Tips for Protecting Your Travel Documents on the Go
Vacations are supposed to be fun and carefree. But, they can easily turn nightmarish if you suddenly realize you’re missing your passport or other important travel documents.
Nobody wants to think about the worst possible scenarios, but sometimes it’s a good idea to listen to that little voice in the back of your head telling you to double (or triple) check everything.
Of course, accidents happen all the time. While it would be fruitless to blame yourself for losing something important or getting robbed, there are a few things you could do to minimize the risks.
So, sit back and relax while we share some useful tips for protecting your travel documents while on the go.
First and foremost, you want to make sure that, if the situation arises, you have a plan B.
By plan B we mean making copies of all your essential documents before heading out for your next trip. This might sound like a hassle, but it can help you out a lot if you ever find yourself in a foreign country with no passport, ID or other travel documents containing all your information.
The best way to do this is to make copies and email them to yourself so you’ll be able to access your information wherever you are.
While you might be tempted to simply snap a few photos and keep them in your smartphone, we generally don’t recommend this for security reasons. Chances are that your phone might get lost or stolen and in the latter scenario, the person in possession of your phone will now have all your credit card info and personal information.
If you do end up in such an unfortunate situation, the first thing you’ll want to do is find your embassy and report the case. You may ask them to use their computer to access your email and retrieve your info, as the officials will require you to provide your passport number, expiry date, and other crucial information.
You’ll also be able to access your credit card information, so you’ll be able to report the situation and cancel the card. Another good idea is to authorize a family member to cancel the card or block the account in case it gets stolen.
This usually doesn’t take long and just requires a short trip to your local bank with the person you’re authorizing. Depending on the bank, you’ll need to bring your IDs and probably sign a consent form. It’s a good idea to contact the bank beforehand to check whether they need any additional documents to process the change.
Lock ‘em up
While it might be tempting to simply throw your documents in your backpack or keep them in the back pocket of your jeans for easier accessibility, this might not be the most practical and safe solution.
Now, some of you might think that buying a new wallet or an additional bag is a waste of money (and space). But, I can assure you that it’s one of the most valuable purchases you’ll make.
Unlike regular wallets that are made to just store your money, credit cards and other documents, travel wallets are also equipped with handy features such as RFID blocking, tear-resistant fabrics, and smart locking mechanisms among other things. These features help deter pickpockets and ensure your safety from digital theft.
Anti-theft bags usually have similar characteristics to travel wallets. But they’re generally more spacious and can fit plenty of other items as well. The two combined make an excellent security duo for keeping your valuables safe and sound.
Keep it separate
Most people who travel in groups, especially families, make a mistake before even starting their trip.
In pursuit of a more organized and stress-free vacation, many people tend to keep all their documents in the same place, close together. This might sound like a good idea at first, seeing as it minimizes the stress of misplacing the documents or rummaging through different luggage to find what you need. But, in reality, it’s a typical rookie error.
Imagine traveling with four or more people and keeping all the documents in one pack. In this scenario, if your backpack gets stolen or lost then all the members of your party are left with no identification, no passport, and no credit cards. Pretty scary right?
Now, although it can get a bit disorganized, it’s always better to keep the documents in separate places. Every person should be equipped with a secure bag and carry their documents with them. Unless you’re traveling with children, of course. In that case, a parent or guardian should take care of their travel essentials.
It’s also a good idea to keep a few stashes of cash in different pockets. That way, if you’re left empty-handed, you can always rely on a small amount of money to get you through the day until you resolve the situation.
This might seem obvious, but keep a close eye on your documents whenever you’re traveling.
You can always invest in a travel wallet with a lanyard that you can hang around your neck and under your shirt. Or, try a travel belt which you can carry around your waist.
It’s always a good idea to be wary of people on the street. Especially those who approach you trying to sell you something or ask you to borrow a pen or piece of paper. This doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone will try and scam you. But, thieves do exist and gullible tourists are their usual targets.
Try not to wave your credit cards or money around, because you’ll draw unwanted attention to yourself and your stash of travel documents. As we mentioned in the previous section, keep your items separate and use a smaller amount of cash when paying for things.
That’s a wrap!
Getting robbed or losing your possessions can definitely ruin your vacation. But, when talking about protecting your documents, there’s another aspect you should keep in mind.
Rain and inclement weather are casual perpetrators that can also affect the outcome of your vacation. If you want your documents to survive heavy showers, drops in the ocean or even spilled beverages, make sure to wrap them up in something waterproof.
There are plenty of products out there with water-repellent and water-resistant finishes. They allow you to keep all your documents safe and dry.
Of course, if you’re not keen on spending additional money on waterproof gear, a trusty plastic bag should do the trick.