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  1. #1
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    What do you bring when you leave your country, in terms of paperwork ... or even if you tour around your own country?

    Here's my list:

    1. Passport - scan the key pages into the computer as a pdf and ensure that my parents have that accessible somewhere in case I need it sent to me. Then I also photocopy those pages - I carry a copy with me and I give a copy to my parents. Of course, I bring the original with me.

    2. Other Identification - same as with the passport - scans and photocopies. I bring a copy and the original with me. This would include driver's licence, provincial health card, birth certificate, etc.

    3. Financial - I make sure both my parents and I have got the phone number for my credit card company, and any additional information which might be useful if my financial stuff were stolen (website links etc.).

    4. Travel Insurance - scan the insurance papers into the computer as pdfs and ensure my parents have a copy. Photocopy those pages - bring one with me as a spare copy, and give one copy to my parents. I also bring the original with me.

    5. Bicycle - same as above with the receipt and bicycle insurance information ... except that I don't bring the original receipt with me. I would do the same with any other items I deemed "expensive" (i.e. digital camera, laptop, etc.), except that I don't carry anything that I deem "expensive" when I travel.

    6. Transportation Info - because I make most of my transportation arrangements online, I just forward the confirmation emails on to my parents so they have it all. Then I print out two or three copies of it all - two to bring with me, and one to give to my parents. This information would include: flights out and back, trains, busses, car rentals, etc.

    7. Accommodations Info - I rarely book all my accommodations, but if I do book some, I will do the same as above with whatever I have so that my parents and I have copies of it all. I will also ensure that my parents have the website address to Hostelling International, in case I need something looked up, or to give them a place to start looking for me if necessary. In addition to that, I will bring my Hostelling International book, and I will occasionally print out a bit of accommodation information- maybe options for a particular city or something.

    8. Itinerary - I make sure my parents know my basic itinerary. They might not know the exact details, and in fact I might not know the exact details, but at least they have an idea of where I'm heading.

    9. Phone Numbers and Addresses - I've got several index cards with all the phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses of family and friends both back at home, and where I'm heading. I also ensure that my parents have the email addresses of anyone I'll be visiting along the way, if I know their email addresses.


    As I mentioned I either carry two copies of most of the stuff above, or the originals and one copy, with me. I keep them in different places on the bicycle.


    How about all of you? Is your list pretty much the same? Have I missed anything you would consider important?

  2. #2
    Senior Member cyclemanic's Avatar
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    i think u have covered it all!
    may the force be with u!!

  3. #3
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Thank you. Excellent list!

    I would like to add what not to bring. Go through your wallet and remove any membership cards, credit cards, employee ID, grocery cards etc. that you will not use on your trip. No sense in taking this stuff with you and chance losing it, if you don't need it.

    Luggage ID should go on it and inside the luggage. ID on luggage should be hidden from the view of burglars that hang out at your local airport.

    Likewise bicycle should have ID attached (Machka idea for ID on bike may suffice). Remember ID your bicycle box but hide the ID from easy view.

  4. #4
    Hooked on Touring
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    To all you Americans and Canadians out there:

    Starting in 2007 you MUST have a passport to cross the US/Canada border.
    In 2006, you must show proof of citizenship. Driver's license with Social Security card or voter's registration will no longer suffice. My sarcastic comment about having to be a citizen to vote won me no friends at the border last year.

    The days of simple border crossings are no more. I wouldn't be surprised to see them want to put up concertina wire and machine *** bunkers. It amazes me that one can probably sneak in a zillion pounds of chemicals to make explosives with in all the uninspected containers that arrive at our ports, but God forbid some cyclist wearing a hankie tries to cross the border between Alberta and Montana (or pick any other pair).

    Still -- be forewarned,

    Best - J

  5. #5
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    I wouldn't think of crossing into the US. No rights guarantee for non-americans. Take the business elsewhere.

