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Trip Paperwork Covers all documentation, carnets, customs and country requirements, how to deal with insurance etc.
Photo by Michael Jordan, enjoying a meal at sunset, Zangskar Valley, India

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Photo by Michael Jordan
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Zangskar Valley, India

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Old 6 Jun 2010
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photocopies of paperwork

Just doing some last minute prep before embarking on a year long trip down the PanAm. I know it`s important to keep back up copies of essential documents, but can anyone give me an idea of how many and which ones they took? Don`t want to be snowed under with paper!

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Old 6 Jun 2010
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You don't need to carry copies of actual documents (except a few which might be obviously helpful, like vehicle ownership, drivers license, passport photo page). Anything else can be scanned and emailed to yourself at a yahoo or google account or carried on a jump drive or memory card, etc. I do the same with bank and credit card info, health insurance and anything else I think I might need. Then I get it all confused with similar scans from previous trips....but in the end I never need any of it anyway, which is much the point.

Anything I'm actually carrying with me I've learned to either laminate in plastic or at minimum paint with map sealer, which will protect against constantly folding and refolding in damp conditions.

Hope that helps.


(from someplace resoundingly damp in equatorial South America)

Last edited by markharf; 6 Jun 2010 at 17:21. Reason: edit for clarity
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Old 6 Jun 2010
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Originally Posted by Motivator View Post
Just doing some last minute prep before embarking on a year long trip down the PanAm. I know it`s important to keep back up copies of essential documents, but can anyone give me an idea of how many and which ones they took? Don`t want to be snowed under with paper!


I just returned from a trip from Victoria, BC, Canada to Yaviza, Panama.

I made one copy of every document, credit card, travel insurance, etc, etc. I also left a copy of each with my partner at home. I was planning on also uploading scanned copies (or digital pictures) to whatever site, but didn't get to it. If you carry a laptop, you should probably keep copies on there as well (password protect them if you're concerned about the laptop being stolen) Mark's flash drive idea is also a very good one. Now you have enough different backups to be able to access your documents in just about any situation.

If you're going through Central America you'll generally need copies of your bike registration/title/proof of ownership, passport, driver's licence ...in one particular country it was three copies of each (can't remember which one). But you don't have to carry these with you since photocopy places are plentyful and cheap thorughout Central America. In most cases you can get the copies right at the border where enterprising locals have bought photocopiers to make some extra cash. I have found them to be quite reasonably priced as well ....5 cents per copy, more or less.

What I did was always carry about 5 copies of each border crossing document before arriving at the border. That way I didn't have to walk around for more copies and leave my bike unattended for too long. Having said that, there are some cases where you'll still have to get an additional copy or two since some borders require copies of your passport with the entry stamp, or copies of their own temporary vehicle import permit ...you'd think they could just hit "print" twice, but apparently not ;-)

I also made high quality colour photocopies of my bike registration/proof of ownership and only used the copies, while my original was safely tucked away.

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Old 6 Jun 2010
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I'm in the same position as you (heading to Alaska in July). I'm going to scan copies of my passport, driving license, International driving permit, travel insurance, credit cards. I might put them on my netbook, but I'm a bit worried about it being stolen so instead I might copy them onto a memory stick and hid that somewhere on my bike. I'll also email myself a copy and leave another copy at home. That should cover it.

I've also photocopied my International driving permit on green paper and will try to use this first whenever I'm asked for documentation. Another thing I've done is get a CitizenCard Proof of Age - ID card, UK national ID Card, UK identity card, photo ID, citizen card, airline ID, proof of age, UK ID card, official ID, identity card, flight ID, YAP, flight identity, proof of identity citizencard, citizen card, photo I This is NOT a UK ID card but it is proof of age. Aimed at 16-21 year olds, it costs 15 quid to get and simply proves you are over 21. I've got one because it is very offical looking, has my photo on it and i can use it in hostels etc where they want a card to hold overnight, or to show a dodgy police officer. If i don't get it back it doesn't matter as much as a passport.
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Old 7 Jun 2010
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All the above ideas are good, the only extra I would reccomend is protection for the thumb drive. I had all my stuff on one of these(including passwords and PINs for cash cards etc), with encryption of course and it died on the road!!!!

I never kept a full electronic back up anywhere else, so some of those documents were hard to get scanned again.

I was reluctant to upload to the internet any type of stuff like that, so it was a hassle for a short while. In future, I will have two thumb drives, identical contents, for just in case.

I never had to use any of it anyway, but I am glad it was there as if I had of lost my hard copy originals, in the tankbag, at least I had something.

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Old 8 Jun 2010
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Thanks for all the ideas folks - I`ll get scanning and copying immediately!
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