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Be Prepared: How to Avoid and Prevent Travel Emergencies, Problems and Situations

Be Prepared: How to Avoid and Prevent Travel Emergencies, Problems and Situations

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Old Sep 7, 09, 11:50 am
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Be Prepared: How to Avoid and Prevent Travel Emergencies, Problems and Situations

I apologize that I do not have the time right now to list what I do to prevent an unfortunate situation from occurring when I travel, but what was posted here in what is a current ongoing situation at the time this was posted gave me the idea to launch what could be a very important thread to all FlyerTalk members who travel.

Please post your thoughts, suggestions, habits, solutions, opinions and ideas on how to prevent problems from occurring while traveling from which you believe your fellow FlyerTalk members will benefit, and hopefully this will quickly become the definitive thread from which FlyerTalk members will help to ensure smooth problem-free travel for themselves and their travel companions in the future.

Thank you in advance.
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Old Sep 7, 09, 11:56 am
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I keep scanned copies of my birth certificate, social security card and passport in my email. That way, I can access it from anywhere in the world.. even if I do not have my computer.

In addition, I also make sure I scan copies of any travel documents for a specific trip as well.

I also ensure that someone who is not travelling with me has access to all the documents.
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Old Sep 7, 09, 12:02 pm
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Credit Cards

Inform the credit card companies of your intent to travel, especially when and where you are traveling, so that they have it officially on record should you decided to use their credit cards away from home, especially when visiting a foreign country.

After all, the last thing you want to happen to you while you are traveling is to have the credit card company deny a charge and deem it suspicious, possibly even disabling your ability to use your credit card until you are able to resolve the issue.

Also, know your Personal Identification Number, or PIN, in case you need to use it when using your credit card, especially through one of those devices where you may be required to swipe your credit card. Otherwise, your credit card could suddenly become useless.
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Old Sep 7, 09, 12:05 pm
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List of suggestions here:

Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
Like Amex and/or Traveler's Checks, Swiss Bankers Card is pretty good too for replacement withdrawal facilities wherever there are ATMs.

Memorizing one's debit card information and pre-establishing a transfer arrangement with Western Union and/or Moneygram may allow for persons to access some daily cash from their own account if able to get online and having some history of doing that.

Scanned copies of ID stored in an online account good idea if ordinarily encrypted.

Credit/debit/bank cards information adjusted in a systematic way to alter them that is only known to the account holder and storing the altered information online along with contact numbers. Better off encrypted and also not making it clear that you are dealing with credit card numbers.

Back up copies and/or current alternative ID left with a reliable friend or relatives.

Contact information of relatives and friends stored online.

Enough frequent flyer miles saved up to get a ticket to return home from wherever you are. And enough hotel points for accommodations to bridge a week here or there.


add to that -- if flying with travel companions, don't put all your eggs in one basket in terms of ID, credit cards, money, medication and other hard to replace or irreplaceable items. [Also make sure to have a different credit/debit/bank card number than the travel companion so that if the accounts of one person are not useful, that the other travel companion has something to use still.

Last edited by GUWonder; Sep 7, 09 at 12:14 pm
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Old Sep 7, 09, 5:01 pm
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-Register with the consult that you will be in country (at the very least, so that if some major crisis happens, they can make an effort to try to evacuate the person).

-Program into the cell phone all the numbers (both US and local) to the travel agency, all credit cards, airlines, embassy (regular, night, and emergency)

-Ensure credit cards have a few thousand worth of credit limit left, that frequent flyer programs have at least one free flight left, and hotel programs have a few free nights. This way, if a few extra days out of country is needed, one does not have to deal with last minute Western Union transfers.
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Old Sep 7, 09, 8:47 pm
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Lightbulb about medication

ALWAYS CARRY YOUR RX MEDS WITH YOU - do not ever put them in your checked luggage as if your bag is lost, so are your meds.

It's important to take extra meds with you when you travel - not just enough for the duration of the trip. (Remember how long folks were held up when all flights were grounded back in 2001; also, allow for dropping a few pills on the floor, etc.) Always keep them in the original Rx container as some countries are very strict about carrying controlled substances and the like in a baggie!

In addition, before filling your Rx, make a color photocopy of it and pack the copy with your travel documents just in case you need to refill your meds; it'll make it easier for the pharmacist to see you had an original script at one point and are just looking to replace what was lost. And, make a list of your meds as they may not have the same brand names in the country you're traveling and be sure to include:
  • Drug Type
  • Drug Name
  • Strength
  • Drug Purpose

Re eyeglasses, bring a spare pair of glasses with you if you have them or at least bring your latest eyeglass Rx (script) with you. Just be sure, if you're in the USA, to ask the optician's shop to write in your PD as the optometrist doesn't include that and, in many countries in Europe, you'd need to see an optometrist to get the PD which is needed (it's the distance between your eyes).

