Travelling can be stressful enough without having to worry about whether you're able to access the right documents at the right time. So make it easy on yourself and carry only those documents that you will be using while you're out. Keep the documents you leave behind stored in a safe, inaccessible place. Remember, too, that there's no harm in making multiple copies of these documents, along with travel itineraries, in case anything should go missing.
Travelling with a valid passport is essential when you are going from one country to the next. A passport is difficult to replicate and is universally accepted as a valid form of identification. Those who do not possess a valid passport must travel with a Trusted Traveler Card, military identification, U.S. merchant mariner document and other specified forms of identification, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Those who do not possess these forms of identification must present a driver's license or a military identification card as well as a birth certificate, certificate of naturalisation or certificate of citizenship.
New Identification Options
Beginning in June 2008, U.S. travellers are now able to purchase U.S. passport cards and enhanced driver's licenses that can make travel between the United States, Mexico and Canada easier. Note, however, that although these documents are valid for land and sea travel within these three countries, they are not valid for air travel. In cases of air travel to Canada, Mexico or overseas, a passport is still required. An individual can also become a member of the Trusted Traveler program if he travels to and from Canada or Mexico frequently and does not have any criminal record. The Trusted Traveler program allows members to access specially designated lanes and lines that expedite travel between countries.
Obviously, it's necessary to carry your transportation documents with you while travelling, whether that be a boarding pass on an airline or cruise ship or the registration and insurance documents for a vehicle. You should keep these documents safe but readily available until your travel is complete. When dealing with return tickets, however, you should store the original documents in a safe place such as an in-room safe while sightseeing.
You should keep copies of vital documents such as essential medications, immunisation and emergency contacts on hand at all times while travelling. Copy original immunisation forms and type up a list of two to three emergency contacts, as well as a list of the medications you're taking, their side effects, the prescribing doctor and your health insurance. Keep a copy of these documents in your wallet or travelling bag.
Copies of Documents
Losing your passport or other vital travel document such as an aeroplane ticket or driver's license can halt travel plans and leave you stuck in a foreign country. Due to this risk and the fact that many tourists have problems with gypsies, beggars and thieves in foreign countries, it is recommended that you store authentic travel documents in a safe and secure place. Instead, you should travel with photocopies of your essential travel documents. You should not only carry one set of copies when you travel locally, but you should also keep a copy back in your room, but separate from the authentic travel documents. You should also give copies to two emergency contacts back home. Should your authentic documents become lost or stolen, the process of recovering the documents, getting you to your next destination and eventually getting home will be expedited by the copies.
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