Trekking around the world is thrilling. However, it can be equally as frightening when you realize your passport is ruined or has been stolen. Before leaving on a trip, make preparations and protect your essential travel documents. While traveling, be vigilant of security and protecting your travel documents. A few simple tips can save you the hassle and time of dealing with lost, stolen or ruined travel documents.

Use Plastic Bags

Use quart and gallon size plastic bags to protect your travel documents. Accidents happen: beverages are tipped over, food is dropped or a pen explodes in your bag. Keeping travel documents clean and dry is essential to travel. Place all essential documents, including directions, tickets and maps, in a gallon sized bag inside your travel bag. When carrying your passport on international trips, place it inside a quart sized plastic bag before putting it into the travel wallet or purse. This protects it as much as possible from moisture.

Make and Email Copies

Before leaving on any trip, make copies of all bank and credit cards, passports, visas, or identification. Copy anything you are taking along that is vital to your trip. Scan the copies and email them to yourself so you can access them from anywhere in the world. If your passport is lost or stolen, you will be asked for information like the issue date, passport number and expiration date. Canceling a stolen credit card requires the toll free number on the back of the card. Having copies of all essential documents at your fingertips can save time and money and reduce your stress. If you worry about the security of email, leave out one or two digits on your credit card and commit it them to memory.

Inform a Family Member

Give a family member access to your bank account while you are out of the country. Decide which bank account and credit card you will use and provide him with copies of your card. Visit the local branch of your bank and add the family member to your account. This is a quick process and it's easy to remove his name when you return. In an emergency, having a family member add money to your account is quicker and easier than wiring money overseas. Also, if don't have one of those numbers to stop payment or cancel a card, the family member can take care of this for you.

Lock Bags

Too often travelers are in a hurry and forget the easiest way to protect their travel documents: lock the bag. Bags are placed in overhead compartments or racks. The owner falls asleep or visits the beverage cart, without keeping an eye on his bags. Consider purchasing and using a small travel lock, making your bag and travel documents more of a hassle to steal. To protect all the pockets and zippers, consider a wire netting that fits over the entire bag. Look for the option that best meets your travel needs.

Keep Items Close

When traveling internationally, carry your passport with you at all times. Use a travel waist belt or travel wallet around the neck to carry money, credit cards and your passport. In crowded situations, such as the metro or open air markets, be extra vigilant of pickpockets. Lock other important travel documents in the safe in your hotel room or in your suitcase. When traveling domestically, make sure to have a form of identification on you at all times. Carry wallets in the front pocket of pants instead of the back and only carry the amount of money needed. Leave extra cash at the hotel.