Unexciting Travel Vol. 2: Keeping your documents safe

Unexciting Travel Vol. 2:

Welcome back to my Unexciting Travel Series, where I highlight the less glamorous but important parts of travel. In Vol. 1 I covered how to budget whilst traveling to help you travel smarter, for longer. In this Vol., we’ll be talking about keeping your documents safe on the go.

It’s important to keep your documents safe when you’re traveling. Copies of your passport, travel insurance, important contact details, these are all things you do not want to lose. So how do you make sure you don’t? Redundancies. That’s how. The trick is having multiple copies, in multiple places, and I like to call it the 3, 2, 1 rule.

This rule has been several trips in the making, but I find that it is the perfect balance of preparation and implementation. It’s also got a catchy name. So let’s get started!


Physical copies: 3

The first step is to print off three physical copies. Three is the magic number. In filmmaking we have the phrase, “if you have one, you have none” – and what the essentially means is, at some point you’re going to lose whatever it is you need, so make sure you have more. Two copies is nice, but three is what you want. Have one copy in your main bag, have one copy in your day bag, and one copy on you. Simple. The great thing as well with having multiply physical copies is that sometimes you need to give over a copy of your passport, especially if you renting things like scooters and bikes. By having three, if you have to hand one over, you still have two copies, and then when you eventually lose one, you still have one left.


Digital copies: 2

You can print pretty much anywhere in the world. You can access a computer pretty much anywhere in the world. That’s why I recommend you store all of your documents digitally, on two separate USB sticks, one in your day bag, and one on your person. The main reason for this is if ever your physical copies get damaged, you can print off new ones. The reason for having two? Remember, if you have one…


Cloud copies: 1

The last place you want to store a copy of your documents is somewhere in the cloud. Everyone these days has some cloud storage somewhere, whether it’s on Dropbox, iCloud Drive, Google Drive, or, alternatively, email it to yourself. This is your failsafe. Your emergency back up. Your go to when sh*t hits the fan. When you leave your bag on a train, when you fall off a boat, when you bags get nicked; when all you have left is the clothes on you back, find your way to a computer, print off your docs, and get your life in order. Phone your insurance company, and phone your mum. It’s all going to be just fine.



How to keep documents safe
How to keep documents safe

1 Comment

  • Good advice. I also like to leave a copy with a loved one back home. I had colour photocopies of my passport when I travelled in Thailand. I lost my passport and rang the embassy. Having a colour copy made no difference, I still had to travel back to Bangkok, get photos taken, get local currency to buy a new one (so much for my emergency credit card), wait 48 hours for a new passport, then travel out to the immigration building and queue up to get it stamped. So you can be very prepared but ultimately it will depend on which country you are from (as per embassy's procedures) and the country you are in (I swear Thailand was just making jobs). I am now a passport security fiend and literally touch it with my hand every time I leave a venue or a form of transport ... I know someone who's mantra is "wallet, passport, testicles" when he is travelling - a check that he has all three! My new mantra is "wallet, passport, mobile" but you get the idea. Oh and after I got my passport back? My backpack got stolen at the airport with my photocopies of all travel documents! Thankfully my new replacement passport wasn't in there :)

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