International Travel Documents – What to bring and How to keep them safe
Planning a holiday can be so exciting. Where you’re going to stay! What you will see! The sights you will take in! All the amazing food you will eat.
But what about all your travel documents? Are they all in order?
Here’s a list of everything you need, plus practical tips on how to keep everything organised, safe, and easily accessible.
- Your passport. This is the big one. Double check your passport hasn’t expired and is within six months of expiring; also make sure you don’t forget passports for your children.
- Ensure you have a copy of the picture page of your passport and extra passport photos.
- Any visas that can be acquired in advance, including those for countries you will only be travelling through. There are 33 countries UK passport holders need a visa in advance for, you can check the list here.
- Your airline miles card.
- A copy of your itinerary.
- Have originals as well as paper copies of your tickets (train, plane, bus, etc.) with any confirmation numbers (hotel reservations, car rental, etc.) and all contact info for these companies.
- Guidebook for countries you are visiting along with maps of your driving route along with city maps if you’ll be exploring a new city.
- An international driver’s license if your planning on driving.
- Travellers’ cheques. Bring a copy of your traveller’s cheques register. In some cases, withdrawing cash may be easier and less expensive than cashing traveller’s cheques. Ask your bank if you can use your debit card at cash machines in the country you are visiting.
- The contact information of all the people you would need to contact in case of an emergency. Plus, don’t forget the numbers of the consulates where you will be staying. These numbers can be stored in your phone. Simply designate a consistent label for them for easy access so they can be easily deleted when your trip is over.
- Take Copies front and back of your debit cards that you will be taking with you.
When you have collected all your essential documents and their copies, the first thing you should check is that your name appears the same on all documents. This may seem simple enough, but it can be a big headache if your names don’t match.
Next, scan your papers and send them to yourself in an email and also to your emergency contact(s).
In addition, you could also take a USB stick with encrypted copies of your images. If it gets stolen no one can access the information without the password. You can keep this USB stick in a discreet place, along with some extra money. This would be an absolute last resort in the rare event that you lose everything.
Select someone from your family or a close friend who will act as your representative while you are on holiday. They can have access to major accounts if needed. This way, you have a trustworthy contact who always knows where you are and available at any time.
Keep your copies (passport, tickets, reservations etc,) in a waterproof zip bag away and in a separate luggage bag from the originals. It’s stressful enough to lose your passport, but to have it stolen from the same bag where all your copies are will be worse.
When out sightseeing, don’t forget to carry any essential documents on your person, ideally in a waterproof bag that can be worn under your clothing.
Once you have all your information together, you can travel with confidence knowing you’re secure in the chance of an unexpected mishap. Plus the bonus of knowing you have laid all the groundwork for future holidays.