1. Travel

Travel with Photocopies of Your Passport and Credit Cards


Woman holding money and coffee at street market, mid section
Reggie Casagrande/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Suppose you’re walking down a street in a foreign country and a thief cuts the strap on your waist pack or slips your wallet out of your pocket. Or, you were laughing at a friend’s comment when leaving that outdoor café and forgot to grab your purse that was hidden under the table. Either way, your money, credit cards and maybe even your passport are gone.

What do you do now?

If you have photocopies of your passport, credit cards, driver’s license, health-insurance information and other important travel documents it will be easier to replace the originals faster. With a copy of your passport information and number, for example, you can go to the nearest embassy and have your passport reissued more quickly than if the number had to be tracked down and you have to prove that you are “you.” The copy showing the back of your credit cards should have the telephone numbers to use if there’s a problem.

Make Photocopies Before Leaving Home

Even if you’re in a last-minute rush to prepare for a trip, don’t forget to make copies of the first page of your passport, the front and back of your credit cards and details about any medicines you must take on a regular basis. (The wisest approach, of course, is to make these copies long before leaving on a trip.) If you must take a written copy of your passwords and personal ID numbers for the credit cards don’t keep them with the photocopies.

Where to Keep the Copies?

Put one set of copies in the travel bag you are taking on the plane. If you’re traveling with a companion, each take the other person’s photocopies. If your hotel room has a safe, leave the copies in it. Leave another set home with someone you trust.

What Not to Bring

Don't bring any credit cards you don't intend to use. Leave home all passwords and personal identification numbers, especially for bank accounts, that you might have tucked in your wallet.

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