Most travelers hold a few accessories near and dear to them while they're visiting other countries: their cellphone, their camera, a travel journal. But the most important travel accessory, the one that requires your utmost attention and protection, is your passport. This begs the question all travelers must ultimately answer for themselves: Where should you keep your passport?

Safe Storage

It's generally inadvisable to carry your passport with you everywhere while you're traveling, as this increases the chances of losing it. Ideally, it's best to have passports locked away, either in a hotel room safe or in a suitcase with a secure travel lock. You'll also want to give consideration to the environment in which it's stored: If the air is too humid, it might harm the pages. And if anything causes water damage to the book's cover or personal information page, you could possibly have to replace the entire book.

Carrying Your Passport

Of course, if traveling outside the country, you'll need to have the passport on your person during travel days – in close reach for airport check-ins, boarding flights and crossing borders. It's important, though, to be smart when choosing exactly where to carry it. Try to keep it as close as possible, concealed in a flat money belt or in a travel wallet or passport cover.

If you opt, instead, to carry your passport in a backpack or purse, try to keep it in an inside pocket with a zipper. Keep the bag in front of you and in your line of vision at all times, and make sure its zippers and snaps are always securely closed. Try not to carry your passport in the same place as your cellphone, cash and other valuables, as this could increase the chance of theft.

Take Precautionary Measures

No matter how carefully you conceal and store a passport, travel is imperfect, and sometimes theft and loss is unavoidable. Knowing this, it's important to take precautions that can help avoid situations in which your passport might go missing. Start by making at least two copies of all travel documents, including your passport, before leaving. Leave one at home, ideally with a trusted friend, and take the other along, storing it separate from your original passport.

Make sure to bring extra copies of passport photos along, as well, in case there's a need for passport replacement while you're away from home. Also make sure the passport is valid for a significant amount of time following your projected return date, just in case. Finally, if traveling with a group, avoid making one person responsible for holding everyone's travel documents. Each adult should carry his or her own passport to minimize the potential impact of a theft.