Safeguarding Travel Documents

Keeping track of your luggage, carry-on bags, and travel documents can be a juggling act. Making sure that everything arrives at your destination when you do can be a challenge. A trip without additional clothing can be difficult, but missing travel documents can stop you in your tracks. Some useful tips to keeping your travel documents safe are:
  • Make photocopies of your passport face page, and bring one with you and leave one with a friend at home. Packing an extra set of passport photos would be helpful in expediting a passport replacement, should you need one.
  • Bring only one or two credit cards. If you are traveling with someone else, make sure you each has different credit cards so in the event one of the cards is stolen, you still have the ability to pay for items on your trip.
  • If you use travelers’ checks, keep a list of the check numbers in a separate place and track the checks you have used. Make sure to leave a copy of the travelers’ check Inumbers at home.
When staying at a hotel, using the hotel safe for your passport, tickets, excess cash and credit cards when you are out exploring the city is far better than carrying everything with you. (Just make sure to take everything with you when you check out.) Do not leave any documents in your hotel room or on the dresser. It is important to stay aware so as not to become an easy target for thieves. Don’t make it easy for pickpockets by having your purse open or wallet sticking up out of a back pocket. The more difficult you make it for thieves to “grab and run,” the more they will realize you are not the target they want.

Whether traveling as a free-spirit or on an itinerary, make sure family at home knows where you are supposed to be. Also notifiy your credit card company that you will be traveling. If you don’t, the credit card company may flag your account when charges from overseas appear and cut off your credit limit leaving you unable to buy that souvenir in Italy that you fell in love with.

If your travel documents are stolen, report the loss immediately to the hotel, to the local police and, if your air tickets are missing, to the airline or your travel agent. Make sure to carry the phone number of the hotel with you so that you can call for assistance if you have problems getting back to the hotel.

In the event you need assistance, contact US Consular personnel as they are familiar with the local government agencies and resources such as replacing a stolen passport, or helping you get cash wired in the event all of your money is stolen. To find the Embassy in the country where you are traveling, you can go to


Sheri Machat
Senior Vice President of MH Ross Travel Insurance Services. She joined the company in 1980 and has made a career of combining the two things she is most passionate about: people and travel.