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Passport Holders

Passport holders

ABOVE: 11:11 makes passport holders in dozens of styles. The examples above are "International Money Currency" and "Map of Paris."

I've always been skeptical about the utility of passport holders, such as the leather covers that have long been a staple of travel-accessory catalogs and shops. But the folks at 11:11 Enterprises have changed my mind with their series of affordable "Art in your Pocket" passport holders, which are designed to fit U.S., Canadian, Mexican, and EU passports. (Other countries' passports may also fit the holders' dimensions, which are 3.75 x 5.25 inches or about 9.25 x 13.25 centimeters when closed.)

11:11's colorful plastic passport holders don't just make a fashion statement: They also make your passport stand out from others, which can be handy if you're traveling in a group or on a cruise ship. Being able to say "That's mine!" can speed things up when a tour leader, hotel clerk, or ship's receptionist is leafing through a pile of passports.

The available styles cater to a wide range of tastes, from the geeky ("Periodic Table of the Elements") to the local ("San Francisco Bay Map") to the weird ("Pink Wild West Cowboy"). Some of my own favorites include "Dog Stamps," "Audubon Green Birds," and--for a calorie-free pastry fix--"Potpourri of Pie."

In addition to passport holders, 11:11 Enterprises makes cardholders, checkbook covers, Moleskine notebooks with custom covers, bi-fold or tri-fold wallets, and condom cases. (Who can resist a condom case with a "Fat Boy's Pork Palace" or "Beefcake Southern Belles" theme?)

Other facts worth noting:

  • All of 11:11's products are handmade in the U.S.A. from recycled materials.

  • 11:11 is a classic modern American success story: The founder, a young art-school graduate named Jamila Starwater Tazewell, began selling her wallets and cardholders on the streets of Brooklyn in 2003 when she wasn't waiting tables or making handbags.

    Today, 11:11 Enterprises is based in Los Angeles, where Jamila Starwater Tazewell regards her products as "little emissaries of inspiration." She writes: "When you carry an 11:11 accessory, you carry a piece of my dream made real--a little victory you can hold in your hand. May they serve you well and remind you of the dreams you can make real, too."

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BELOW: To use an 11:11 "Art in your Pocket" passport holder, you simply slide the back cover of your passport into a transparent plastic sleeve.

Passport holders with passport