Are passport holders really that useful?

Here’s a question for the travelling masses – are passport holders really that useful?  I have a few that I got as gifts; they are made of quality materials, authentic brand names, and look very fashionable.  If I re-gift them – which I’m reluctant to do – it would be to someone special.  But are they really that useful as compared to…. say a wallet?  I have had a reliable passport holder (that I bought for myself) and have carried it with me on the many ravels I had – but often times I find myself taking the passport out of the cover to get it stamped or checked, while it doesn’t really offer any specific protection to the passport itself.

And yet, I find them as great gifts for those hard to buy for people, especially those that travel.  They are often used more as frivolous accessories instead of practical passport protectors.  I must say though that there those with a few side pockets and I would often use them to hide a few passport sized photos and some information in case I need them quickly at customs.  But other than that are they really useful?  Should I continue to buy them as “different” kind of gifts?  Would my money be better spent on more useful gifts like luggage tags (which may have a slightly more practical use to them)?

I continue to use mine, and for me the only practical aspect I see is that they add more weight to the passport which makes it easier to find and harder to loose.  But I’m not sure if that is enough to warrant the price these covers are going for these days.

What do you guys think?

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