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani
    To all you Americans and Canadians out there:

    Starting in 2007 you MUST have a passport to cross the US/Canada border.
    In 2006, you must show proof of citizenship. Driver's license with Social Security card or voter's registration will no longer suffice. My sarcastic comment about having to be a citizen to vote won me no friends at the border last year.

    The days of simple border crossings are no more. I wouldn't be surprised to see them want to put up concertina wire and machine *** bunkers. It amazes me that one can probably sneak in a zillion pounds of chemicals to make explosives with in all the uninspected containers that arrive at our ports, but God forbid some cyclist wearing a hankie tries to cross the border between Alberta and Montana (or pick any other pair).

    Still -- be forewarned,

    Best - J

    The other thing that has come up as an issue with the BC Randonneurs who do brevets that start in BC and go down into Washington and back, or who take trips down to Washington to ride with the Seattle Randonneurs, is bicycle ownership.

    I was questioned about that too, at the Washington/BC border when I travelled back to Canada from California by bus this past July. They hauled us all out of the bus at 2 am, along with all our gear, and we had to claim our stuff and stagger through the line ... but they left all the oversized luggage (including my bicycle) outside and told us not to touch it. I was holding a bag with my helmet attached outside, so they must have put two and two together because when I got to the front of the line they asked me if that were my bicycle. I said it was, and then they wanted to know where I got it, and asked me a bunch of questions about it. But after a bit, they let me go through, and it was OK.

    However, from what I've heard on the BC Randonneur email list thing, they are really starting to crack down so that people need to produce a receipt, or insurance papers, or some sort of proof of ownership ... and apparently it is the same thing with any "expensive" item.

    So, I will now be travelling with a full collection of paperwork!!

  7. #7
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Papers? Vere are your PAPERS!?



    Sorry I had to

  8. #8
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Also: List of allergies and current medications with dosages.

  9. #9
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    I cary an extra photo copy of my pasport picture page, list of travelers cheques, important phone numbers and some cash dollars rolled up in side my handlebars or seat post.

  10. #10
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    3. a) Call your credit card companies and inform them of the countries you may be using your cards.

    b) Get there oversees direct dial phone numbers for the countries you may be traveling through. It takes a bit of a wait, as most of the "customer service" folks will just droll out some 800 number. Be aware that these may not work.

    -Personal experience from having one of my cards declined while checking into a hotel in Budapest (after I had informed the CC company of my trip!). I had a backup card, and dealt with the locked card company the next day (had the direct dial #). Apparrently some CC security software locks the card anyways (not neccassarily a bad feature).

    c) make sure your PIN will work oversees (some machines require 4 digits).


    --I've also taken to "laminating" important copies of documents/info (Pasport/ID/contact info etc). Not really a laminate, I just use clear packing tape over front+back of the xerox's or printouts. Makes them hold up MUCH longer. Particularly handy for frequently used copies like the passport copy (some places let me use it for check in), and contact info (sending postcards/calling friends). I then don't worry much about where I shove the "backup copies" in a pannier either.
    mmmm coffeee!

    email: jfoneg (_"a t symbol thing"_) yahoo (_"period or dot"_) com

  11. #11
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camel
    c) make sure your PIN will work oversees (some machines require 4 digits).
    European bank machines have only numbers, no letters. If your pin includes letters then find out the corresponding numbers before you go. At first I tried to figure it out by logic (a, b, c = 1) and it did not work. Fortunately I had used my pin so many times I was able to squint so I couldn't see the numbers and just hit the keys that felt right.
    I don't carry travellers cheques any more and count on getting cash from ATMs, either with my bank card or a credit card if that fails. However I try not to let my cash run too low.

  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camel
    3. a) Call your credit card companies and inform them of the countries you may be using your cards.

    b) Get there oversees direct dial phone numbers for the countries you may be traveling through. It takes a bit of a wait, as most of the "customer service" folks will just droll out some 800 number. Be aware that these may not work.

