Paying for Passport Stamps

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  06.19.09 | 1:50 PM ET

Photo by lilit via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Over at Jaunted, blogger JetSetCD has opened up a conversation on those oh-so-tempting, oh-so-corny souvenir passport stamps.

You know, the ones from places like Checkpoint Charlie, Machu Picchu and so on. And then, beyond the stamps from major tourist sites, there are the just-so-I-can-say-I-was-here countries—Liechtenstein, San Marino and the like—that charge for their entry stamps, too. So, Jaunted asks, are novelty passport stamps worth their price? Or are they just as bad as “buying those horrific gift spoons”?

I have to admit, I’ve never actually been faced with the question before. But I love my passport stamps, and I can’t see putting a set of fake East/West Berlin markers into the mix. On the other hand, though it would irk me to pay, I’d probably want proof that I crossed Liechtenstein’s borders. What about you?

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

4 Comments for Paying for Passport Stamps

Chris 06.19.09 | 3:00 PM ET

I’m with you Eva, I would pay for real country stamps, but not fake tourist-site ones. You know, I didn’t get stamped at all in France or Spain!

Hal Amen 06.19.09 | 3:21 PM ET

I’ve got the Machu Picchu one as well as a stamp from a train station just south of the Korean DMZ. I’m a bit ashamed but I couldn’t help myself. What I don’t like is how “illustrated” the novelty stamps are. Part of the charm of passport stamps is their practical, official, authoritarian look, don’t you think?

Hotel Guide 06.19.09 | 5:19 PM ET

Anyone collect national park passport stamps?
I started in south dakota.

Dan 06.20.09 | 4:51 PM ET

I’d love a passport stamp for every legitimate country I’ve been to (or for the territories that have their own stamps—like St. Maarten, where the stamp actually says St. Maarten, not Netherlands Antilles and not The Netherlands).

I’d love the Canadians to stamp my passport, but they don’t do it automatically. And somehow, the officialdom of the border makes me reluctant to ask. Same problem in the EU. The border controls are gone between several countries, so nobody stamps your passport. And if they did, every EU country has the same stamp anyway. Boring! (Yes, I’ll admit to missing guilders and francs and marks, too… although the Euro Zone is very convenient).

I would pay for the border stamp to Liechtenstein or other countries… if offered inexpensively. And I wouldn’t get a fake passport stamp at all; that it’s official makes it unique. Who would I ask in Liechtenstein anyway? When I crossed from Switzerland, there was a bridge and a small sign—I didn’t see anyone keeping an eye on things. :-)

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