How to Organize Your Passport with Post-it Notes
We have a simple solution for keeping your passport stamps organized and to prolong the life of your passport’s pages with sticky notes.
Americans can choose passports that are 28 or 52-pages long–and since they cost the same, always opt for the bigger one! Until the end of 2015, you were able to get more passport pages stitched into your passport in case you ran out of pages before your expiration date. (I was packing a 100-pager for a while due to my original 52-page passport and the 48 extra pages!) Sadly, you can no longer add extra pages, and it’s more important than ever to conserve space in your precious little book. This is particularly true now because there’s often a long backlog in passport renewals by mail. And always remember–you need at least two blank pages in your passport to enter a new country!
The 100-page beast!
When you go through immigration in a new country, the officer is typically pretty haphazard about where they stamp your passport–in the middle of a page, in the middle of the book. Not only does that waste a lot of space and make it difficult to place other stamps on the same page, but it also makes it difficult to find that stamp again to show it to the immigration officer upon exit.
BJ started using a system that is wildly simple, relatively bold, and totally effective. Using small Post-it Notes with a kind message, you can direct the immigration officer to stamp in a controlled fashion. I thought for sure that immigration officers would not take kindly to these “suggestions,” but it worked so beautifully for BJ that I’ve adopted it, too.
We’ve written “Next page, please” or “Please use other page” with a smiley face on Post-it Notes and placed them on every page of our passport except the one we want stamped. This allows the book to be filled from front to back, making the stamps chronological, tidy, and maximizing the space. While in theory there is usually space for 6 stamps, we’re thrilled with the 4 per page we’ve been getting.
Five stamps on one page is a huge win! And, yes, I have 7 Argentina stamps on two pages thanks to going back and forth between Brazil and Argentina in Iguazu Falls.
I expected a lot more raised eyebrows and push-back from immigration officers, but we’ve only gotten a few good-natured comments or surprised laughs. Luckily when I get the occasional strange look, I can always point to BJ in the next line over and say “He taught me to do it!”
If you travel a lot and want to make sure you maximize your space, try out the Post-it method; smiley faces are optional, but highly encouraged!
Other Useful Passport Tips
Mark your Spot
If your passport is already quite full but you wish you could find your entry stamps more quickly (to show the immigration officer on the way out), you can still use a Post-it or sticky flag to mark the page for quick reference.
Skip the Novelty Stamps
It may be tempting to get a novelty stamp in your passport, like those offered in Machu Picchu, the Galapagos, Antarctica, and more. Novelty stamps can technically invalidate your passport, and although it’s unlikely that anyone will call you on it, it’s not unheard of. Best to dedicate a different notebook to capture these fun stamps to commemorate your time in these destinations.
Keep Your Passport with you on your Flight
When flying, keep your passport in your personal item or on your person, not in your carry-on. You may be asked to check your carry-on at the last minute and, depending on where you are in the world, you may not be able to get it back until after immigration control. The last thing you want to do is forget your passport in a bag you can’t access!
If keeping track of your latest stamp is most important, use a simple sticky flag or small Post-it Note to mark the page.