevant concerns.
Though relatively durable, passports are not designed to survive being carried on a daily basis. Some countries require that visitors do precisely this, however. When planning travel to such a country, it is a good idea to have a passport holder that will protect the document against routine wear and tear. The simplest sort of passport covers are little more than sturdy wallets made of leather or some other durable material and designed to hold and protect a passport. Larger versions of this type of passport holder may include snaps or fasteners, and some contain additional storage space.
Anyone planning travel to an area where inclement weather or environmental conditions are common should consider obtaining a passport holder to protect their travel documents. Waterproof passport holders are often simply plastic sleeves that fasten securely. Testing this type of case before use is always a good idea, and models should be evaluated based on the durability of the plastic construction.
Thieves and pickpockets are a real danger in many countries, and passports are very valuable items. A passport holder on a lanyard can be used to keep the document out of sight. This type of protection is appropriate for travelers bound to areas with high crime rates and can be purchased in a variety of materials. It is a good idea to choose one that will rest comfortably against the skin.
Modern passport thieves may not need to actually steal a passport in order to steal personal information. Many modern passports include radio-frequency identification tags. These tags store information about the passport and passport holder. They are designed to be read remotely but at short distances and are generally felt to be safe.
Some travelers worry, however, that the data on these tags can be read at a greater distance, allowing criminals to obtain valuable personal information remotely. Specialized passport holders are made to prevent this sort of attack. They rely on metal mesh in the body of the holder, which blocks radio transmissions and safeguards data.