When you are traveling, especially internationally, you need to pay attention to every detail. So many variables need to fall into place for your trip to go without a hitch. Odds are, somewhere you stumble and learn a lesson for your next trip. It’s happened to all of us. When it comes to what to bring and what to leave at home, you’ll be weighing a lot of options. Without any exception, you’ll want to remember these travel documents:
Your driver’s license, passport and travel visa
It should go without saying if you are traveling within your home country or outside of it, you’ll need identification. You can leave your voter registration card at home, but other than that – considering bringing everything (or at least copies of it).
For instance, if you are old enough to have a driver’s license, you probably will consider it silly to bring a copy of your birth certificate. But if you lose your passport along the way, you may be glad you have proof of U.S. citizenship in the safe at your hotel.
Copies of all of your identification documents
We touched upon this above, but we don’t just mean copies of documents where your originals are home. You want a copy of all your identification – one for each checked bag. Keep a hard copy of your documents in your carry-on and each checked bag of luggage with which you are traveling, in case any of them go missing during the trip.
These copies can help you in multiple situations. Lose the original identification? You’ve got copies to get you new ones – or home. Lose a bag? The airline or tour group has extra identification that it is indeed your luggage. We also recommend making digital copies and leaving them at home with a trusted loved one that can help if you need access to them while abroad.
Speaking of digital copies, check out the new "mobile passport" app from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It's been made available for U.S. citizens reentering the country, allowing travelers to "breeze through customs" when they return from an international trip. It could be a life savor if you misplace your passport during your trip. If you are traveling through other countries, those customs agents most likely will not recognize a mobile passport, but it could possibly help expedite the process to get a new passport book at the local embassy while you are abroad. Currently, mobile passport is available for use at one cruise port and 22 airports nationwide.
Travel insurance plan details
Yes, a hard copy of your travel insurance certificate can often times be very long (30-60 pages depending on the plan). If you should need to read the fine print of your travel insurance plan due to a stressful situation, you may be glad you have a copy.
Luckily, most travel insurance companies have a mobile app that can hold your travel insurance plan information, as well as all the information you need to call them and start the claims process. If you purchased your plan with InsureMyTrip, your certificate will be emailed to you. You can keep this file handy in your email inbox or download the PDF to your smartphone. If you download the information prior to leaving on your trip, when you are traveling, you won’t need a data plan or wireless internet to access it!
Your travel itinerary details
Whether you have only one reservation or several, you’ll want to keep copies of your itinerary in your travel luggage. This can help a myriad of ways. We particularly recommending having digital and hard copy proof that you already paid for a flight or a hotel, to avoid any questions if you arrive and they are questioning your reservation.
Also, if you should need to call your travel insurance company for any reason, you’ll have all the details on hand to explain the situation without hesitation. Not to mention, sometimes we just forget things! It’s great to have a reminder available whenever you need it.
Tickets for events when traveling
While some travelers prefer to have the tickets in their hand before they depart on their trip, others wait to grab the tickets from will call. Either way, you’ll want some documentation showing that you have already paid for the event. It could be the actual ticket, but you can also bring proof of purchase with you.
This way, if you arrive at the box office and they can’t find your ticket, you have proof you did pre-pay for the event.