It’s a good idea to have at least two photocopies of your passport in B&W and carry one on you wherever you go. You’ll need it to exchange money or purchase transportation tickets most of the time. In certain countries you’ll get harassed by police with nothing better to do. It’s best to show the copy and explain that the real one is back at your hotel.
Have at least one photocopy of your passport in color. Some embassies are very particular and love nothing more than to find some small excuse to turn you away.
If you’re traveling for an extended period of time it’s a good thing to carry around a set of passport photos so you can apply for visas abroad. This will save you the hassle of finding places to get your photo taken as well. I carry a set of two sizes: 5.1×5.1cm (2x2in) and 4x6cm. You can easily snap a quick picture against a white wall, make some quick adjustments in photoshop, and get a set printed out much cheaper at a local print shop
Lost or Stolen Passports (USA passports only):
As U.S. passport holders we’re lucky to pretty much have an embassy in every country. The embassy will ask you to fill a form and give you an emergency passport with a few visa pages before the day is over. It’s meant for you to be able to leave the country and head back home instead of continuing to travel. You’ll need to exchange it for the real deal back home. The emergency passport will cost you the same but it’s no charge to exchange it back in the states unless you want to expedite it.
If you’re planning to apply for a new passport do yourself a favor and request the maximum number of pages. There’s no extra charge and adding more pages in the future will cost you $82.
Depending on your nationality, visas can be a huge pain in the ass. Make sure you check the visa situation before you map out a general route for your trip. In some cases you’ll only be able to get the visa in your home country. Other times you can only enter through certain land borders or by flying into the main airport. Some nationalities can only enter countries through tour groups or tourist company invitations. Checking ahead will save you a lot of frustration.
A good resource for this purpose is: Project Visa
If you need to acquire multiple visas at home before your trip, allow yourself plenty of time. Some embassies are notorious for long return times and/or being inconsistent with their list of required documents. Check the web to see if there are Trip Aadvisor reviews of people’s experiences with the embassies you’re applying for.
Proof of Return Flight.
One of the more annoying things that visa applications will ask for is proof of a return flight. Even if you plan to enter or exit a country via land or sea, consulates will still ask for return flights in and out of their country. Many people book flights and cancel them as soon as they get the visa. This is completely unnecessary and annoying to do.
If you have a basic understanding of Photoshop you can easily take an old flight confirmation and edit a new itinerary on using the print screen button and a bit of careful editing. All you have to do is the following:
1. Find a previous flight confirmation and print it to a PDF file.
2. Find the appropriate round trip flight via Kayak, Orbitz, Expedia, Skyscanner etc.
3. Take a screen grab of the page where the booking process begins.
4. Cut out the flight information from the screen grab and overlay it onto the original confirmation.
5. Then using a similar or identical font from your email service, adjust all the dates and numbers to correspond with the present.
6. The photo above points out the areas that need changes.
With a little bit of time this will avoid the unnecessary phone calls and hassle of booking a real flight.
I’ve used this every time when asked for a return flight and it’s never been checked. The amount of extra work and time for the consulate makes no sense.