One of the handiest things I do when traveling is scan all my travel documents.
As both mum and I travel with tablets (like iPads), when I scan the items I create a folder and store all the copies of the documents there.
I upload these to my tablet, my phone, and I email them to myself and a family member back home.
I scan our passport photo pages, along with visa pages and vaccination certifications. If you do not have a scanner, take a photo instead and upload it. It works just as well. Among other essential travel documents you want to keep a record of:
- flight itineraries;
- any hotel or hire car reservation or bookings;
- travel insurance certificates & contact details;
- emergency contacts;
- the front of credit cards and drivers licenses;
- prescriptions for medication, reading glasses, etc.
I also take photos of the labels of all my prescription medicine bottles.
You cannot imagine how handy it has been to have these travel documents scanned and ready on the tablet. I no longer have to fetch passports out of the plane’s overhead locker to fill out entry or visa forms.
I also photocopy the passports. Even after you have a scanned copy of your passports, it’s worth having paper copies with you as well. That way if you need to leave your passport at a hotel check-in or a tour venue you can leave the copy instead of the original. They are usually the last thing I put in my suitcase, so it is on top and easy to find if my lost suitcase has had its tags removed.
With hotel bookings, I take a screen grab from my computer of the information or location page with the address in the local language.
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I also search the address in Google Maps and take a few screen grabs of the map returned. I take at least one from a distance, showing major roads or subway stops. I takes others closer, showing the local streets around the hotel. That’s because, I got lost, once, going to buy water and the street signs were in Chinese only.
Google Maps displays directions in local language which is quite handy. I have used these maps so many times to show taxi drivers where we are going, or to orientate myself getting out of a subway system.
Because I have no sense of direction, none at all, I put this in my phone and carry it even when it’s in airplane mode. Saving useful maps on your phone ensures off connection access and saves mobile data.
I also take photos of my bags. Having had lost luggage 3 times, this is great for identifying them in foreign lands, where they might not speak English. Below is a photo of that missing suitcase.
Rebecca Thomsen has a blog (Travel with Mum) about the joys and challenges of travelling with an elderly person
She travels the world by air, by road or by sea with her nearly 80 year old mother. They have travelled far and wide from Antarctica, Svalbard and the Arctic Polar Ice, Egypt, China, Indonesia, South America and all over Europe and America.