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7 Travel Documents You Should Make Virtual Copies Of

By Bennett Kleinman
Read time: 4 minutes

Proving your identity is part of traveling, whether you’re checking in at a hotel or navigating through airport security. There are few things more frustrating than misplacing an important travel document, especially if you’ve already left the house and are headed toward your destination — or even worse, you’re stranded in another country without the documents you’ll need to return home. Thankfully, you can take steps beforehand to help mitigate that potential stress. Here are seven common travel documents you should make virtual copies of before your next trip.

Passport

Traveler holding passport and ticket at airport
Credit: Yiu Yu Hoi/ DigitalVision via Getty Images 

Passports are the most essential document when it comes to international travel — if you lose yours, you’ll likely end up stranded in a foreign country until you can procure a replacement. While virtual copies of your passport won’t help you get past border control and onto the plane, having a scanned copy handy will expedite the process of getting a new one. Keep an image stored on your phone, in the cloud, or even on a spare USB drive. If you lose your passport, bring that copy to the local consulate (along with any other identification) to help expedite the replacement process.

Driver’s License

Car passenger admiring view out of window
Credit: Vera Vita/ Moment via Getty Images 

Much like a passport, driver’s licenses can be essential for proving your identity on the road — for example, if you’re checking into a domestic hotel, picking up train or bus tickets, or, most importantly, renting a car. But what happens if your wallet is nowhere to be found? Be sure to keep a legible copy of both the front and back of your driver’s license stored in an easily accessible virtual location. That way, if you drive hundreds of miles to your hotel only to find that you left your license at home, the front desk will likely be able to take a look at the virtual copy and easily check you in.

Travel Visa

Traveler sitting on railing along river
Credit: Westend61 via Getty Images 

Tourist visas are a necessity for gaining access into certain countries. Fortunately, many nations have switched to electronic visas, but it’s worth printing out multiple copies and storing them in various locations such as your wallet, backpack, and suitcase — just in case. If you’re dealing with a physical visa, be sure to scan the document and save it to your phone or the cloud so you can still gain access to your destination should you lose the actual physical visa.

Credit Cards

Person holding credit card and cell phone over backpack
Credit: Rasulovs/ iStock via Getty Images 

No traveler likes to imagine the scenario of being stranded abroad without having a means of paying for anything. If you accidentally leave your wallet behind, it’s good to have a virtual copy of your credit card handy just in case — or better yet, add it before your trip to a digital payment service such as Apple Wallet or Google Pay. This allows you to pay if you can’t physically swipe the card (or, worst case, read out your card’s number to the cashier or front desk).

Medical Prescriptions

Traveler packing medicine in suitcase
Credit: petrunjela/ E+ via Getty Images 

When traveling, losing critical medical information could lead to major health complications. That’s why it’s important to bring virtual copies of any necessary medical prescriptions with you. Should you lose your medicine, you can show the copies of your prescription to a local doctor, and they should be able to more easily help you replace your meds.

Proof of Insurance

Person looking at phone while riding train
Credit: RossHelen/ iStock via Getty Images 

Unexpected complications can arise at the most inopportune times on vacation. To make those situations less stressful, come prepared with copies of your health and travel insurance plans. Insurance plans can be many pages long, so you can keep a copy of the document on the cloud rather than print it out and carry it with you.

Tickets

Close-up view of airport agent and traveler reviewing ticket at check-in counter
Credit: Kathrin Ziegler/ DigitalVision via Getty Images 

Most tickets are issued electronically these days, making them easy to find in your email or on your phone, but some situations may still require paper tickets. In that case, you should always come prepared with copies of those tickets just in case you misplace them. You can show those copies to an attendant at the customer service desk along with identification, and they should be able to issue you a replacement ticket without much difficulty.

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