Everyone should carry a photo ID with them when traveling. Just because you are not driving does not mean its ok to leave your driver’s license (photo id) at home.
There are many instances in the U.S. where you’ll be asked to produce some form of photo ID. When it’s just your age that’s being verified, a passport will often suffice, although personally, I’d be afraid of losing mine. In other cases, however, you need something that gives your name, date of birth and your street address. So, given that you never quite know when you’ll need ID, best to keep it tucked somewhere safe at all times.
So, apart from the most obvious situations that require ID (opening a bank account, getting a job), here are a few that may slip your mind . . .
Getting into bars
Some bars card everyone as a matter of course. It’s often a young employee doing this, to whom everyone over 30 looks ancient, don’t give them a hard time – just show them your ID!
In many large stores, the cashier will ask for ID when selling you booze and swipe your license. Different stores have different policies.
In 2006, the government banned over-the-counter sales of cold medicine that contain the ingredient pseudoephedrine, which is commonly used to make methamphetamine. In other words, when purchasing some cold medications you are required to produce photo ID, and the pharmacist records the purchase. In an attempt to combat the misuse of controlled drugs, some states also require ID when picking up prescriptions.
Getting on a plane
A reminder for most people, but you will not be able to board a commercial plane without producing ID along with your boarding pass or e-ticket. It’s also a good idea to make sure the name on the boarding pass matches the one on your ID exactly, just in case they get picky. I know you’re thinking… I signed up for a motorcoach tour… I’m not flying! Well you never know what can or may happen. Like on a previous tour, a lady fell and broke her hip and could not continue the motorcoach tour. She had to fly home. Good thing she had her Photo ID with her. (not only for the airport but for the hospital, too!).
If you purchase anything to be picked up later (such as theatre tickets), you will usually be asked for ID before the goods are handed over.
Writing a check
Though checks are headed the way of the dodo, if on occasion you write one in a store you will be asked for photo ID that verifies your name and address. In some cases, when paying with a credit or debit card you‘ll be asked for accompanying photo ID.
It is illegal everywhere to drive without holding a valid, current driving license, but some states also have penalties for not physically producing your license if stopped by the police for a traffic violation. In some cases, this is a correctable violation or “fix it” ticket, allowing you to produce ID subsequently and avoid a citation, but it’s wise to know your state’s unique laws. The requirement to show police your ID in other situations also varies by state.
If you’re doing an activity such as skiing, boating, even renting bikes, it’s a good idea to have ID on you just in case anything happens. If you are using their equipment they may require an ID.