To keep your travel documents safe you need to exercise a variety of precautions, including using covers and secure bags, stopping at hotels with safes, and making copies. These papers are your most important possession while abroad, so it’s imperative to protect them to the best of your ability. Preparing for a trip in advance will help you secure your documents and reduce the risk of getting stranded somewhere without any proof of identity.
4 Tips That Will Help Keep Travel Documents Safe
1. Make multiple copies
First of all, you should have at least two copies of every important document when you travel. It will be best to have three or four, but two is the absolute minimum. This will prepare you for the situation when your other security methods fail and the papers get lost or damaged. It’s because of this that a US traveler is legally able to have more than one passport.
Store copies in different places and keep one on you at all times. This will reduce the risk of losing all of them. Don’t forget to have extra copies of your photos that you might need if you have to replace some papers through the local embassy. These might not be necessary, but it’s best to have them on hand.
To be as safe as you can, leave one set of copies with your local emergency contact. This can be a friend, relative, employers, or even your hotel manager.
2. Protect papers from weather
Remember that it’s not only thieves that you need to keep travel documents safe from. Weather or rough handling can be just as damaging. The most basic and efficient protection for your most important document is using passport covers. You will also need to get waterproof envelopes/bags/packets/covers that will hold the rest of your essential travel papers.
Documents have to be protected from humidity and physical damage first as these are the most common problems you’ll face. Please note that extensive water damage might require you contacting the embassy to have a new document issued while abroad as you might not be able to use your old one at the customs.
The bags you carry papers in should also be weatherproof.
3. Keep the papers close to you
The papers that you carry on your person should be kept in inner pockets or other secure places to minimize the risk of pickpocketing. If you carry them in your bag or purse, place them so the documents cannot be seen when you open it. Covers will be handy again in this case.
Inside your luggage, hide the documents or their copies within your clothes. When traveling, keep all your bags near you. If it’s impossible, at least your backpack or purse with the most essential items (travel documents, money, etc.) should remain on your lap.
If you will not need to use your passport but should have it in you, consider using items, like underwear or other clothing with hidden pockets. This will be a wise choice for travelers who visit places with high crime rates, like Argentina or India.
4. Find security storage
The most efficient way to keep travel documents safe is to leave them in a safe. However, if your room and hotel do not have one, you have to create your own secure storage. Using a bag with a travel lock is a must.
Yet, someone might simply take the bag. To prevent this you should stay in trustworthy places only and have a room or storage space that locks. You should also take some initiative and hide the bag containing your most precious possessions. Consider having a small secure bag for documents and valuables that you can hide in your luggage.