Dedicated to Mara's travel and hiking adventure journals as well as her words of wisdom and suggested resources for hikers and travelers.
This page is far from complete, but it still provides useful information...
Theft or loss is a real problem when traveling. How you´ve prepared in advance will determine whether such events are mere speed bumps during an enjoyable vacation or show stoppers that have you running for home as soon as possible.
The type of documents you are likely to carry include: plane tickets; credit cards; traveler´s checks; cash; itinerary; insurance cards; extra passport photos; and more. Should any or all of these get stolen or go missing, advance preparation can make recovery relatively quick and easy. Traditionally, advice was to make photocopies of all such documents and have your travel companion keep a copy. But, you´re often traveling together and they might be subject to the same situation you´re in or you´re traveling alone and have to keep it all with you anyway. You might also make a photocopy for trusted family and friends to keep at home but time differences and the potential they may be traveling when you have a problem could interfere with their ability to help.
Now, with the widespread availability of internet access worldwide, relying on others can now take a backseat to technology.
Prior to traveling, scan all of your important documents and email them to yourself in whatever free, web-based email account you choose. The simpler the site with the fewest graphical downloads is best for those times when your internet access may be slow. As a jpg, the information contained within is not searchable online but can be printed from wherever you find yourself in trouble. Being able to print your passport image can speed up the process for replacing your passport if necessary, and can smooth the waiting period in situations such as checking into hotels where your passport number is required.
For credit and debit cards, you´ll then know exactly which cards have been stolen and will have the phone numbers to call to cancel those cards and have replacements sent.
It´s still a good idea to keep a photocopy of all this information with you (with the exception of the first 9 digits of your credit and debit card numbers), but by not relying on having your paper backup, you speed the process of recovery in the unfortunately instance when all goes missing.
Last updated, January 9, 2009.
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