How to protect your travel and other vital documents
Whether it’s heading for the piste, the beach or an overseas business trip, “It won’t happen to me,” is the thought that many holiday makers and business travellers have, but what happens if you lose your passport, or even worse, have it stolen?
According to the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) more than 60,000 passports were stolen abroad between April 2009 and March 2010 and the IPS replaced more than 279,000 lost or stolen passports in the UK and abroad during the same period.
There are precautions that can be taken before any holiday or trip commences, such as storing copies of all of your documents in the “cloud” in a secure storage area. One company offering this service is UK based iCroak.com that offers 50MB of safe storage for just such an eventuality.
iCroak CEO Paul Golding says, “What we’re offering is peace of mind. You can travel knowing that you don’t have to carry paper copies of everything separate to your original documents. Quite simply log on from your phone, laptop or internet café and all of your paperwork including your passport, flight tickets or health insurance are there ready to be printed off wherever you are.”
The service costs £10 per year, and also allows the account holder to nominate a guardian that would receive all of the information if they were to meet an untimely end.
Some of the more colourful reasons given to the IPS for why people were parted from their passports include:
p> Taxi attacked by gunman on way to airport in Brazil
Fell out of bag while snowboarding
Drunk boyfriend (now ex) destroyed it
Last seen in pocket of a coat donated to tramp
Wallet stolen at children’s party with passport inside
Passports stored in safe in Turkish villa, thieves stole safe
Put in bin by infant daughter; and
Put on a fire with clothes
“Ultimately no-one wants to be the victim of a crime or theft. We completely endorse the advice offered by the IPS,” explains Paul, “but we would like to think that we at iCroak add the reassurance that when you’re overseas on holiday or business knowing that your documentation is safe with us will let you focus on the reason you are there rather than worrying about whether the safe in your hotel room is actually safe!”