Oftentimes an international trip becomes more than a vacation and winds up a singular life experience. Of course before one can embark on such epic journeys across borders they need to remember to pack their passport. The traveler should view the passport as his or her most precious item, as there is no getting in or out of a foreign country without it.
And the loss or theft of a passport while traveling can be devastating to the point that it results in exorbitant replacement fees as well as travel schedule delays.
That’s why it’s important to take as many precautions as possible regarding one’s passport when planning that trip abroad.
1. Carry Paper Copies of All Relevant Travel Documents
In most countries the first step to getting a replacement passport requires providing a photocopy of said passport to the traveler’s relevant embassy. To this end travelers should prepare well in advance of their trip by making at least two copies of their passport (credit cards and birth certificate as well) and keeping one copy for the journey while leaving the other in the safe hands of a family member or friend.
2. Scan Copies of All Relevant Travel Documents
This is similar to the first tip regarding carrying paper copies, but in today’s digital age scanning can really reduce the headache of document replacement. For example, by scanning passports, birth certificates and credit cards, the traveler can immediately access and present this information to the appropriate agency – even remotely. But it’s important for the traveler to ensure they have a secure email account in which to access this important info.
3. Upload Documents to a Secure Website
For those who feel that email isn’t convenient enough, there is always the option to upload digital photos or scans of a passport and credit cards to a personal account of a secure website. Flickr is a popular option for this; it presents slides of all relevant photos that is a single click away in any Internet café.
4. Purchase Security Gear
There are plenty of security cases designed for travelers such as the storage belt and bra stash. And these are definitely secure places to store a passport while traveling. But the apparatus of travel security have become decidedly high-tech these days, with radio-wave blocking passport covers geared to prevent ID theft.
5. Store Passports Separately From Currency
While monetary theft can be devastating to a traveler, there’s no need to let the thieves get a hold of important documents, like a passport, as well. To this end it is vital to store cash and credit cards in a separate, secure location than where the passport is stored. In fact, the safest bet when traveling is to keep as little currency on hand as possible and keep everything vital (keys, passports, cards, cash) on the front of one’s body, preferably in a security belt or other carrier.
By following these simple rules of thumb, travelers should be able to protect not just their passports, but other important documents and cards as well. And should the unthinkable happen and the passport of the traveler becomes lost or stolen, then replacements are right at hand.
Dan Ripoll is the founder of WithoutTheStress.com, a nationwide passport expedite service specializing in same day passports in Los Angeles renewals, child passports, passport cards, lost or stolen passports and second valid passports.