So what should we photo copy (Already have passports photo copied). Should we definitely bring the kids birth certificates or just photo copies or don't worry about it? When we are out and about all day what should we have in our moneybelt? Going to London, Paris, Lucerne, Florence, Rome, Venice and Vienna. Training from place to place. Kids are 18, 15, 11.
Hi Keith, I always photocopy my credit cards - front and back - keep those separate from my passport copies. Don't need birth certificates for the kids - their passport is fine. As for what to carry in your moneybelt we carry our passports (unless we have access to a safe) and then we split up the credit/debit cards - my husband carries half of them and I carry the other half (i.e. each of us has different bank cards). We don't carry lots of cash - about 200 euros is what we carry most of the time - ATMS's are all over so there really is no need to carry a large amount of cash.
One thing I'd recommend is that you copy or write down the address of where you are staying on small business sized cards and give one to each child to keep in their daybag or pocket - include a cell number if you have one as well. That way, if your child gets lost they know where they are staying. Also, each day when we headed out with our kids we would also establish meeting places if we got separated. We generally would pick something easy to find (the fountain at Trafalgar square in London for example if we were touring in that area). That would be the first place we would stop during the day to make sure everyone knew what it looked like and where exactly to go if they got separated or lost. If you got separated you headed there and STAYED there until everyone else showed up. Only once did one of the kids get separated and so as soon as we realized it, we headed to the meeting spot and there he was. Have a great time - you've picked lovely cities to visit!
We have taken our kids on at least 25 international trips and have never taken nor needed a birth certificate, even when they were babies. Their passport is sufficient identification.
No need for birth certificates at all, copies or otherwise. (They couldn't have gotten passports without showing a birth certificate.) Also, no need to copy credit cards. Copies of credit cards are just one more thing to have to guard. All you need is the customer service phone number from the back of the cards so you can call if they are lost or stolen. You won't need the card number to report it.
Recent conversations with other travelers have got me thinking about whether there's any critical medical information I should be carrying with me. When at home or traveling domestically I carry a larger wallet with more identifying material in it, but I strip that down to a minimum in a much smaller wallet for travel overseas. Now I'm re-evaluating whether there are a few things more I should be carrying. Of course, it's personal and individual, but it is something on my mind for my upcoming trips.
If taking any critical medications, you need that list with both the chemical name and generic name. And remember that copies of your credit card is just as useful to a thief as the actual card. Truthfully I don't think it is smart to make copies of credit cards.
In your title question, you ask about what to give kids. No one seems to have addressed that, so I will. Your kids should carry around your phone number (if you are carrying a phone) and the name and address of the hotel. Your 18yo - since technically an adult - should carry their own ID. The 15yo may need to produce ID to show that they are under 18 for museum admissions. And really, at that age, they are ready to learn about carrying a money belt and being safe. (We first made my oldest wear one at age 11. It was uncomfortable for her, but she got used to it.) Whether you chose to give your kids their own spending money is up to you. I also have 3 kids and we tend to bring one small backpack (really small) and they take turns carrying it. It always has a bottle of water and tissues, and sometimes has snacks, rain ponchos or umbrellas, and is a place to put small souvenirs. If we're outdoors and go inside, it's a place for hats and sunglasses to go so they're not lost.
I think that, as a backup measure, scanning and storing online a copy of critical documents and cards is more important than photocopying there. You can almost always (in Europe) gain access to a computer and print out some PDF or JPG file if needed.
Are we keeping our passports with us for ID purposes or for safe keeping of passports. Would it OK/better to have photocopies of passports on us and have actual passports back in the room.
Hi Keith, We carry ours for safekeeping. Since we generally stay in an apartment we don't have access to a safe and so.. the passports stay with us. As I recall, we've never had to use them for ID outside of the airports. I keep photocopies of the passports in a compartment of my carry on which stays locked in the apartment. Certainly not foolproof, but there is no perfect system. So far, so good - haven't ever needed the copies!
Just as I always carry my U.S. Driver's License with me in the States as my government-issued most acceptable form of identification, likewise when out of the U.S. I always carry my Passport for the same reason - in a moneybelt underneath my clothing in crowded cities, or in my purse when in the country and I feel more relaxed about security. I never leave it in any hotel safe. Personal preference, regardless of what anybody else says about their experience. I would always want to be able to provide official proof of my identity, or be able to be officially identified, if needed.