    -Personal experience from having one of my cards declined while checking into a hotel in Budapest (after I had informed the CC company of my trip!). I had a backup card, and dealt with the locked card company the next day (had the direct dial #). Apparrently some CC security software locks the card anyways (not neccassarily a bad feature).

    c) make sure your PIN will work oversees (some machines require 4 digits).


    --I've also taken to "laminating" important copies of documents/info (Pasport/ID/contact info etc). Not really a laminate, I just use clear packing tape over front+back of the xerox's or printouts. Makes them hold up MUCH longer. Particularly handy for frequently used copies like the passport copy (some places let me use it for check in), and contact info (sending postcards/calling friends). I then don't worry much about where I shove the "backup copies" in a pannier either.

    Very good tips there!!

    Before I went to Australia for three months, I talked to my bank and my credit card company and informed them how long I would be gone, and even my approx. itinerary (like the fact that I would be in Los Angeles on the way there and back, and would be travelling all over Australia, not remaining in just one area). They put a note on my account to that effect.

    I also talked to my bank about my debit card, before I went to Europe and before I went to Australia, to find out if I could use my card in those places. I could, but only with certain machines, and they explained which ones etc. I have to say that my bank was extremely helpful!!

    About laminating, I worked for a place that does laminating, and it is not very expensive. It costs about 0.70 to laminate a business card sized item. I haven't done that in the past, but I think it is a great idea, and will very likely do that in the future. I've ridden in so much rain and bad weather, and in Australia I actually had a bunch of my stuff (papers and clothing) go moldy before I beefed up my water protection systems.

  13. #13
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    I never intend to tour in any other countries. I've gotten too used to america and can't stand anywhere else.

    I just carry a bunch of cash. No id, no checks, no credit cards, etc.

    Simple. No one can track cash.

  14. #14
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    I wouldn't think of crossing into the US. No rights guarantee for non-americans. Take the business elsewhere.
    Thanks for warning us. I'm sure the U.S. encomomy is really going to miss you.

  15. #15
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    The other thing about credit cards is to make sure you are not charged a fee for currency exchange. I was charged a 6% fee for using my card in Antigua last year. I thought the whole idea of Visa was that it is to be used throughout the world. It could end of costing you a fortune,


    On my next trip, I am going to check with them, if they won't waive the charges then I'll take by business elsewhere.

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    "Thanks for warning us. I'm sure the U.S. encomomy is really going to miss you."

    I doubt that, there is still mail order!

  17. #17
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker
    The other thing about credit cards is to make sure you are not charged a fee for currency exchange. I was charged a 6% fee for using my card in Antigua last year. I thought the whole idea of Visa was that it is to be used throughout the world. It could end of costing you a fortune,


    On my next trip, I am going to check with them, if they won't waive the charges then I'll take by business elsewhere.
    They all have extra fees. It's either a "bad" exchange rate which automaticly gives them the extra %, or there cut is tacked on outright because of the cash transaction (as opposed to a purchase). To save some money, find machines in the same network as your card (can save a buck or two per transaction).

    There aren't extra fees associated with (some) debit/check cards. Depends upon the banks, and your accounts. I bring a debit card, but rarely use it, as it's linked to that account. I view the extra % tacked on by credit card companies as "travel insurance". I'm accountable for less should a credit card be lost/stolen.

    [Edit] Forgot to add 6% does sound high. It would be worthwhile to shop around.
    Last edited by Camel; 01-10-06 at 07:17 PM.
    mmmm coffeee!

    email: jfoneg (_"a t symbol thing"_) yahoo (_"period or dot"_) com

  18. #18
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    "Thanks for warning us. I'm sure the U.S. encomomy is really going to miss you."

    I doubt that, there is still mail order!
    Try using this next time.

  19. #19
    Flying and Riding sam21fire's Avatar
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    Along with your list of medications and medical condition (allergies, medical history, etc) be sure to bring a copy of the prescription itself if you are taking meds that could be remotely considered dangerous, controlled, addicting or expensive in the country you'll be traveling in.

