When you go on a trip, especially overseas, all travellers should consider what they would do if they lost or had their important travel documents stolen. While this might not be a big problem here domestically, but once you are in another country, it’s a whole different ballpark.

If a traveller is not prepared before they leave on their trip, they should be prepared that they will spend a lot of lost time, money, and most often, patience trying to recover from this significant inconvenience.

Storing travel documents so you can have easy access to them in an emergency is not difficult, but travellers must have a method before they leave so they can quickly get on with their trip. Here are a few tips to help.

Step 1

Make copies of all important travel documents before you leave on your trip. Copies should include the following documents:

Passport (including pages within prior countries visited

Credit cards;
Birth certificate;
Work permit;
Driver’s license; and/or
Any other important documents.
When making copies of credit cards, do not make copies of the CV code on the back of the card – or better yet, just obliterate that number. Know that the back of most credit cards have the banks phone numbers to call to contact the card issuer in case of an emergency.

When possible, make copies of these documents in both colour and black and white. Store the copies as a bundle (one copy of each document per bundle). While having copies won’t get you back on the plane, they will help you if you have to go to the embassy and get new documentation.

Step 2

Get a second set of passport photos taken at the same time you get your originals taken. This will save you time if you need to replace your passport.

Step 3

Have all of these documents digitally scanned and email them to yourself so you have access to them in case of an emergency. By doing so, you will have access to them anywhere in the world. This can be very valuable if you lost all of your ID and need to help prove who you are.

Step 4

Bring one set of the copies with you on your trip–particularly if you are traveling overseas. Keep the copies in your hotel safe.

Step 5

Depending on the country you are visiting, you usually don’t have to keep your passport with you during the day, and keeping it in hotel safe behind the front desk is usually the safest place. Many travellers just keep a copy of their passport with them.

When in transit, keep your original travel documents on your person – stored in some type of travel document wallet or holder. Several different types are available, however you might want to consider ones that have built in anti theft security features – as well as ones that provide RFID protection to the newly issued passport and credit cards that contain RFID chips.

Women should be very careful when placing their documents in purses and handbags, and they can easily fall victim to slick fingered pickpockets and bag snatchers.

Step 5

If you think your documents may be exposed to water, consider keeping your documents in a waterproof or resistant case. You can purchase a waterproof travel document folder and wallets if needed, otherwise, you can easily use a zip-style plastic bag to keep your documents safe from rain to a leaky sun tan lotion bottle in your travel bag. Be careful. When you’re in a crowded place, either at the airport, a party, a bus or train station or a store, keep a low profile. Don’t wear a lot of jewellery or other “affluent” styles of clothing. You don’t want to call attention to yourself as either a tourist or as someone who might have something worth taking

Sit in bulkhead or exit row aisles. Bulkheads offer extra leg room and no one can recline his seat back into your face. Remember that you have to store your carry-on luggage in the overheads. Exit rows have the luxury of extra foot room, but you must be able to open the emergency door, if needed.

Dress for duress. Wear flat-soled, lace-up shoes so you can loosen them if your feet swell. Rubber soles might catch on the exit slide during an emergency, and dress shoes don’t adjust for swelling.

Protect your bags. Checked bags can get lost. If you have to check, use curbside skycaps to avoid lugging heavy bags through the terminal. Always use luggage locks; some baggage handlers get over-curious about what’s in your bag.

Entertain yourself. Bring plenty of magazines; they’re lighter than books and disposable. Don’t forget your iPod, either; it’s the perfect way to catch up on those podcasts you’ve been meaning to listen to or to avoid unwelcome chatter from the person sitting next to you.

Do “air-aerobics”. A number of airlines offer in-seat exercise routines to help reduce swelling and pain from cramped muscles and reduced circulation. A number of airlines offer in-flight tips.

Fix your posture. Airline seats don’t adjust for relaxed spinal posture. Support your lumbar spine with a rolled-up blanket and your head and neck with a pillow. Another pillow or blanket to prop up your feet will relieve pressure on the backs of your thighs.

Sit up front. A recently released Harvard study found air quality in aircraft cabins didn’t meet minimum standards for office buildings. You’ll find less carbon dioxide in forward seats. During layovers, get off and take a walk; breathe deeply.

Drink eight ounces of water every hour. Airplane air has only 1% to 10% humidity, even less than most deserts. You’ll need more than the two small cart drinks offered on most flights. Bring your own bottle, and ask for a fill up on the first round of drinks; avoid coffee, alcohol and carbonated drinks, which are dehydrating diuretics.

Eat light. Even if you order vegetarian meals, everything but fruit plates contains too much salt and fat. Bring your own healthy snacks, like dehydrated soups or nutrition bars. Don’t overeat, since your internal organs naturally swell due to cabin pressure changes.

Use daylight to adjust to a new time zone. The Association of Flight Attendants said the secret is to follow the same wake-up, bedtime, work and meal hours in your new location as in your old time zone. Don’t try to catch up on sleep by going to bed right after you land or trying to stay up just because you gained a few hours. You’ll adjust more quickly if your follow the clock.