Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

10 Easy Ways to Prevent Travel Headaches Just by Snapping Photos

Wendy Perrin | March 23, 2015

On your next trip, whip out your smartphone camera and shoot the following photos. It will take only a few seconds and could save you untold headaches and wasted time—even hundreds of dollars—later in your trip.

1. Snap a photo of your parking spot at the airport.
When you return from your trip jet-lagged and foggy, you’ll know the floor/row where you parked your car.

2. Snap a photo of your luggage before handing it to the airline check-in agent.
If your bag gets lost, you’ll have a photo to help the airline identify it.

3. Snap a photo of your passport identification page.
If you lose your passport, this will help you quickly procure a replacement.

4. Snap a photo of the transit system map in the foreign city you’re visiting.
That way you can refer to it as often as you need to while exploring the city.

Budapest’s subway system

Signs underground in Budapest’s subway system

5. Snap a photo (several, actually) of your rental car before driving it off the lot.
Document any and all dents and scratches on the car at pick-up, and again at drop-off, in case the rental agency later tries to bill you for damage you didn’t do.

Document rental-car returns with your camera

Document rental-car returns with your camera, especially if the rental office is unmanned and you can’t get a receipt.

6. Snap a photo of signs or placards you may need to refer to later.
Do your brain a favor and photograph any signs that provide traveler help, technical instructions, or historical information that you might want to remember.

7. Snap a photo of any expensive souvenirs you buy and ship home.
If your purchase never arrives, or if it arrives damaged, you’ll want a photo documenting what you bought.

8. Snap a photo of any souvenir you almost buy but don’t because it’s too expensive.
At least you can enjoy the memory (or, if you change your mind, order it from the merchant later). Of course, whenever you see a local artisan handcrafting a souvenir you’re going to buy, snap a photo of him making it.

9. Snap a photo of your children each morning of the trip.
If they get lost, you can show authorities what they look like and what they’re wearing.

10. Snap a photo of the objects your children make or collect during the trip that can’t be transported back home on the plane.
Such photos will go a long way toward mollifying your kids when they are forced to leave their treasures behind.

 

Tell me: What did I forget? How else can you use a smartphone camera to prevent or minimize travel headaches?

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11 Comments

  1. Diana

    Great tips!
    If you keep pix on your phone of your passport #, credit cards, and other sensitive documents, be sure to use the password feature on your phone so that if someone gets hold of your phone, they don’t also get hold of your entire identity. And then delete those pix when you return home.

  2. Julia Hauldren

    I also always take a photo of our room number on our hotel room door so I can remember which room(s) we had and recommend (or not) based on if they had good views, were quiet, etc. if you love a room you can request it again . Ialsolike to take photos of the interior of the room as soon as we arrive while it is all made up before our stuff gets unpacked.

  3. Katherine Paiva

    Along the same idea of taking before and after pictures of your rental car — If we’re staying at a rental home (Air bnb, VRBO, Home Away, Flip Key, etc.) I always take pictures when we arrive and when we leave. Tried video, but it takes up too much space, but if you take photos you can send them to your home computer and delete/ease them off your phone, or just take them on a digital camera. Be sure your date stamp is working.

    Protects us against leaks, new dents, or stains that might “appear” after we left.

  4. Linda Terrill

    Snap a photo of a restaurant’s front entrance and name to easily remember (and recommend) later on. Snap a photo of the label of a great bottle of wine or use an app like RedLaser.

  5. Heidi Vargas

    Great Tips ! I have used them all ( except for the kids .. I don’t have children … lol )

    I always take photo’s of all our travel documents and make sure my travel companion does also.

    If on a ship I always take a photo of the ships address/phone number found on the daily handout for the ports of call you are in and also as I am disembarking I take of photo of the board that states what time to be back on the ship …

  6. Christina Thomas

    Great list! I’ve used several of these before and they have helped tremendously. taking a picture of a sign with the name of landmarks or street signs for the location you took the picture is helpful when trying to identify what you took pictures of

  7. Simony

    when walking through an unfamiliar environment, in order to find your way back to your car or hotel etc.. Periodically take a photo of the scene behind you. Ideally every new vista you will see on your return journey.

    This gives you a real time aid when walking back. Even just the act of looking back helps to give you awareness as you return.

  8. Kathleen Land

    I type

    THIS CAMERA BELONGS TO
    MY. NAME
    MY ADDRESS
    MY EMAIL
    and make it the first photo on my memory card.

    If someone finds my camera they will know how to contact me.

  9. ELISA Stepancic

    Great info,,
    Snap a photo of you’re credit cards ,incase they are stolen and photo of your resort name of staying especially if you are a solo traveler and something happens in the street and you are alone ,write it down too. Also I print off the MRT train systems of country I am visiting ,lamenate it ,take it with me ,then I leave it in the room for the next guests to use .

    Cheers
    ELISA

  10. colleen

    Great tips! The only this I would add is to make the first shot in a city of a multi-city trip (e.g. cruise) one that includes the city name. Helps organizing later.

    May I also suggest/request you increase the font size, and darken it, in this comments input form. It’s really hard to read. The type in the body of your post is awesome!

  11. Familygoboston

    Excellent list! I do many of these, especially since when I return I write user generated reviews and my own blog. Having photos of explanation signs and transit maps is hugely helpful when trying to remember the details!! I also take photos of menus so I can share the address and some details about the type of cuisine in reviews.
    The first photo on our memory cards is always our itinerary with addresses for all the places we plan to be during the trip. We offer a reward for return of the camera (or at least the card). Our hope is someone who finds the camera or discarded memory card, might at least return the card; the camera is insured but the lost memories on the card would not be!

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