For peace of mind when traveling for work or pleasure, we have one very important piece of advice. Make paper backups of all your travel documents. That’s right, PAPER backups. In this high-tech world, paper is the tried-and-true classic that will ensure you are ready for almost anything.
There are a lot of documents we need to keep track of when we are on the road or in flight. In addition to itineraries we carry passports, visas and tickets. And while most of us keep a lot of them on our phone, backup paper copies are just practical. Why? Simple. Phones get lost, stolen or broken. They can be misplaced, pick-pocketed or dropped on the ground one too many times. Even the State Department suggests we make two copies of all our travel documents, one to carry with us and one to leave with a relative at home in case of an emergency.
When traveling domestically, you want to have a photo copy of your driver’s license or an equivalent state ID. When traveling internationally, be sure to have multiple photo copies of your passport identification page and any visas required. No, a photo copy of a passport does not have the same power as an actual passport, but if you do lose it, a photo copy of the identification page will make obtaining a replacement much easier.
In addition to photo copies of your IDs, we have included a few more documents you will want to bring paper copies of the next time you travel:
- Photo copies of any original hotel, car rental or tour package confirmations.
- Cell phone information: Account and contact numbers for your phone’s provider will go a long way. If your cell phone is misplaced or stolen, you may need to contact your carrier with any pertinent account information. You may also need to file a police report. A police report may require the phone’s identification number, so you will want to include that too.
- Credit card information: Photo copy the front and back of your card and include customer service numbers for both domestic and international.
- Airline, rail and bus tickets: It is better to be safe than sorry. Depending on the carrier, print tickets are still sometimes required.
So next time you plan on traveling, plan on paper. With copies of your important documents in your carry-on or checked bag, your trip will be smooth sailing.