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Travelling – What’s in your Wallet?

I am sure you have all heard the advertisements featuring Samuel Jackson or Jennifer Garner saying, “What’s in Your Wallet?” in order to promote owning a specific credit card. What I’d like to talk about is “What’s in your wallet or purse?”, when you are preparing to take a trip somewhere. Determining what you should have with you and what you should leave at home when travelling is very important.

In the past, when I planned a trip I used to find myself obsessing over what to take and often took more clothing than I needed. Now I make a list of the number of days I am away and the activities I will be doing. I then plan my wardrobe with mix and match clothing around the number of days and activities. This prevents me from taking along a lot of clothes I will never wear. However, until recently I was not as organized about my wallet and purse. Organizing the documents, credit cards and money you will require on your trip and leaving other nonessential items at home is more efficient and less stressful should the unforeseen happen and you lose your wallet or purse. Trying to remember everything you had with you when you get home and need to replace everything is not only time consuming, but can be expensive.

An easy way to plan what you will take is too make a list of the essentials you need to take with you. Once the list is complete take it with you on your trip plus leave a copy at home should you need to replace items that are lost or stolen.

What’s in your wallet essentials:

  1. Your contact information: Should your wallet or purse go missing, a piece of paper indicating how to reach you is essential
  2. Passport: If going out of your country of residence – plus a copy of it that you keep separately.  Extra passport photos are always a good idea to have with you when travelling internationally.
  3. Driver’s License or other legal picture id
  4. Medical/emergency identification card
  5. Emergency medical insurance provider and contact information.
  6. Card with emergency contact information for a person you designate as the emergency contact
  7. 2 credit cards: Each kept separately. Also make sure to write down the emergency phone number for each credit card and kept it in your suitcase.
  8. 1 Debit / ATM card
  9. Cash: You should always have some cash on you and some in smaller bills. Never keep all your cash in one place.  It is advisable to carry only enough cash for each day and leave the rest locked in the hotel safe.
  10. Boarding pass: Whether taking a flight or going on a cruise make sure to have your boarding information with you.
  11. Copy of your travel Itinerary
  12. Always pick up the business card of the hotel you are staying in when venturing out or have the name of the cruise ship you are travelling on with you when in port.

Items that are good to have along:

1. A few business cards: You never know who you are going to meet and may want to reconnect with in the future.

2. Frequent flyer status card: Ideally, your frequent flyer number is printed on your boarding pass, but sometimes these things get missed in the airline computer systems. In addition, the receptionist at the frequent flyer lounge may insist on seeing the membership card.

3. A currency converter cheat sheet: Whenever travelling internationally, it is a good idea to be aware of the exchange rate for the country or countries you will be visiting. It will save you shopping time if you can easily convert foreign prices in to your own currency and decide whether or not you really want to spend the money.

4. A baby picture:  What, you might ask? Studies by various police departments have shown that a stolen wallet or purse with a baby picture in it is more luckily to be left where someone will find it and return it.

Leave behind:

Library card

BCAA card

Extra credit cards like your gas card, grocery or shopping cards that will not be valid where you are going

Commuter or local transit cards

Personal cheques

Birth certificate

Social insurance card.

Girls! This is a great time to clean out that purse. Leave behind all those little items that you toss in there like an eraser, paper clips, extra keys, three lips glosses and old receipts.

Travelling when you are well organized and not burdened by a lot of extras makes the journey so much more enjoyable.

Written by: Joan Niemeier