When planning your trip, especially overseas, you need to plan what you would do if you lost or had your important travel documents stolen. While this might be an inconvenience domestically, once you are in another country it grows into a time-consuming and frustrating problem. Have peace of mind knowing your contingency plan is in place. How would you replace documents overseas – knowing that:
Storing travel documents so you can have easy access to them in an emergency is not difficult, but you must have a method before you leave.Here are a few tips to help.
Make copies of all important travel documents before you leave on your trip. Copies should include the following documents:
When making copies of credit cards, do not make copies of the CV code on the back of the card – or better yet, just obliterate that number. Know that the back of most credit cards have the banks phone numbers to call to contact the card issuer in case of an emergency.
When possible, make copies of these documents in both color and black and white. Store the copies as a bundle (one copy of each document per bundle). While having copies won’t get you back on the plane, they will help you if you have to go to the embassy and get new documentation.
Get a second set of passport photos taken at the same time you get your originals taken. This will save you time if you need to replace your passport.
The old way to copy these important documents was to make photo copies – the new way is to make digital scans of these documents so they can be stored electronically and safely. There are a few ways to do this, including:
The idea here is to have electronic copies of your travel documents to save space and aggravation, but remember, these are critical documents and if stolen, they could cause you a lot of harm with identity thieves, so guard them closely. Make sure if you place these items online, you need to make sure you give your friend the password access to these files if needed. If you can’t get to a computer with a printer or one with Internet access, you can call your friend and have them send the copies by email, fax, or courier to the nearest embassy or to another trusted contact.
Bring one set of the copies with you on your trip–particularly if you are traveling overseas. Keep the copies in your hotel safe.
Depending on the country you are visiting, you usually don’t have to keep your passport with you during the day, and keeping it in hotel safe behind the front desk is usually the safest place. Many travelers just keep a copy of their passport with them.
When in transit, keep your original travel documents on your person – stored in some type of travel document wallet or holder. Several different types are available, however you might want to consider ones that have built in anti-theft security features – as well as ones that provide RFID protection of passport and credit cards that contain RFID chips for maximum peace of mind.
Women should be very careful when placing their documents in purses and handbags, and they can easily fall victim to slick fingered pickpockets and bag snatchers.
If you think your documents may be exposed to water, consider keeping your documents in a waterproof or resistant case. You can purchase a waterproof travel document folder and wallets if needed, otherwise, you can easily use a zip-style plastic bag to keep your documents safe from rain to a leaky sun tan lotion bottle in your travel bag. Here are a few waterproof travel document holders to consider.
Be careful. When you’re in a crowded place, either at the airport, a party, a bus or train station or a store, keep a low profile. Don’t wear a lot of jewelry or other “affluent” styles of clothing. You don’t want to call attention to yourself as either a tourist or as someone who might have something worth taking.