It’s common advice: bring copies of your travel documents when travelling.
But what travel documents are everyone actually talking about? What types of travel documents do you need to travel abroad anyways? What does “international travel documents” even mean!?
Ok slow down. It can be a lot of work to travel, but with this complete list of travel documents below, you can check this off your list and make it easy!
Why Should You Carry Copies of Travel Documents When Travelling?
It’s to cover your own booty really.
You could simply lose your passport or wallet. Or a bit worse, they get stolen.You could try to enter an attraction that requires your passport and you didn’t realize it, but ahah! You have a copy. Or maybe something extreme happens that prevents you from getting to your belongings in your accommodation and you need proof of residency.
Whatever the potential, you want to be prepared. If you have a copy of your passport and IDs you will be able to get a replacement much faster.
If you have a photo of your credit card and the numbers to call to cancel (I know, I know, you can just look it up online, but what if there’s no wifi/service?) you can still call from a local phone.
If you have a copy of your accommodations address and phone number you can get help in locating it.
I know, these are all a bit far fetched. But that’s what we are preparing for, the unexpected. Don’t wait until you are in one of these situations and panicked to think “dang! I wish I had listened to Cali and made a copy of that!” 😉
(Do you disagree and think this is too much? Have smartphones made this irrelevant? Let me know why you think that in the comments, would love to learn a new perspective on this!).
What Do You Mean by “Copies”?
Good question- I mean literal hard copy copies. Like, on paper. Very old school.
However, in some cases I think you can get by with simply having a screenshot on your phone. I like the idea of hard copies because you never know when you might run out of battery, break your phone, or maybe even lose it. But to each his own.
You could even have everything also backed up on a flash drive as long as you are really careful with it.
I would also suggest you send an electronic copy of these documents to someone you trust that is not travelling with you, just in case you need someone to send you them again.
So that’s enough blabbing, What Are All These Travel Document Copies You Need?:
This isn’t optional. Make a copy or two. Keep them in separate places.
Travel Visa (if applicable)
Depending on where you are travelling and for how long you will need a visa. This will usually be in your passport, but make a copy in case it gets ripped out, you lose your passport, or you just need to show it to an official.
Make a copy of your card! Back and front.
Medical Information Documents (including vaccination sheets if applicable)
Depending on your health situation you may not need this, but have any allergies or disabilities? Make sure you have something listing these all in one place just in case.
As for vaccine lists, if you are travelling somewhere that you have to prove you have a certain vaccine (Malaria for example) make sure you keep a copy of the proof that you do actually have it!
Credit Card(s)- Front and Back
Make sure you know the number to call in case you need to unlock or cancel it!
Driver’s license or Other Form of ID
Sometimes you are asked for two types of ID, your passport and driver’s license should suffice. This is especially useful if your passport is lost/stolen, you will need to provide multiple forms of proof you are who you say.
This isn’t as needed these days with phones, but I like to have all my plans written down just in case.
Hotel/Hostel/AirBnb Addresses and Numbers
You just never know when you will need this. Maybe your Uber driver can’t figure out the app or understand you and you need to just show them where you are going. Maybe you are bad with directions or names of establishments, I don’t know, but have a copy of where you are staying safe that night, why wouldn’t you just in case?
Confirmation of Payments/Reservation
This is another one that could be on your phone (as a screenshot, don’t count on having service!) but you don’t want to get to your awesome attraction and for some reason they can’t find your reservation or that you paid. Come prepared to prove otherwise.
And that’s it! The travel documents you need copies of to travel abroad. Sure, you don’t need all of them, but I really would suggest you think through your trip and take a copy when in doubt. You know, under pack and over prepare!
Anything I missed? Have an app that does this better? Hate carrying paper or had a copy save your travels? Let us know in the comments!