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Important Documents

This illustration symbolically shows an umbrella with the traveler’s passport and important documents protected by it.

Make photos or digital copies of all important documents.

If you’re planning a road trip, here’s how to digitize all your important documents and bring them with you.

You’ll need a passport, if you plan on crossing any borders. You can get one from your government issuing office, but it can take six to eight weeks to get. So be sure to plan your trip accordingly, if you need one.

If you are traveling with a PR (permanent resident) who is not yet a citizen of your country, a passport usually isn’t good enough. You’ll probably need a Visitor’s Visa, and for some countries of origin, you’ll need a special ID card as well.

Should anything happen to your original documents, it’s important to have a backup copy, so you can get replacements more easily. The backup copy can be in the form of digital scans, or paper photocopies of the originals.

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Copy all your medical prescriptions, eyeglass prescriptions, passport, birth certificate and social security (social insurance) cards. You’ll also want to copy things like your home insurance, car insurance, medical insurance, credit cards, driver’s license, and other important documents.

Scanning these documents into your computer or mobile device is the best way to go. It’s better than making photocopies of the originals and leaving them with a friend. That way you can have them with you in digital format on your phone or computer, should you ever need them. You can even store them in a password protected directory, with 256 bit military grade encryption, to keep them safe.

Take digital photos of your home and contents for insurance purposes, the day you leave. Open all the drawers, closets and cupboards to get a full view of everything in them. Take photos of your locked windows and doors too. Then put them all on a memory stick to take with you.

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Add to your smart phone and computer, all the important phone numbers. Include people like your doctor, dentist, lawyer, pharmacist, accountant and emergency contacts. Also include your insurance agents, automobile association, resident manager or management company, and the local consulates if traveling out of the country.

Finally, get a Skype account so that you can make cheap long distance calls, without racking up a huge cell phone bill. You can call anywhere in the world, using a wifi, or a data connection, for just a few pennies.

If calling from one Skype account to another, it’s free of charge. You can also use your phone’s camera to make it a video call.

In addition to the regular Skype account, I have a Skype In phone number. That way, people can phone me while I’m on the road and I can pick up voice messages, without incurring any long distance charges. I use it for my home business too. Skype is one of those things that I just can’t live without.

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