There are many things we love about international travel. Seeing new places, experiencing new cultures, seeing fisheries we’d never get a chance to explore if we just sat at home. Alongside that dose of adventure, however, comes a new set of logistical challenges. International travelers must juggle a passport, additional cash, tickets, and a variety of other documents on each trip.
Managing the security of passports and paperwork while traveling abroad can require a bit of forethought, and a good dose of awareness. Knowing how to keep documents secure—and what to do in case something goes missing—is a good thing before you actually have to deal with a problem.
I was recently at a lodge where a rogue wave hit a snorkeling boat (the snorkelers were already in the water) and the boat flipped over. Everyone was safely rescued, but several of the travelers had their backpacks in the boat, complete with wallets, phones, and passports. Divers were able to rescue the packs later that afternoon, but the incident brought to mind the question: What if the packs were lost? The snorkelers had no back-ups of their passports or driver’s licenses; no copies stored in the cloud or filed away with family in the States. Without their packs, they would suddenly have been ID-less in a foreign country.
Keeping travel paperwork safe might seem like a complex task, but it’s really not. Here are a few key tips on how you can keep your paperwork secure, and manage any incidents if something goes missing.
Harding Bush, a former Navy SEAL and associate manager of operations for Global Rescue, notes it’s worth protecting more than just your passport.
“Important documents during international travel go beyond just your passport and include a driver’s license or other identity cards, medical insurance or evacuation service information, medical prescriptions, bank cards and credit cards, and your important contacts list,” he said.