Lost or Stolen Travel Documents: Prepare an 'In Case of Emergency' File

By Marianne Schwab | Best Travel Deals Tips Blog

I believe you should always expect the best and plan for the worst when you hit the road. Lost or stolen travel documents, including passports or credit cards, may be something you have to deal with and that's why I always leave an 'In Case of Emergency' file (or ICE file) with a trusted friend or family member when I travel.

When I take a vacation or go on a business trip (especially internationally), I leave my 'In Case of Emergency' file with someone I believe can be trusted and that I can reach 24/7 in case of an emergency.

The ICE file includes:

  • A color copy of my passport (hard copy)
  • My travel itinerary and travel documents with airline, hotel and car rental reservation confirmations (and train info if I have a EuroRail Pass)
  • Copies of credit cards (front and back of cards) and emergency customer service numbers
  • Copies of travel insurance (trip or medical) documents/insurance cards. 

You should also scan these documents and have them available as a PDF for your friend or family member to email you if you need them (and maybe carry them on a password protected flash drive with limited documents on it).  If any of these items are lost or stolen, it's easier to have them replaced.

I also carry an extra copy of my passport with me as well, but having a backup copy with someone who can assist you in an unfortunate circumstance is a great comfort.

In the age of technology, you can put your ICE file on a cloud, but if your mobile phone is lost or stolen (or you're using an unlocked phone internationally), the hard copy is always a safe backup.

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