YOUR INDIA TRAVEL ORGANIZER

Can you work out similarly for your destination?

A tourist was being led through the swamps at Florida. Is it true, he asked, that an alligator wont attack you if you carry a flashlight?

That depends, replied the guide, on how fast you carry the flashlight.

You can forget the flashlight (or torch as we in India call it) when travelling to most places unless you are camping or on some adventure trip. But what if you forget to pack some critical document or other item? Instead of agonizing and tearing your hair apart, you may as well act on it before you embark on your trip.

An essential ingredient of stress-free travel is organizing – which includes your travel documents, cards etc. So, my strong recommendation is that you should get a binder / folder which has pockets ranging from small (for cards) to large (for documents) on the left side and either more jackets or a pad for writing on the right side. There will also be a holder for your pen. I have listed some of these on the website at http://www.tripwiz.in/resources. The binder is essential to hold all your trip documents including passports and visa, various cards (credit cards, FFP cards, hotel loyalty cards etc.), printouts of tickets, hotel reservation etc.

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This organized folder will firstly help in accessing the required document at the right time without opening up your entire luggage in the airport lounge or hotel reception. Secondly, since all these are in one place, one can keep the folder in safe custody under lock in your hotel room safe. If the room does not have a safe, lock in a bag which has one and cannot be tampered with. While on flight (or train etc.), carry the folder in your hand baggage / inflight baggage. Now keep the following documents in the folder / binder:

A simple requirement, so I will not waste time and space over this one. Check your passport expiry date. Most countries insist on anything between three to six months validity after your return from the trip. Do check with the countrys visa issuing agency or travel agent about the rules to ensure that you are not denied a Visa because of this reason. If you are getting a visa on arrival, check on the destination country’s foreign office website for information on this.

Always ensure that you enter your name everywhere on your travel documents, tickets, hotel reservation as it is written on the passport or you may be denied a ticket or entry. You must keep your passport or at least a photocopy of the passport with you while going around.

Please keep your passports in this folder. You will be asked for passports by personnel of the airline you’re flying with, the immigration or passport control (source and destination), hotel check-in and transport hiring. Sometimes the local police may also ask for your passports. It is advised that you keep the passports in your hotel and carry photocopies, preferably laminated, while moving around at the destination. The photocopies should have your details (the first 2 and last 2 pages) AND the page/s where the passport control / immigration at airport / seaport has stamped when you entered the country. This is to mitigate any risk of theft / scams while enjoying your vacation. Many tourists have encountered fake or corrupt officials who will ask for your passport and either disappear with it or extort money from you.

Tip : Scan your passport/s (in PDF / JPEG format) and upload it online to your Google Drive / SkyDrive (Microsoft) / DropBox / iCloud etc. You can also keep a copy in your smart phone or tablet / laptop. When you do so, upload it to a vague sounding folder with an indistinguishable filename instead of ‘mypassport’, wife-passport’ and so on. And I assume your password to this drive online is strong enough?

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