If you’re over 50, somebody probably told you to take your pills when you brush your teeth. It’s an old memory trick—if you associate a new behavior with an ingrained habit, you’re more likely to remember it. Well, here is another hint in that vein: Each time you pack for a trip, especially if you are traveling to another country, be sure to look through the contents of your wallet to scale back on anything you don’t really need to take with you.
When you’re away from home, it’s easy to lose things. If you are immersed amongst crowds in dense places, you are also enhancing the odds of being pickpocketed. Why not minimize the potential loss in the event you lose your wallet?
Here are some of the basics of what to take in your travel wallet and what to leave behind:
- Only take as much cash as you think you really need. Leave heavy coins in your piggy bank.
- Bring enough foreign currency from home for your taxi from the airport, snacks, tips, etc. because you may not be able to exchange your money for local currency immediately after arriving.
- Prune your wallet of anything you won’t need on your trip, such as old charge receipts, lottery tickets, sentimental photographs, supermarket loyalty cards, store credit cards and your automobile registration.
- Take no more than two credit cards. Make sure your primary card has no foreign transaction charge and is accepted at most businesses in the countries where you are traveling.
- In addition to your passport (which may want to leave in your hotel safe for security reasons), it is essential to have two forms of identification, one of them a photo ID (perhaps, your driver’s license).
- Be sure to bring your health insurance cards; a piece of paper with names and dosages of any medications you are taking; and names and contact information for your doctor, dentist, lawyer and next of kin.
Before you leave home, make a photocopy of everything valuable in your wallet and leave it at home, just in case. It’s the best insurance that you won’t lose your wallet!
The picture above shows the Walker wallet I use when I travel. I purchased it several years ago. It’s slim, made of a lightweight nylon mesh, and is completely zippered all around. Inside, it has a place to neatly store everything I need to take.
Do you use your usual wallet when you travel? Do you prune it before leaving home?
[You can read these and other hints on packing your wallet for travel on an article I wrote for NBC Universal Life Goes Strong.]