It’s 3:30 am at home and the queue for foreigners crawls toward the Immigration Officer’s window. My teeth need brushing and my make-up has long worn off; I’m not exactly looking my best for my first meeting with a local. Thankfully consolation rests in my hand— Oh, beloved document! A unique personal history, my passport stands testament to paths trudged, suitcases hauled, and savings squandered. While inching along in line, nudging my carry-on with my foot, I turn its pages of hard-earned stamps. I reminisce over entrance and exit dates, analyzing their shape and placement like a fortune-teller examining tea leaves. Finally reaching the few empty pages at the back, I muse about possible future destinations.
Who could love their passport more than I?
However, the vehicle for my individual history is so distinctly un-personal. A bald eagle and flag that frame my photo, along with cowboys, Rocky mountains, and waves of grain (I’m from Florida and gluten-intolerant). When I open it, I half expect it to sing the Star-Spangled Banner, like a musical birthday card. Is it just me, or did a man design this passport?
Luckily, the case in which I keep my passport is mine alone: a rosy-cheeked girl with a red dress, frizzy yellow hair, and a Mona Lisa smile blushes at me from the front cover. This impish character keeps my document in pristine condition, inspires animated conversations, conceals its contents from would-be thieves, and on top of it all, never fails to make me smile.
There are so many kinds of pretty passport covers available through the Internet now, from simple plastic to designer Italian leather, at a range of prices from a couple of bucks to over a hundred. So, what does your passport holder say about you?
Types of passport covers
Vintage Printed Passport Holder
You are practical but love a bit of whimsy, so you gravitate toward funky art and unique destinations. You’re always searching for the next once-in-a-lifetime experience. You save dough when you can, willingly passing on life’s little luxuries and even taking on a second job if necessary to enable your travel addiction.
You’re in tune with the earth. Your destinations are sporty, eclectic, and often oriented toward nature, perhaps featuring meditation or locations fixed in local lore. Since you’re a considerate travel partner, girlfriend getaways endear you to your best gal pals.
DIY Passport Holders
You’ve sewn together your own cloth holder and know the rewards of hard work. Your destinations usually include museum visits or treks to see great works of ingenuity. You’re good at planning trips and are a decisive leader when part of a large group on the move.
Personally, I’m Type 2, practical with an occasional streak of caprice. I bought my current passport cover three years ago, but think it’s time for a shift. There’s no reason to stay within one. For my next city break I may go leather (monogrammed, perhaps) or on a photo safari a fair trade case might be in order. If I wake up one morning feeling ambitious and crafty, I may reference this passport holder tutorial.
Of course, the best passport case would be one that gets its owner free business class upgrades and complimentary cocktails at the pool-bar. But for now I suppose I’ll settle for a smile and a warm welcome from the Immigration Officer.
Question: What does your passport cover say about you? If you don’t have one (yet!), what kind would you choose and why?
If you don’t have a passport yet, there’s no time like the present! It’s first on our list of 10 Things to Do to Prepare for International Travel. The U.S. State Department has all the information you need to get started.