Power to the Passport: Best Passport Cover for 2018
If you’ve never thought much about your passport’s history, it’s time you gave it the respect it deserves. This irreplaceable travel booklet comes with a contentious back story, notes journalist Giulia Pines writing for “National Geographic” magazine. Her search took her back to biblical times when the first passports--called safe conduct passes--were required to give enemies “passage in and out of a kingdom for the purpose of his negotiations.”
Whether you’re off to negotiate a million-dollar merger or you just want to negotiate a quiet beach under a palm tree with a margarita in hand, don’t put in your drink order until you decide whether or not you intend to dress up your passport in a passport case, passport wallet or passport holder. They’re all the rage, you know.
Our Top Passport Cover Picks:
The Passport's Evolution
Martin Lloyd wrote an entire book about the history of passports in 2003, explaining how single slips of paper have morphed into impressive booklets filled with official icons like barcodes, holograms, microchips and biometric photos over hundreds of years. He and Pines agree that 1920 was the year the standardized passport debuted as an offshoot of the Emergency Quota Act of 1921, enacted by the U.S. Congress to keep tabs on immigrant flow.
Over time, governments have piled on restrictions and safeguards, and while Mark Salter explains in his book, “Rights of Passage: The Passport in International Relations,” that many governments were conflicted about the need for documentation, they all gave in eventually, but only after international pressure was applied. This era’s rise in terrorism makes possession of a passport more important now than ever.
Can you buy one on the black market? In some nations, a million dollars in cash could do the trick if you were devious! According to the U.S. State Department, 18.6 million passports were issued in 2016 alone. This demand captured the imagination of folks in the travel accessory market and it was just a matter of time before a few styles and healthy sales inspired other companies to produce their own passport covers.
Are you Sure you Want to Cover Your Passport?
“Travel and Leisure” writer Melanie Liberman went off on a quest to figure out what passport color meant in 2016 and was treated to a colorful explanation of why the entire world isn’t walking around with blue-covered passports. If you want to impress fellow travelers, share Liberman's discovery that passports only come in shades of red, blue, green and black—no matter the country of issuance.
Passport Index Vice President of Marketing Hrant Boghossian says that, “Most passports in the world are based on blue and red primary colors,” and if you guessed that politics, geography or religion impact a country’s color choice, you’d be wrong. In fact, he says, “it’s a matter of national identity.”
If you spot a burgundy passport cover, you’re likely in the company of a European Union member or the South American Andean community. The Swiss used their flag to inspire their color pick. Blue passports are favored by what Boghossian calls “the New World”—as long as you subtract those Andean nations in South America. Despite comments to the contrary, Boghossian says that “Islamic states prefer green because it’s the color of their faith," while practical nations rely on dark of colors (e.g., black) because they don’t show dirt. Some nations insist that black looks more official.
Rumor has it the U.S. is about to get a passport design makeover, but until the nation does so, the ideal passport case, passport wallet or passport holder you’re seeking will showcase your nationality nicely while protecting your passport from prying eyes, soil and wear. Importantly, today's passport cover, made with RFID signal-repelling materials, not only guards your passport but it has the ability go keep you safe, too.
Benefits and Purposes of Passport Covers
The travel blog “Her Packing List” covers all aspects of travel so it’s no surprise that Brooke the blogger devoted a full post to the topic of passport covers. She describes this travel accessory as a newcomer to every travel gear shop on the planet and takes a comprehensive view of this category to offer advice to her followers. She describes these as “book covers” for travel documents—protective sleeves that give passports a unique identity and protection from wear and tear, whether it is made of fabric, leather, plastic or something exotic.
If you’re not the tidiest person on the planet and have replaced keyboards from time to time after baptizing them with coffee or soft drinks, a cover will protect your passport from wear, tear, liquids and other hazards. Further, passport covers tend to match personalities, so whether you tuck yours into your purse, a jacket pocket or your carry-on bag, taking it out at custom stations says a lot about you and your style.
