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Handing over Passport to Hotel/Train Conductor ?

Handing over Passport to Hotel/Train Conductor ?

Old Jan 11, 11, 12:23 pm
  #1  
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Handing over Passport to Hotel/Train Conductor ?

I'm in the process of planning a trip to Various cities in Italy and Spain and upon reading various sites, I've seen some mention of giving your passport to the Hotel at checkin to hold on to, or even to a train conductor on overnight trains.

Is this common ? Is it required ? Any alternative to handing it over? (copy maybe?)

I don't fully understand the reasoning for the request and I'm hesitant to trust someone I don't know with that document while traveling abroad.

Thanks for the insight/tips.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 12:30 pm
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It is absolutely and common in many places outside North America to give your identification at check in (as well as in North America). Many places just record the data and return it however, and that has been my experience in Italy in recent years.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 12:36 pm
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In my experience the desk clerk in Italian hotels handed back my passport as soon as the required information( name, nationality) was copied from it. I only waited at the desk for a minute or two.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 12:36 pm
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I've been in a similar situation in an overnight train ride (four of us in a sleeper car) that crossed multiple European countries. A rail representative, accompanied by a security person, collected passports from the sleeper cars shortly after the ride started. She said that our other option would to be woken up if a customs agent wanted to see our passports, and we were exhausted, so we gave our passports up and had them returned without issue the next morning. This is completely a "your comfort level" scenario.

I've never been asked by a hotel to give up my passport. I've had copies taken at virtually every hotel I've stayed at internationally, of which I'll happily allow, but I would not give up my passport for any reason to a hotel. It is probably the only acceptable international identification document you have, and you'll need it for verifying citizenship and age in a variety of both casual and potentially legal situations.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 1:01 pm
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Originally Posted by redii View Post
I've never been asked by a hotel to give up my passport. I've had copies taken at virtually every hotel I've stayed at internationally, of which I'll happily allow, but I would not give up my passport for any reason to a hotel. It is probably the only acceptable international identification document you have, and you'll need it for verifying citizenship and age in a variety of both casual and potentially legal situations.
Hotels much more commonly took passports in the days before photocopiers were everywhere. In those cases, the passport information had to be copied out by hand, so it was a way to manage that workload in an efficient manner. Now, it is only very small hotels/B&Bs/pensiones which are likely to hold on to them for any length of time.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 1:03 pm
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Thanks for the help. Glad to know the 'holding on to' is an option, not a requirement.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 1:13 pm
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Very common on sleeper trains & it sure beats having to wake up every time you cross a boarder. When I backpacked across Europe back in the early-1990's, I went through several eastern European countries and I finally figured out if the person in a uniform shouting at me had a gun, they wanted my passport; if they didn't have a gun, they just wanted my train ticket ....And if the person's with a gun have someone spread eagle against the wall just outside your sleeper car, its probably a good idea to wait to use the toilet

Another weird situation for handing over my passport, money & everything happened when I was attending uni in London and we had passes for the House of Lords. They don't allow anything to be brought in at all so when suddenly asked to hand over your entire fanny pack, believe me, you are in a state of shock. Of course when the nice gentlemen with his perfect Queen's English tells you if you can't trust them, who can you trust, you just go with it-lol
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Old Jan 11, 11, 1:31 pm
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Originally Posted by tehiota View Post
Thanks for the help. Glad to know the 'holding on to' is an option, not a requirement.
In hundreds of night train border crossings, it has never, ever been a problem. I HAVE however, been on night trains that didn't cross a border, and hence had my passport with me, and had it (and other things) stolen.

As for hotels, technically it is usually required, but if you pay in advance or provide a credit card, they can usually copy it and hand it back. And that's something else I've done twice -- checked out of the hotel forgetting to reclaim it. But then my brother recently refused to let them hold on to his, so he put them in the room safe... and forgot them on check out.