    Other things to bring along (original and copies)
    - Birth certificate
    - Vaccination/immunizations
    - Contact information (address and phone number) for consulates and embassies where you'll be traveling
    - Contact information for local chapter of the International Committee of the Red Cross
    - If you don't speak the same language as the locals, keep one of your laminated pages blank so you can draw pictures on it with an eraseable marking pen; these are commonly called "pointy-talkies" and can help get over lanugage barriers...as well as providing much amusement to the locals!

    Good luck!
    Sam

  20. #20
    Really like your peaches
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    Does no one but me take along just the passport? It's not a career change.

  21. #21
    tn man
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    Quote Originally Posted by sam21fire
    Other things to bring along (original and copies)

    - Vaccination/immunizations

    Good luck!
    Sam
    There is an standard document everyone should have with their passport, called the "International Certificates of Vaccination". In the states the US HHS department issues a document referred to as Form PHS-731 (approved by the WHO). Take this document to your doctor whenever you get a vaccination that might be helpful in border crossings. The doctor records the vaccination in the appropriate section of the form. The one I have folds up to just about the size of my passport, so I keep it slipped between two pages of the passport. Most countries don't require any specific vaccinations, but if you plan on touring in tim-buk-too then it's a good idea to show up with a PHS-731 showing all the required shots or else they might give them to you themselves with the famous rusty hypo. Another reason to have one is if you plan on working with a relief orginazition (i.e. FEMA). They will undoubtedly want you to have one before you deploy to a site.

    I only wish my parents had a PHS-731 for me when I got all of my childhood vaccinations. They aren't recorded so I might need to retake them if I tour in some countries.

    Denis K

  22. #22
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tharold
    Does no one but me take along just the passport? It's not a career change.
    Ahh...but, perhaps it is.
    mmmm coffeee!

    email: jfoneg (_"a t symbol thing"_) yahoo (_"period or dot"_) com

  23. #23
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tharold
    Does no one but me take along just the passport? It's not a career change.

    If I were just heading down to the US for the weekend, I probably wouldn't bring the whole list I've mentioned above. But if I were travelling to another country for a longer period of time than that, I would want (and have brought) that whole list ... and I have encountered situations where I either definitely needed the items on that list ... or came very close to needing them.

    For example:

    Obviously I needed the passport to get into other countries, and while I was in Australia for 3 months, certain financial issues came up which my parent's had to handle for me, so I used that one too.

    I had an accident while in Australia, and there were a couple days when I wasn't sure if I were healing properly, and I seriously debated about seeing a Dr. I didn't, and it was OK, but I actually stood outside the Dr's office and thought about it - that's how close I came to using my insurance. I had the insurance then, and I would definitely bring the insurance again. When I brought my bicycle back into Canada from the US this past July, I was questioned about its origin (whether I had purchased it in the US or Canada), and I was ready to pull out my paperwork proving where I got it, but then the guard let me go through. I would definitely bring the paper work again in the future.

  24. #24
    Videre non videri
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    When I brought my bicycle back into Canada from the US this past July, I was questioned about its origin (whether I had purchased it in the US or Canada), and I was ready to pull out my paperwork proving where I got it, but then the guard let me go through. I would definitely bring the paper work again in the future.
    Do they do that with cars as well?
    Considering any car is an expensive item compared to almost everything else...
    20-10:1 for a car vs a bike is probably normal...

    My guess is they don't, and that just shows how car crazy the world is.

  25. #25
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf
    Do they do that with cars as well?
    Considering any car is an expensive item compared to almost everything else...
    20-10:1 for a car vs a bike is probably normal...

    My guess is they don't, and that just shows how car crazy the world is.

    YES! Of course they do that with cars as well!! If you drive across the border, you've got to show them your insurance and registration and all that. Yes, they definitely question the origin of your car.

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