Some passports do nothing more than safeguard your cover so it takes a longer time for them to show wear and tear. Others come with pockets to stow extra items. Tuck identification, credit cards, business cards, tip money and small items into the more expansive passport covers so you don’t hold up the line at the TSA checkpoint. With RFID technology essential, if the passport cover you buy is made of a material that blocks signals, your cover pick can help to avoid having personal identity information fall into the wrong hands, too.
In fact, the only downside to adding a passport cover to your travel gear is that customs officials usually ask travelers to remove them when they’re presented. Need more info? This U.S. Customs and Border Protection video offer terrific tips to help you out, whether you'll be presenting your passport to officials for the first time or you can't recall how many journeys you've made over time: https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/video-gallery/video-library/know-you-go.
When it comes to popularity and no-frills design, the Shvigel leather passport cover is such a hot seller, it could have its own fan club if owners weren’t busy jetting around taking care of business and spending holidays abroad. The design most often chosen by shoppers is the vintage black one, but if pink strikes your fancy, you can order one in this upbeat color or select another from the brand’s color library.
Made of 100-percent real leather and armed with a manufacturer’s 1-year warranty and money-back guarantee, travel to destinations near and far carrying this document holder measuring 3.7- X 0.2- X 5.2-inches. Embossed with the Great Seal of the United States and priced very affordably, this Shvigel cover not only protects your passport from being soiled but it will protect the leather from aging too fast, no matter which color you pick.
- You won’t have to compromise your style thanks to trendy color options.
- Protect your passport from oily fingerprints when it’s handled by officials, hoteliers and you.
- Solid construction, perfect fit and thick leather are hallmarks of this passport cover.
- Complaints about this case being too snug have been registered with the manufacturer.
- There are no additional pockets for stowing visas and other travel documents.
- May arrive reeking of an offensive factory odor.
The question shoppers ask most often when they encounter this Zoppen RFID-blocking passport holder is, why keep looking? Fly your personal color flag by choosing from 17 colors to suit your conservative tastes or show off your wild child. You won’t get genuine leather—but then again, you may not care because the price of this product is less than the aforementioned Shvigel, the pairing of polyurethane material and imitation leather is stylish and the weave is embedded with signal-blocking fiber.
For the green crowd, no cows were vanquished in the name of travel! This cover meets EU Reach quality standards and even California’s stringent Prop 65 criteria. What can you stow in this carrier? Plenty. The passport pocket is dedicated, there are 2 slots for cards and a wing pocket holds tickets and boarding passes. The jumbo size is impressive at 5.9- x 3.9- x 0.6-inches yet you can tuck it into a jacket pocket, using the snap-button closure mechanism. Finding flaws is hard, though if you’re a leather fan, this may be a deal breaker.
- RFID-blocking properties give you safety and peace of mind.
- Could you ask for more color options? We think not.
- No worries about stains or soil that befall leather; synthetics stand up to abuse.
- The security button that holds everything in place could break off exposing your documents to loss.
- Vinyl edges can become frayed or look shabby fairly soon after this case is put to use.
- Could be too big for your pockets.
Spend less than 10 bucks on a Famavala passport that satisfies the needs of most travelers because while it’s bare-bones, the color and pattern choices offered you for the price may be the factor that drives your purchase decision. This Famavala passport wallet is manufactured with RFID-repelling material so the valuable information that’s contained in your passport isn’t compromised. As a matter-of-fact, Famavala takes such pride in its rigorous testing methods, extolling the safety virtues of this cover drives the company’s advertising claims.
There are handy slots within the case that give you room to stow essentials like business cards, credit cards and small documents, though it’s not clear in the product description whether it’s truly expansive enough to hold larger documents like tickets and boarding passes. The slim, lightweight design comes with a defect-free replacement warranty, so if you order one of these and discover that the cool, multi-colored galaxy of stars splashed across your cover hides a defect, Famavala is happy to make good on their return policy.
- Famavala uses an advanced sewing process to secure cover pieces and reinforce seams.
