Whether you are a regular traveler or someone planning your first trip abroad, there are few important things you MUST know about your Passport while you plan your trip overseas!!!
1. Your passport is your only identity:
You do not want to get into a situation where you do not have a proof of who you are? Right?..So, just keep a scan copy of your passport in your pocket and also uploaded on your email account. If in any case, you meet a disaster situation, you always have a proof of your identity.
The same thing applies to your Visa. If its an E-Visa you have been issued with, its best to carry a photocopy and the original can be produced only when insisted upon. Certain countries, especially the tourist countries approve visas for one complete year allowing multiple-entries. You may not like to lose it just like that.
2. Have you counted the pages on your passport?
Quite often, we tend to neglect this aspect of our documentation. The passport is provided with pages serial numbered for ‘marking’ the entry and exit of the tourists every time they step in and out of a country..Every passport is provided with pages serial numbered (varies from one country to another) for inking the Immigration stamp at the source and the destination country.
Beware who handles your passport when you are abroad.A page missing from the passport may render you in a trouble you might definitely not want to be in. If you have not counted the number of pages on your passport, do it now.It will take a moment, but it will be worth the effort.
3. Do you know the embassy address in the visiting country?
Believe it or not, but this is one of the ways you can help yourself while you travel overseas. Please try and look for your country’s embassy address when you land there. Keeping a helpline no. handy when you travel into an unknown country for the first time can save you from lot of emergency. This is where you fall back to, when your passports get lost or stolen.In case of any trouble, you can always fall back to your embassy address in that country from where your transit back to your own country can be arranged.
4. Have you checked the expiry date of your passport?
Well, that’s a pretty lame thing to leave out;I’m sure most of you must be doing that, but the main thing to know here is the time it will take you for a renewal. Normally, it may take up to 30 days or even more (might vary among countries of course!!) to get your passport renewed, which leaves you in anticipation and keeps your plans on hold. Also, you must not forget the peak travel seasons when getting a booking is beyond your pockets.
So, be wise..renew early; at least 60 days before the expiry of your passport. Will save you a lot of running around at the last moment.
5. Do you keep all the ‘eggs’ in the same basket?
While keeping all the documents handy at one place may be a good idea if you need to access your documents several times, but losing that one handbag might mean an ‘identity crisis’. It is a nice idea to keep your documents scrambled within your luggage and works pretty well while you travel with your family as well.
Make it a habit to produce only one original at a time. This way, you always have ‘something original’ to prove your identity. If authorities insist for checking all your documents, its polite enough and understandable if you mention that you are carrying the photocopy for securing the originals safely.
I met two gentlemen from Nigeria at an airport and they lost their handbag containing passport, Visa, credit cards all put in one place. No scan copies of documents either. Needless to say, it was troublesome for them to prove their identity at every single place they went. The only smart move one of them made was that he kept his original E-Visa in his luggage..That was the only document that could save them at that crucial moment.
6. What are the various codes on your Passport?
ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 are 3-letter country codes introduced by ‘International Standards Organization’, to allow identification of issuing country of passports and citizenship of travelers. They were first included as part of the ISO 3166 standard in its first edition in 1974.
Some of these codes are implemented in MRZ (Machine Readable Passport Zones) to identify the authenticity of passports at the airports. The official list of all the countries, along with their country codes can be viewed here.
This has a benefit that now, when you check in and out of any airport, your identity is scanned and saved in the system and is available with the authorities. If in any case, your passport is lost and you do have saved your passport information, it can help you to get identified easily.