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What Is a Travel Document Holder?

Daniel Liden
Daniel Liden

It is often necessary to carry a variety of documents, such as passports, tickets, identification, and other information, when traveling. Unfortunately, by carrying such documents, one greatly increases the risk of losing them through carelessness or theft, or having them get ruined by rain or other environmental factors. A travel document holder can be used to mitigate many of these risks by keeping the important documents firmly attached to oneself and enclosed in a watertight compartment at all times. This type of holder can come in many different forms, such as a large, reinforced wallet or a pouch that hangs around the neck. Choosing the right one is largely a matter of personal preference, though some other concerns must also come under consideration.

One common type of travel document holder that provides a great deal of security is the money belt. Though it is primarily intended to hold money in order to prevent pickpocketing, it can also be used to hold and protect important documents. A money belt is worn around the waist, often in place of a typical belt, and it includes a small pouch that can serve as a travel document holder. The belt is well-secured to its carrier, so there is little risk of losing it or its contents. Some people find such belts to be uncomfortable or worry that they do not look very good — if these are major concerns, a different type of document holder may be preferable.

The best travel document holders are designed to keep cash and other important documents easily accessible.
The best travel document holders are designed to keep cash and other important documents easily accessible.

Another type of travel document holder consists of a pouch connected to a neck strap or shoulder strap. Such pouches are made to be worn under clothing to discreetly carry one's important documents at all times. While these tend to be effective in cool climates where one is likely to wear heavier clothing, they may be too visible for practical use in warmer climates. Additionally, it is important to ensure that document holders of this type have sufficiently robust shoulder or neck straps, as they can break easily otherwise.

Travel document holders are designed to safely and securely store passports.
Travel document holders are designed to safely and securely store passports.

A variety of other options exist for those who find the common belt or pouch style of document holder to be unsatisfactory. A traveler who wants to be able to keep a close eye on his travel document holder at all times may consider a pouch with a wrist strap. Those more interested in extra discretion, on the other hand, may prefer styles with an ankle strap intended to be worn beneath clothing.

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Discussion Comments


Both times when I traveled to Europe, I used a travel wallet. It had a place for everything and was big enough that I could easily spot it in my purse. But that was the problem - I always had to lug around a fairly large purse, which kind of cramps your style.

Since I've traveled, I think that they have come up with some good document holders. I think that the money belt is probably the best choice. It can be hidden and you can feel that it is close to you.

I don't think the ones that hang around your neck would be too secure because unless they are real heavy straps, they could be ripped off. On the other hand, they are very convenient.

Another possibility would be a pair of pants that have a deep pocket sewn inside the pant leg, like the bootleggers used during Prohibition to carry a bottle.

Every travel document holder has its pros and cons. You just have to choose one and always be aware.


I sure wish I had some kind of travel document holder when our family traveled overseas. I made the mistake of letting my son carry his own boarding pass and passport.

We were on the last leg of our journey home and we were ready to get on our flight to Chicago. My son could not find his documents anywhere. We searched through everything and still could not find them.

We frantically retraced out steps, and he had laid them down on a shelf in a gift shop. Thankfully, they were still there as not much time had gone by since we had left the store.

Needless to say I was a little bit panicked and frustrated at myself for not holding on to them in the first place.

Even after all of that, I still don't carry a travel document holder with me when I fly. I just make it a point to always put them in the zippered pocket of my laptop case.

This way my documents are within easy reach, and I always know right where they are.


I bought myself a travel document holder and it has simplified my life. Before this I would always fumble around with my boarding pass, and drivers license.

It seems like I would never keep them in the same place and would always be looking for them. Keeping them in my jeans pocket was not a good idea as it was too easy for them to get lost.

If I kept them in a pocket of my carry on, I would always have to search for them when I needed to show them.

I used to think these document holders looked kind of nerdy, but got to the point that it was better than the alternative.

Mine is a strap that goes over my shoulder and has a clear pocket in front. Something that is very simple, but takes a lot of worry out of misplacing my documents.


@manykitties2 - I think that document holders for travel always make a great gift when you know someone is going away on a trip. A lot of people, especially if they don't travel often, don't really think about picking up the little things like that.

As far as other accessories go, you could always make a deal with the best man or something and have him get a matching travel tie holder and maybe some men's wallets for the male half of the wedding party This coordinates with you, as you'll be getting the bride some nice luggage tags, the travel document holder and perhaps something like a nice luggage strap. If you want, get the bridesmaids to coordinate too.


My friend is going to be getting married in a location wedding and I was wondering if a nice travel wallet would be a good gift for her bachelorette party?

As far as I know she doesn't have any travel document cases and since she is a bit of a sucker for high-end goods, I think that luxury travel accessories may be the way to go. Can you think of anything else that might be good thing to get her?

I really need to make sure that anything I pick up is lightweight and won't take up too much space, as I have to travel just for her party. It is going to a lot of fun though, which makes it all worth while.


I lived in Scotland for a while and I had a friend that came and visited me in Glasgow. My friend is kind of high strung and had never traveled abroad before so he took a lot of kind of silly precautions.

I will never forget that he insisted on wearing a travel wallet everywhere he went. Glasgow is a pretty safe city but he still insisted on keeping all his money and important info strapped right below his ribs. Whenever he would buy something he would have to unbutton his shirt. I just had to laugh. I guess if that's what it takes to have peace of mind that's what you have to do.


I have done a lot of international travel and a travel document holder is really a great tool. When you are trying to keep track of a passport, multiple flight documents, car rental info, hotel stuff and all the other pieces of paper that you need to have a great trip it can get pretty confusing pretty fast.

What I like so much about these holders is that I can keep my travel documents separate from the rest of my luggage. Whenever I need something I can just consult the document holder rather than rifling through all of my stuff. We all know that travel can be stressful so why not cut yourself a break when you can?


One of the best travel organizers I have seen for security is still the money belt. Having your document holder travel under your clothes is by far the securest way to keep your cash, passport and things like ID from getting stolen.

I would argue though, that not all countries require you to really need the all out security of a money belt. When I am in an airport in Canada or the US for example I usually just carry a stylish leather travel document holder as I feel it is safe in my hand and in my carryon bag. Places that are notorious for theft though, have me switching over.

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    • The best travel document holders are designed to keep cash and other important documents easily accessible.
      By: caryblade
      The best travel document holders are designed to keep cash and other important documents easily accessible.
    • Travel document holders are designed to safely and securely store passports.
      By: charles taylor
      Travel document holders are designed to safely and securely store passports.