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Old 07-29-2012, 04:42 PM   #1
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Important Information


My question is, how do you safe-guard all your very important papers and documents, such as, Passports, Birth Certificates, Social Security cards, or any documentation if lost, stolen, or burned-up during a accident, would be difficult or nearly impossible to replace.

When you will not have a permanent home to go back to, what do you do? I was thinking about a place in the Airstream to hide a Fire-proof Safe Deposit box.

Any ideas would be appreciated.

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Old 07-29-2012, 05:20 PM   #2
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Quite simple, really. Don't bring anything you don't expect to need. Even a fire-proof safe won't help you if the Airstream is stolen.

For three years full-timing all we carried were our Passports. The US Passport is the "gold standard" for proving identity, accepted by everyone. If you already have a Passport you have no need for a birth certificate or social security card, so leave those in a safe deposit box back at home. If you think you "might" need those, leave the key with an authorized/reliable person who can get at the safe deposit box for you.

We made a secret compartment in the Airstream for the Passports (easily hidden because they are thin) and slipped them in along with two 100 dollar bills and some miscellaneous bills in Canadian and Mexican currency. You could also fit Titles to your vehicles in the same place, or leave them behind too.

Also, if you have a lot of irreplaceable data on your computer, keep a second back-up hard drive in the safe deposit box, and update it every time you swing through town. Your primary backup hard drive can travel with you.
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:50 PM   #3
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This is not just for full timers—You can have duplicate originals of some documents—medical and financial powers of attorney, wills, living wills, and DNR orders. Two identical copies executed at the same time; ask a lawyer how to do it.

There no need to have a social security card with you and if it is stolen, getting a new number is a lot of grief. Passports and driver's licenses will be good ID just about anywhere (passports more so, but I don't like carrying another thing that causes grief to replace).

Duplicate birth certificates are usually available, but you don't really need them with you. Other important documents can be copied and may be useful.

Something proving health insurance is important also. A list of networks or how to find out about it are also important—go to another state and you may not have much coverage, or very different coverage, and leave the country, and have none at all, depending on what insurance you have.

If you are injured or get sick away from home, the medical power of attorney may be very important along with a living will and a DNR order if you wish to have one. Some doctors and hospitals can be very difficult even if you have an original with you, and impossible if you don't.

Have a list of all things with their numbers in separate places—one in tow vehicle, one in trailer, for example. Try stopping charges on a stolen credit card without the credit card number, the number on the back, expiration date and the phone number of the credit card company.

A fire safe is very heavy and would better fit in a tow vehicle because of the lack of storage space in an Airstream. You can bolt them to a wood floor with wood screws in the Airstream though, but where to put it? Maybe a really small one would fit under the dinette seat in some trailers, or in a cabinet, but the fit would be hard. In a truck, it could be screwed to the floor with machine screws, but be careful how deep you go and you'd want to have a nut on the other end, so accessibility underneath for you (not a thief) would be important. Fire proof means an hour or two before you have roasted documents, but most vehicle fires burn out far sooner.

Rich, where was that secret place?

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Old 07-29-2012, 06:11 PM   #4
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I travel...a lot. I carry a encrypted thumb drive with copies of all of my important documents including photo copies of my credit cards on it. I typically only carry a passport if I plan to travel outside of the country in the US a driver's license is usually all you need. Everything else including vehicle titles are stored in a safe deposit box in a stable part of the country away from flood zones. My tow vehicles have small gun safes installed in them that can serve as a storage facility for documents too. I do keep things backed up to multiple hard drives and switch them out regularly. Another thing you can do is back things up to the cloud in a variety of places. I use Google Docs for a lot of things.

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Old 07-29-2012, 06:21 PM   #5
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I copy all important stuff and store it on multiple computers plus on a cloud storage service such as drop box.
This way you should have enough info to contact the proper agencies for replacements.
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Old 07-31-2012, 06:20 AM   #6
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Thanks for helping me see how simple traveling should be. Your ideas are excellent on every subject. We will be definitely exploring the benefits of the cloud and the electronic solutions.

Full-timing will be fun!
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