Why Travelers Should Buy a Passport Wallet in 2023 (Our Best Picks)

As a frequent traveler, I use a passport wallet to help protect my passport, but this wasn’t always the case. In fact, I learned the hard way how important a passport cover is and why travelers should buy the best passport wallet for travel now and into 2023.

And this is my personal experience on why you should buy a passport wallet !

In 2016, I was denied boarding on a flight to India. The check-in agent looked at my passport, left the counter, whispered amongst colleagues, and later returned to tell me I could not board my flight. This was in Madrid, Spain, where I was connecting after flying in from New York City (I spent two nights in Madrid). Throughout this story, I add my recommendations for the best passport wallet.

Frye has a great passport wallet.

Clearly, I was shocked. Had I been accidentally placed on a “no fly” list? Was I not dressed appropriately for business class? So many random questions ran through my head until she told me the reason: my passport was in bad shape, and it was enough to deny me boarding. Her exact words: “Sir, I cannot let you on the plane with this passport condition.”

Here’s a video of what my passport looked like a month before I had it renewed. I also took a screenshot of my Instagram (I’m at @jimmyim… you can follow me on my adventures by clicking the link).

A passport has a shelf life of ten years. You have to renew your passport in exactly one decade, but my passport had been certifiably weathered in only half that time. As you may know, I’ve traveled to more than 113 countries, including 1000s of destinations, and the bulk of my travels started in 2008. Eventually, in 2014, I had to get additional pages in my passport to accommodate new stamps, so it was bulky rather than thin, because I did a lot of repeat destinations. For instance, while I’ve been to 113 countries, I had been to Mexico over 20 times in that timeframe, and you get a stamp each time. 

All-American brand Herschel offers a very comfortable and affordable passport wallet.

By the time I was checking into my connecting flight to India in 2016, my passport was pretty beat up. It scanned fine, but leading up to that moment, I had many check-in agents tell me I should get a new passport. Airlines are getting more strict; I should have listened.

So there I was in Madrid, denied boarding because my passport was in a bad state. The airline (it was Qatar) didn’t exactly help. The check-in agent said he would call their contacts in India to determine whether they would let me through customs with the condition of my passport, but because of the time difference, it was late at night, and no one was answering their call. I was stranded at Madrid Airport, so I eventually bought a ticket back home with my own money. 

All because my passport was in poor condition.

I was surprised to see Michael Kors does an excellent Travel Passport Wallet Case.

Considering the circumstances, I got a brand-new passport, and I also invested in a passport case. The passport holder I used was made by Coach, and it lasted me a few good years, but I recently got a new one.

Buy Nomad Passport Wallet
Travelers should get a Passport Wallet

Depending on what passport wallet you get, you will not regret it. I’ve tested so many. I notice that most come with 5 sleeves for cards (which comes in handy for things I wouldn’t put in my every day wallet, like my Global Entry card), a quick-access pocket for boarding passes, a cash slot (if you ever have to pay off government officials like I have haha) and, of course, a passport pocket.

Buy Nomad Passport Wallet Tile Bluetooth
Buy Nomad Passport Wallet Tile Bluetooth

Passport Wallets these days have an integrated  Bluetooth to track your wallet.

Because the Tile Tracking or whatever app it works with is connected to your phone, you can also click the Tile Slim in the passport wallet to have your phone ring if you lose it. 

Nomad Passport Wallet Tile Bluetooth
Passport Wallet Tile Bluetooth

Thankfully, I haven’t misplaced either my passport or phone on a trip yet, and I know the passport wallet will come in handy if it happens. The real value: the passport cover keeps my passport in great condition, and I never have to worry about being denied at an international airport for having a beat-up passport. 

Bellroy is TOP OF THE LINE. It’s considered the best passport wallet.

Lastly, if you have LOST your passport, or are the type to never remember where you put it, bookmark Rush My Passport. Click below. It saved my life twice now!!


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Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Please do! I’m a one-man team for this website, so any help is sincerely appreciated.

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed in over 600 hotels and has flown a million airmiles. He lives in New York City.

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