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Tim Foolery

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Facts of Life Book – Travel Focus

I was listening to the Happier podcast (more on that here) today and one of their recommendations got me thinking. Gretchen and Liz suggested putting together a “Facts of Life Book” – a book that includes your bank account info, life insurance policies, mortgage information, basically any and all information that family members may need when you die. A little morbid, but still very useful advice. Now, I don’t have anything like that completed for myself, but I do have something like this put together for travel.

When traveling, of course you don’t need life insurance or mortgage information (hopefully), but what about other critical documents? Passports? Credit Cards? Visas? Travel and Medical Insurance Policies? If you lose your passport or your wallet (or they are stolen), you’ll be in a tough spot. Not only do you have to figure out how to continue traveling, but you’ll also have to get money and cancel your other cards.

Before I went to Africa several years ago, I scanned my passport and the fronts and backs of my credit cards I was taking on the trip. I then saved those scans to a Google Drive folder – something I could reach anywhere with an internet connection. Luckily I’ve never lost a passport or credit cards while traveling, so I haven’t had to use this emergency file.

Passport and Champagne

My well used passport

Before we went to Myanmar we purchased travel insurance. The policy we purchased was really for additional international medical plus medical evacuation coverage. The last thing I want to deal with post accident is finding a way to get to a proper hospital. There was no way I was going to have the fine doctors in Yangon to fix me up – medevac me to Singapore or Tokyo! I scanned copies of those policy forms and contact information too. I share those folders with my traveling companions, my mom and have access instructions in my office…just in case.

Is this overkill? Likely, but I’d rather have all this easily accessible and not need it than the alternative. So my suggestion, in addition to listening to the Happier podcast: Create a digital “Facts of Life” book for travel. It should take you less than 30 minutes to put this together, but it’ll give you peace of mind.

Oh and if you are thinking I’m crazy for scanning my credit card information and storing it in Google Drive – you may be right. I haven’t done that part of this in years. While it may be easier to get new cards or cancel stolen ones if you have the numbers, it’s not going to be all that much different. Keep your passport and your insurance info close by for sure!

Do you have any nerdy travel hacks you’d like to share?

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