Financial Travel Tip #17: Passport Pictures for Pennies on the Dollar

by Nora on February 25, 2012


Of course you travel with your passport. But do you travel with passport pictures? If not, then why not?


Depending on where you travel, you’ll need passport pictures to accompany certain visa applications. But you’ll pay a premium for these pictures if you get them at the airport or otherwise go with a “traditional” passport picture photographer.


Instead, take a digital shot of yourself (there are certain standard guidelines you need to follow, like using a white background, eliminating shadows, and not covering your face in any way), and either crop and print out copies at a self-service machine (available in many pharmacies and photo centres), or use an online service to crop and tweak the shot so you can generate prints however you wish.


I always have a fresh batch of passport pictures I can dole out for visa applications, and have even made use of them on other random occasions like when I got my scuba license. These pictures cost me pennies on the dollar, and have been – and continue to be – invaluable.


Find out more about how to take your own Passport Pics below:


Passport Pictures for Under a Dollar

Cheap Passport Pictures (Part Two): Online Ordering


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Meg | One Love Meg February 25, 2012 at 9:15 am

Great Advice. I just actually read this in my Travel the World book but I never realized how handy those pictures can be. I will be taking some photos and also I heard it’s good to take pictures of all your passports, ID’s, credit cards etc. (just in case)


2 Saras Asnani February 25, 2012 at 10:08 am

This is totally weird. I was doing yoga this morning, and the idea of passport flashed across.

To alleviate concerns of misplacing your passport or important documents while abroad I thought it be a great idea to email myself the scanned color-copy of my US Passport, and other important documents, and store it in “safe” folder available online. So as long as I would have a (working and good) online connection, or cyber-cafe and hopefully (they will also have) a printer – its easy enough to print it out – goodness forbid you need it.

Also, another technology precaution, I strongly advice not to store in your email (for US citizens) your social security number, your bank account numbers or any financial account numbers….
That is something you really couldn’t take a chance on.

Yes, having the passport online in your email folder is as secure as anything online. Yet, when traveling its one of the best companions.

Hope this helps, and keep traveling, volunteering-working, and sharing the love. 🙂


3 theprofessionalhobo February 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm

You both have the right idea! It’s always good to have back-ups of your ID, and taking pictures of all your cards etc is a great idea.

I also agree with @Saras about not storing sensitive information in your email, as it’s a hot-bed for hackers.

I keep my scans/photos of my ID (as well as bank account numbers, passwords, and emergency telephone numbers) in an encrypted folder on my laptop, external hard drive, and even on a USB stick (again, encrypted) that I wear underneath my clothing so that if everything else is taken, I usually still have the stick and can start the process of cancelling cards etc.

Here’s the program I use for encrypting and storing my info:


4 ava apollo February 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Good idea. I hadn’t even thought of that and the other ideas from commenters.


5 Satu March 3, 2012 at 1:42 am

Oh yeah, it’s surprising how often you need passport photos on your travels and how expensive they are if you have to get them on the spot! I keep a bunch with me all the time.


6 theprofessionalhobo March 3, 2012 at 5:24 pm

@Ava – Glad you’re getting some good ideas! That’s my aim. 🙂

@Satu – Good for you! (Reminder to self: it’s time to update my own passport photos).


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