Essential guidelines for travelers: Keeping your essential personal and finance information safe while on the road should be at the top of your list. Losing your passport or credit card while traveling means you are in for some serious inconvenience.
Recently, a guy I met in Panajachel, Guatemala was having numerous problems getting money because he lost his wallet with both of his ATM cards inside. Eventually, he will receive replacement cards, but only after personal aggravation and the disruption of his daily schedule.
This got me to thinking. Since we don’t want this same situation to happen to you, we put together some useful points to consider. Take advantage of what we know!
Rules of the road: essential guidelines for travelers
Make copies of your passport and put the copies in separate locations for safekeeping. Also carry one on you in your travel bag or wallet. We made laminated passport cards the size of a credit card which we carry with us and our copies are hidden in other places.
Debit ATM cards
Open more than one bank or brokerage account and have ATM access to them, plus a couple of credit cards. Ladder the expiration dates so that all of your cards are not expiring at the same time. We try to stagger the years so as one card expires we have another until we can receive the new one. And just as with your passport copies, place the ATM cards in different locations amongst your gear or in a room safe.
It seems the days of Visa sending you a replacement card to some tropical island is over. The bank will send it to your address of record, but then you have to have someone DHL or FedEx it to you. This can be nerve wracking if you are short on funds.
This is why we recommend always having a few hundred US dollars stashed in a safe place. The worst that can happen is that you never need it. Dollars are taken everywhere and can get you through a tough time if necessary.
If a holiday is coming up, sometimes ATM machines will run out of money due to their heavy use. We recommend that you take out an extra withdrawal in the event the machines go empty or in case something else comes up, like the power going out. The extra cash will get you through the holiday with ease.
Skype or Google Voice
Open an account with Skype, or Google Voice and be familiar with it. If your cell phone stops working, or worse gets stolen, you will have communication with your bank and family members if necessary.
Carry a Doc Box
This does not need to be extensive. Elementary things like Band-Aids, Aspirin, antibiotics, and Imodium can get you through the night until you can find medical care.
If you are on special medications have a list of them in your wallet, as well as an emergency contact number in case of an accident.
These simple steps can prevent a needless nightmare while you are on the road, and help you gain your wits much quicker.
What other essential guidelines for travelers would you recommend? Share your ideas in the community!