How to Keep Copies of Important Travel Documents Without Losing Them

Regardless of where you are traveling, you’re bound by travel documents – whether it be a driver’s license, a passport, visa or other official paper. Lose any one of these, and you could beastly stranded and won’t be able to get home or to your destination without great difficulty.

  • Several years ago, my wallet was stolen about three hours prior to needing to get onto a flight from LAX to MSP. In it was my driver’s license, and of course, I needed this to board the plane.
  • Several years ago, my Aunt’s passport was stolen outside of Nice, France by a pickpocket on a train. Of course, she’d need this to get on the plane home.

Learning lessons from both of these incidents, there are several tactics I use to keep track of important travel documents in the event something gets lost, or, worse, stolen.

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Keep Copies with Friends Family at Home

I keep a copy of my passport with my family at home – people I know will be home if I need them, and access to the copies. You can keep these with a trusted friend or family member, so long as you know when won’t lose the documents themselves. 🙂

Keep Copies in Your Email

I have copies of my passport and driver’s license in a selected email account, that I’ve emailed to myself. God forbid I’m abroad and needing either of these in a picture printout, all I need is a computer with WiFi and I can login and access them. Of course, you’ll want to make sure this email account is ultra secure since you’ll now have sensitive data inside.

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Keep Copies in Your Luggage

I also have a copy of each of my important travel documents in a secret compartment somewhere on my luggage. This way, I’ll always know I have access to them without needing a computer, or someone back home.

So, how did each the incidents I mentioned get resolved? Regarding my stolen wallet, I had to file a police report with the LAX PD and they issued a statement that I could give to TSA letting them know about my stolen ID. Once at the checkpoint, I was asked to provide some personal information to the TSA officer who then called a special phone number to verify my identity. About 20 minutes later, I was let through. With my Aunt’s passport, she was forced to go to the US consulate in Marseilles where they issued a temporary, emergency passport allowing her to cross the border into home. This took a day out of their travels, and could have been expedited had they had a picture of their documents.

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  1. Andy D. says

    Emailed to yourself? What is this, 2006? Google Drive, my friend! 😛 Other than that, nice tips.

    (Losing btw, not loosing)

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