I’ve been traveling internationally for a few years now and I’ve gone back and forth on the travel wallet train. My parents got me one when I went to Germany the first time, and while I liked it, I was a bit too lazy to move all of my stuff into every time I traveled. The Verlobter, on the other hand, worships at the Church of the Travel Wallet and tries to convert everyone he knows who is planning an international trip.
In the past, I’ve just tried to keep everything important in my regular wallet, which is quite large, but it’s not really set up to hold everything a traveler needs – and it is just slightly too small to fit in boarding passes without folding them. So, when I was choosing things to put on my bridal registry, I threw on this travel wallet on Amazon. The Verlobter has a sturdy leather (or faux leather, I’m not sure) one, but I wanted something bright that I couldn’t lose easily in my bag. I’m not sure how well it will hold up, but while I think we travel a lot, it is only once or twice a year. I won’t be using it daily, but I will let you know if there are any problems.
The thing I like most about travel wallets is that they are set up so that you can see everything easily when you open it. Mine has some mesh pockets, so you can secure important documents while still being able to read them. What documents you will need depends on where you are traveling to, but I went ahead and loaded my wallet up with what I will most likely bring with me to America when I travel in August.
I took some old boarding passes to show where they go, as we don’t have ours yet. Behind them is a mesh pocket that would be great for any luggage receipts if you have checked you luggage.
There is a zippered pocket where I will store cash, but you could also place small valuables that you want to keep on hand. I would advise against checking valuables, because of the risk of lost luggage or unscrupulous employees – though I’m mostly concerned about the lost luggage.
The gray pockets on each side are perfectly sized for passports. If you are keeping travel documents for more than one person in this wallet, for example if you are traveling with a child or you and your partner want to keep everything together, it would definitely be possible to keep a second passport on the other side. The Verlobter also keeps his International Certificates of Vaccines with his passport. I was given one by my German doctor, but I haven’t gotten it up to date yet. If you are traveling to a country that requires or recommends vaccinations, I would definitely slip you evidence of it into one of your many useful pockets. But I’m from the US, where we play fast and loose with our health records, unlike the Germans who are meticulous and organized.
The small pockets at the bottom of each side are perfectly sized for cards. For my organization, I keep my money related cards on one side and other cards, my health insurance card and drivers licence card, for example, on the other side. This just helps to prevent all the digging that I normally do in my everyday, unorganized wallet.
When you travel to the US, you have to submit a Customs Declaration. They will hand them out either on the plane or right before the passport check when you land, but you can also print one out in advance and fill it out before you leave, which I highly encourage. This gives you a chance to check your belongings before you leave and report everything more accurately. This is also your chance to make sure you aren’t packing anything you aren’t supposed to bring in, like meat or fruit. It’s much less stressful to fill it out when you still have your stuff in front of you than sitting on the plane and trying to remember how many bags of Haribo you threw in your suitcase. You only need one form per household, which U.S. Customs and Border Protection defines as “members of a family residing in the same household who are related by blood, marriage, domestic relationship, or adoption.” The Verlobter and I just need the one form, and I usually fill it out because I have a weird thing where I like filling out forms.
The last thing I have in my travel wallet is a pen. Bring one. Some airlines will give you a pen and some won’t. I’ve forgotten pens several times. On a US Airways flight, I was told that I needed to ask my neighbors if I could borrow one. On a KLM flight, the flight attendant cheerfully handed me a miniature KLM branded pen. You never know, so just bring your own.
Do you think I have everything I need? What else would you put in your travel wallet?