Having a Backup Plan for Your Travel Documents
When you’re traveling (especially when traveling on your own), making sure you have a full-proof backup plan for your travel documents (i.e. in case you lose them) should be one of your top priorities before you set off.
Why is this? Your travel documents will help you get into different countries (without them you’ll be denied access at borders) and will help you if you have health problems (e.g. if the doctors needs to know you’re diabetic) or in times of emergency (if your credit card is stolen or if you need to call home).
So what do I mean by ‘travel documents’? With this I mean your:
- Travel insurance.
- Credit card information.
- Driver’s license/ID.
- Any important health information (e.g. if you’re diabetic).
- A list of emergency phone numbers.
- Your travel itinerary (including flight times/locations). This is so people at home know your basic travel plan and where you’re supposed to be on which days.
There are lots of ways you can backup your travel documents:
- Photocopy your documents twice. Give one photocopy to your friends/family at home.
- Keep the second set of photocopies in your bag/backpack/suitcase (in a separate place from your actual travel documents. There’s no point keeping them together in case your bag gets stolen).
- Scan your documents on your computer so that you have them saved electronically. Email them to yourself so that you have them in your inbox (meaning you can download them from anywhere in the world).
- Put your scanned documents onto a small USB flash drive and take it with you (again, store it separately from your ‘real’ travel documents).
I strongly recommend doing the first 3 things on this list whenever you travel, and the fourth if you want to be ultra-careful.
Why is it necessary to do all of these things?
There will be times when you lose your luggage, so your only method of retrieving your documents is via your email or your USB flash drive. Alternatively, if there is no computer nearby to do this, you’ll be glad you photocopied your documents so that you have an actual physical copy you can take with you.
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