We all know travel is stressful and international travel adds a whole other dimension to it. This can be true for rookie travelers and seasoned travelers alike. The key, like with many things in life, is being prepared. RELATED: This Anti-Theft Bag Will Keep All Your Belongings Safe When You Travel
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MarketWatch just published a story titled ‘How not to be a jerk when you travel this summer, according to TSA workers and flight attendants.’ The article included some solid tips from airport and airline workers, including this one: “Tuck that passport away, but make sure you know where you’ve put it, after it’s been checked. You don’t need to wave it around every time you meet an airport or airline worker. You only need it when you check in, at the security checkpoint, at the gate when you’re boarding if you’re flying internationally and at immigration if you are arriving from another country.”
That reminded me of one of the most important things I do when I travel internationally. I always take a few seconds after I receive my passport or NEXUS/Global Entry card back from an airline or security agent to tuck it away in the same safe place I always carry it. Oftentimes, I’m in a hurry to either run to the gate or get into my seat and not hold up the line behind me. What I do now, is just pull over to the side so I’m not blocking the way and put my important documents away.
Unfortunately, I learned the importance of this the hard way when I lost my NEXUS/Global Entry card. Global Entry (GE) allows pre-approved travelers to bypass the long immigration lines when returning to the United States. NEXUS is Canada’s version of Global Entry but what’s better is that it’s half the price ($50 for five years) and gives you Global Entry and TSA Precheck. Here’s more on NEXUS and Global Entry.
But if you lose your NEXUS or Global Entry cards or your passport, it’s not only a real pain to replace them but it’s time consuming and can be pricey. And you definitely don’t want to lose them while overseas since you could be in for a world of hurt. My wife once lost her passport while we were on a bike tour in Estonia. It’s a long story, which you can read here, but she almost had to return home that day instead of finishing our cruise.
Also keep in mind that U.S. passports can fetch up to $5,000 on the black market so be sure to guard it and keep it safe. Another reason why you want to keep your important documents in the same safe place is so you can quickly access them. Nothing ticks off agents and anxious passengers behind you than someone rummaging through their bag, looking for their ID.
As mentioned in the MarketWatch article, “Very often, passengers will hurriedly place their passports somewhere and cannot locate them quickly,” a Transportation Security Administration employee said. In the vast majority of cases, it’s usually in a pocket or bag where the traveler doesn’t recall putting it. This can be stressful, holding up the line and frustrating everyone around you.”
One trick I use to for my NEXUS card is to put a rubber band around it, which makes it more difficult for it to fall out (which is what I think happened to mine). I also use RFID protector sleeves to protect my passport and NEXUS card from identity theft.
My wife always travels with a crossbody bag and makes sure that she puts her passport back in immediately. She recommends a travel crossbody bag like this one for its size, shape and anti-theft construction.
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