- Cover color and pattern choices are beautiful and exciting; your passport will stand out from the crowd.
- Comes with slots for business and credit cards so you don’t have to keep retrieving your wallet.
- Manufacturer doesn’t disclose the material used to fabricate these covers; leather or synthetic? Who knows?
- May rip or shred more easily than competitor passport covers.
- The cover colors could fade if the holder is exposed to too much light.
If you’re willing to spend more cash on a passport cover that’s so elegant and official looking, someone might think you’re an ambassador (were it not for the fact that you’re seated outside the first class cabin), this Villini holder fabricated of 100-percent genuine leather is for you. This formal-looking cover with bas relief stamping is made from a single piece of leather so you can forget fraying seams and rips if you pick this model that measures an oversized 5.5- x 4- x 0.35-inches.
Within the confines of this case, store extras without creating a bulge in your jacket pocket. The interior compartment is large enough to hold cash and with 4 card pockets, you get immediate access to business and credit cards as you travel. The snap button secures the case tightly so nothing escapes. Villini offers a 3-year warranty that covers construction and defects on labor and materials, but what wins travelers' hearts is the impressive look of the embossed Seal of the United States and other design elements plus a rainbow of color choices that include black, red, purple and green.
- Just one sheet of finely-tooled leather is used to make this wallet so seam rips aren’t a problem.
- This wallet holds many extras without adding to its bulk when filled.
- Looks even better in person than it does in photos and the Italian styling can’t be beat for the price.
- You receive no RFID signal-blocking protections if you choose this passport cover.
- The metal fastener has set off TSA metal detectors when going through security.
- An offensive odor, originating at the factory of origin, may be a turn off.
Want the mother lode of features and benefits without the inflated price tag? Put the Travelambo RFID passport cover case at the top of your short list. Price wise, it matches the Famavala cover, but Travelambo flaunts its leather material lined with RFID blocking fiber. What separates the two? Travelambo covers aren’t as flamboyant: they come in 8 popular solid colors and zero patterns. Within the confines of this mini-portfolio, your passport and credit cards are protected from theft because exterior shielding spans the the entire outer case.
Travelambo is a stylish, practical passport cover with enough panache to make it stand out from the rest of the herd and the ability to carry your cards, cash and other items necessary for travel makes it not just a good buy but it could simply your travel life, too. Get a 1-year warranty that covers defects resulting not just from the manufacturing process but also from delivery--and the manufacturer gives you the option of choosing between a full refund or a replacement if you must return it.
- 100-percent imported leather is soft, strong and high-grade.
- RFID blocking capacity has been tested by independent laboratories and found secure.
- Choose between replacement or refund if don’t like this product within the year.
- Shoppers complain that the passport slot is so tight so it’s a struggle to get it in and out.
- There have been hacking reports by consumers who insist the RFID shield isn’t adequate.
- Biggest con of all: this isn’t genuine leather, despite what the company advertises.
Conclusion: The Winner Is…
There’s a lot riding on how well your identity is protected—especially if you travel abroad—so while we are impressed with the quality and stylishness of the Villini (it’s gorgeous), do you really want to take a security chance with so much at stake? Too many people have complained about the tight fit of the Shvigel passport pocket to ignore this problem and since it’s one of the more expensive models in this review, it comes off our most-favored list, too.
We admit to loving the Travelambo name because it suggests Rambo, but we don’t care for a company that promotes a product as being made of 100-percent leather only to have shoppers contest that claim after they ordered a leather passport cover only to find that they're stuck with a product made entirely of synthetic materials.
This brings us down to the Famavala v. Zoppen and the choice is clear: Because the Famavala cover material is a mystery and because unique signature designs on cases can fade, we give the edge to the Zoppen passport cover for numerous reasons. The size is expansive, there have been no complaints about the effectiveness of the RDIF technology and price is affordable. If you can’t find a color you like from the Zoppen library, just stick with the black and get on with your travel plans!