Anyway, it's normal practice that millions of people do every day -- not sure why you are getting nervous about it.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 1:44 pm
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Originally Posted by polonius View Post
...
Anyway, it's normal practice that millions of people do every day -- not sure why you are getting nervous about it.
I guess it was the fact that if it was lost/misplaced it would become a rather large issue; its one thing if I lose it, another if someone else does.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 1:55 pm
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Originally Posted by tehiota View Post
I guess it was the fact that if it was lost/misplaced it would become a rather large issue; its one thing if I lose it, another if someone else does.
It bothers me to hand over any of my possessions to the control of a total stranger and I avoid it whenever possible.

I can't even see why it is reasonable to hand my passport to a hotel clerk and just walk away, leaving it in their possession. The idea that this is a normal practice is bizarre to me.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 2:30 pm
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Originally Posted by polonius View Post
Anyway, it's normal practice that millions of people do every day -- not sure why you are getting nervous about it.
Originally Posted by mozgytog View Post
It bothers me to hand over any of my possessions to the control of a total stranger and I avoid it whenever possible.

I can't even see why it is reasonable to hand my passport to a hotel clerk and just walk away, leaving it in their possession. The idea that this is a normal practice is bizarre to me.
I suppose that part of it is what one is used to; I cannot recall an instance of anyone I know having information compromised from this exchange.

However, as a few pointed out, actually hold on to the passport was more common in the days before photocopiers and credit cards, which was also a time when ID theft in the current fashion was less common and less likely. The changes in technology mean that holding the passport is far more rare.

Whatever you do, please don't be like the guest at the Sheraton FRA who pitched a fit and refused to share any information because the law in the state of North Carolina did not require him to show his passport. The hotel staff replied that the state of Hessen did however require it.

Also as a repeat guest at a location, the hotel may have your passport information on file and you will most likely not need to show it again in certain countries/hotel companies.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 3:08 pm
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For the past two years or so the hotels (at least the ones I stay in) in Frankfurt, Berlin, or Munich don't ask for my passport anymore. Sometimes I put it on the counter and they politely say 'Not necessary, sir.' I usually stay in the same hotels but it may be 4-6 months between visits so I doubt they remember me but who knows.

But hotels in Dresden (Saxony) are anal about it as are Czech hotels.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 3:58 pm
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Originally Posted by exbayern View Post
Whatever you do, please don't be like the guest at the Sheraton FRA who pitched a fit and refused to share any information because the law in the state of North Carolina did not require him to show his passport. The hotel staff replied that the state of Hessen did however require it.
I've got no problem with showing a passport. I would just find it very strange to be expected to hand it over and walk away without it having been returned to me.

I don't let the hotel hold on to my credit card for a week when I check in. I hand it to them, they swipe it as means of payment, and then they hand it back. The physical card is in my possession when I leave the desk.

Something about handing over an identity document to someone else who will retain possession of it when I walk away sets off alarm bells in my head. I don't give my ID to the bartender who wants to verify my age and walk away without it. That just seems like asking for trouble.
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Old Jan 11, 11, 4:19 pm
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Originally Posted by mozgytog View Post
It bothers me to hand over any of my possessions to the control of a total stranger and I avoid it whenever possible.

I can't even see why it is reasonable to hand my passport to a hotel clerk and just walk away, leaving it in their possession. The idea that this is a normal practice is bizarre to me.
In Italia this is required and is the law. If you are staying with locals you eventually have to report yourself. B/B, Agris, and hotels do it for you.
You must present passport or ID card at check-in.

Whether they keep it or not depends. Some have large weighted keys which you hand in when leaving the hotel and get your passport/id back. Others scan it/record the info for police then give it back.

Ciao,
FH
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Old Jan 11, 11, 4:30 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyingHoustonian View Post
In Italia this is required and is the law. If you are staying with locals you eventually have to report yourself. B/B, Agris, and hotels do it for you.
You must present passport or ID card at check-in.

Whether they keep it or not depends. Some have large weighted keys which you hand in when leaving the hotel and get your passport/id back. Others scan it/record the info for police then give it back.

Ciao,
FH
I don't really have a problem with someone copying the information on the passport, it's actually leaving it in their possession that is an issue for me. I'd have that same issue with my driver's license, my credit cards, my license to carry firearms, and anything else in my wallet.

I guess I'll stay out of Italy, because giving up the only form of ID that I can use to get home so that it can be kept by someone else out of my sight is not something I'm willing to do.
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