Travel Information and Documents

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[edit] The Five Essentials

  1. Tickets.
  2. Money.
  3. Passport.
  4. Address/phone number of where you are going.
  5. Any necessary prescription medicines.

Even if you lose everything else, you'll still reach your destination. If you often stress out while travelling checking you have the "five things" at regular intervals can be really helpful.

[edit] Travel number list

A non-essential but really nice thing to have is a list of the important numbers in your life. It can be stored on paper in a wallet. I don't list my SS number or credit card numbers, but I do include:

    • all my frequent traveler numbers,
    • auto license, VIN, and maintenance shop phone numbers
    • voice mail access codes and control numbers
    • family and other key people's phone numbers
    • health insurance id and phone numbers
    • credit card company phone numbers
    • passport and drivers license numbers
    • local cab company numbers
    • user name and password for non-financial accounts frequently accessed while traveling

I don't need to carry many cards because I have their numbers on the list. After a friend died on a trip, I highlighted phone numbers for my doctor, home, and immediate family members. I continue to add numbers. The list is stored in a spreadsheet, printed out with several copies, trimmed to a 3"wide x 12"long piece of paper, folded accordian style so it can easily be opened, and stored in my wallet and if I remember in a suitcase. I usually carry a cell phone and a computer, but they are not as handy or reliable as a simple paper list.--CraigWellman 22:09, 29 June 2006 (EDT)

[edit] Recovery Preparation

Suppose you lost all your papers during your trip... starting from this assumption, imagine how you would have recovered:

  • Old fashion: make photocopies, and leave them with a trusted friend or relative -- who will presumably read off the information in an emergency, or mail them to you. Too cumbersome, and untimely!
  • Before embarking on your trip, leave yourself voice-mail with vital information: especially confirmation codes for reservations you have made. Reservations on paper has become a relic because the originator can readily access it on their server, given the code.
  • Alternative back-up: scan documents and e-mail them to yourself as attachments. This assumes that you can access readily your e-mail from any public terminal.
    • If security is a concern, encrypt the scanned document. E.g. scan into PDF and encrypt via Acrobat. For identification papers, use stronger encryption methods.

The basic idea above is to be able to quickly access your records, or pointers to them, from any readily available communications device. --gochess

[edit] Disaster Preparation

A New York Times article has generalized preparation to include:

  • mirroring data to an encrypted USB flash drive;
  • medical records, for example,
    • digitized copies of X-rays, scans and electrocardiograms;
    • more mundane, medical and optical prescriptions.
  • "tax returns for the last three years, a recent pay stub, birth certificates, marriage license, the deed to your home and insurance policy pages that list your coverage."
  • see also follow-up advice at Slashdot (-: do you really need to worry about electromagnetic pulses from a nuclear blast?) and other tidbits (iPod works as well):
    • "when they interview many of the Katrina refugees, a common regret is that they've lost family pictures."
    • keep a safety deposit box in another city.

If you do not have a scanner, a decent copy shop can force feed your documents into PDF files on a CD. --gochess

I was required to give a procedural speech for one of my public relations classes, and I did it on this very subject. Going through the lists and seeing how badly prepared I was made me reorganize my important records. It's such a simple idea, but going through and reading the article really makes you think about what you have and what you need. --Josh R. Holloway

[edit] Information for Customs and Immigration

On outbound flights, there's always someone panicking because they don't have a note of the address of their hotel and they need to write it on the customs/immigration card. It also really helps if you carry a pen to fill this card in. You can usually crib one from someone after they're finished, but it cuts the time you have to fill it in.

It's very helpful to note down your details, perhaps on a single small card, and carried somewhere accessible during the flight so that you don't have to search for, and juggle, multiple documents when filling out the customs and immigration cards.

The information you will need

  • Flight number and arrival date (may be different to dept date)
  • Where you are staying
  • Your passport no, nationality as described in the passport, place of issue, date of issue and expiry date

This can be re-used on the return flight.

If you're travelling to a country you haven't been to before, knowing the exact address and phone number you are going to is invaluable once you're at the airport or train station. Being able to call the hotel and ask directions, or showing them to a taxi driver who might not speak your language is invaluable. I always carry a printed itenerary of where and when I'll be along with the address and phone number. It's usually just one sheet of paper and I can keep it with my passport.

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