Prep Your Papers

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Guest Blog Post by Contiki traveler, Kelley Last

When preparing for a big trip, most people will spend some time creating a packing list, acquiring extra camera memory cards and buying last minute toiletries, flip flops and trendy sunglasses (ok, so maybe I don’t exactly have trendy sunglasses, but some people might!) But one of the most important things you can do before you leave is create an “In Case of Emergency” travel document.

This document should contain all important relevant information and should be stored in your email inbox for easy access in case you run into trouble. We also forward a copy to each of our parents so they know where we are and how to reach us in the event of an emergency. Sending it to someone else is also helpful if you don’t have immediate access to email; you could call them and have them reference your document if you needed to.

So what should be in this document? Here’s a rundown of what ours usually looks like:

Cover Page – Should contain basic information including tour dates, tour info, contiki contact number and booking number.  We also include Time Zone information for easy reference.

FLIGHT INFORMATION – Include the name of the airline and your booking/confirmation number. Then all the basic flight info: flight number, time departing and arriving and seat number if you have it.

HOTEL INFORMATION – Contiki typically sends a hotel list in your travel document package. It will have all the information you need for each night of your tour (address, phone, fax, etc). We scan this and then include it in our document. Be sure to add any additional accommodations you might have before or after your tour.

PASSPORTS – Scan a color copy of your passport and paste it into the document. Make sure that the Passport Number and all of the other information is clearly visible. (Note: You should also carry a physical color copy of it with you when you travel. Make sure to store it in a different place from the real passport.)

CONTIKI ITINERARY – You can copy your tour itinerary right from Contiki’s website. I will usually add the actual calendar dates in there as well to make it as easy as possible.

INSURANCE AND CREDIT CARDS – I make a color copy of my medical insurance card in case of an emergency and paste it in there. We also write out a list of the credit cards we have (include the  expiration dates and CID codes too). It’s also a good idea to include the international phone number of the credit card companies in case you need to speak with them if something happens to your cards. (NOTE: Make sure to call your credit card companies before you leave to let them know you’re traveling! You don’t want them to inadvertently flag your account for fraud if they don’t know you’re abroad.)

OTHER INFORMATION – A few other things you might want to include: travel insurance information, travel agent information and the contact numbers of your travel partner’s parents.

The goal is to create a one-stop shop for all of the important information if something were to happen (flight cancellations, lost passport, medical emergency, etc –knock on wood!)  and you need to reference it in a pinch. Plus, no matter how old you are, parents just feel better having this information while you’re away.

Safe and Happy Travels!


Kelley is a self-proclaimed world traveler! She is originally from Boston, but now calls Los Angeles her home. When she’s not traveling, she’s running marathons, watching soccer games, eating cupcakes or planning her next trip. You can follow her adventures (both big and small) on her blog: or on twitter: @kelocity

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