If you wear contact lenses, by all means, always bring a pair of eyeglasses with you (conjunctivitis can happen on vacation too). And, if you have a back-up pair of contacts, bring them along as well in case you lose or rip a lens! If you don't have a back-up pair of contacts, be sure to bring the Rx with you so you can attempt to fill it while away (and wear your glasses).
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Old Sep 7, 09, 9:20 pm
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I have learned that my CC company requires me to call for domestic travel as well as foreign travel.
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Old Sep 7, 09, 9:32 pm
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Originally Posted by UK Traveler View Post
I have learned that my CC company requires me to call for domestic travel as well as foreign travel.
So is calling the CC company a twice-daily ritual, or do you work at home?
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Old Sep 7, 09, 9:49 pm
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I am now thankfully retired. It never happened to me until I went to Vegas in April to celebrate the end of tax season. I got there and the CC declined at check in. Had another one, so got to my room. Called CC company and received a lecture about letting them know of any travels whether domestic or international.
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Old Sep 7, 09, 9:56 pm
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Originally Posted by UK Traveler View Post
I am now thankfully retired. It never happened to me until I went to Vegas in April to celebrate the end of tax season. I got there and the CC declined at check in. Had another one, so got to my room. Called CC company and received a lecture about letting them know of any travels whether domestic or international.
What is "domestic travel"? A walk to the corner store? A daily 20 mile commute? A weekly 500 mile commute home? A yearly transcon?
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Old Sep 7, 09, 11:35 pm
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Anything that you cannot lose (passport, identification, flight information, credit cards, medication for those who need it, etc.) should be in your pockets (preferably closed with zippers or hook-and-loop fasteners to avoid stuff slipping out), not in your baggage, including carryon. Carryons sometimes have to be gate checked (particularly on smaller jets), and bags of any type might be forgotten or stolen more easily. And in the unlikely case that you have to evacuate the plane, it may be easier to deal with the situation if you have the essential stuff in your pockets than if you left it in a carryon bag in the plane.
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Old Sep 7, 09, 11:41 pm
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Originally Posted by usavvy2 View Post
And, make a list of your meds as they may not have the same brand names in the country you're traveling and be sure to include:
Note that even generic names may differ. For example:

aspirin = ASA (in countries where Aspirin is a trademarked brand name)
acetaminophen = paracetamol
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Old Sep 8, 09, 11:14 am
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emergency thoughts

Photocopy your credit cards face down, then write the telephone numbers (from the reverse) next to the cards. Scan that and save to email.

Have a credit card that you never use online. Memorize the number.

Print your itinerary and put it in your luggage. I keep mine in the luggage tag next to my name, and in an unfolded printout that is the first thing to see when the bag is opened. I print bold black on yellow paper. It contains contact info, hotels and flights, arrival and departure dates. For multi-city trips, I cross off earlier items, so the current/next destination is the first one to be read.

Replace your cell phone picture with your contact info. (So an honest person can return your phone.)

Tape a business card to the bottom of your laptop (and to the battery, usually inside a cover). Same reason: so an honest person can contact you to return it.

Scan your passport and keep a copy online. Also, keep it on your cellphone/pda/laptop.

Carry some spare cash separately (I have $100 in my hat, and another $50 in my camera bag.)
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Old Sep 8, 09, 10:52 pm
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OK, Im not really adding any new advice. I thought it might be helpful to add some structure for considering/applying the advice already given.
Consider the following scenarios that could happen to your stuff (not a comprehensive list)

1. Wallet/Purse lost/stolen
2. Carry-on lost/stolen
3. Checked bag lost/stolen
4. Cell phone lost/stolen
5. Computer lost/stolen

I would expect nearly everyone on FlyerTalk has had at least one of these happen so you should have a plan in place to deal with each event. Now you should expand that plan to expect any two scenarios to happen at the same time. Going overseas? May want to plan for three scenarios at the same time.

Key points already made in this thread for dealing with two or more scenarios
1. Copies of key documents and information where you can retrieve it (in your e-mail system or other online system)
2. Make sure a person NOT with you can access the information
3. Have crucial items with you in multiple locations (i.e. extra cash in hat/camera case - same with a credit card, ID, Medications, etc.)
4. Communicate your travel to the appropriate institutions (which institutions would you need help from credit card, government, etc.) and key personal contacts (not traveling with you)

Next make a plan for what could happen to you (as opposed to your stuff) . . . legal, medical, flight/hotel problems, etc.
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Old Sep 9, 09, 7:58 am
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Another idea: in addition to keeping scanned copies of all of ones documents online and at home, save a copy on the laptop. That way, if internet access is not immediately available (or you have to pay to get online) all pertinent details will be easily assessable. Plus, with all the data on the laptop, one is bound to find a helpful cop/embassy official willing to let you use their printer to print out the documents.

But in the event one is transporting personal information on their laptop, make sure to encrypt the data. Because if the laptop is the thing that is stolen, the criminal would then have access to all of your data. Because of the issues with temp files, page files, etc, I recommend against using just a single file encryption product, rather, using a full disk encryption product (free options exist). Point in case, most people dont think too much about the cookies on their laptop, but most (US) banking sites will leave cookies on computers so that the customer can more quickly login (i.e. if a valid cookie is detected, the use of an OTP is not required).
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