Gullfoss Iceland

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I'm an expat whose goal is to visit every country in the world.

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Is a Travel Wallet Necessary?

Is a Travel Wallet Necessary?

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year’s Eve, and I hope your goals and resolutions for 2019 all come to fruition.

This year, I had the opportunity to spend the last couple hours of 2018 and the first 8 hours of 2019 in Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar because of a long layover on Qatar Airways. I wish I could say that my New Year’s Eve was interesting, but it was actually spent in a sleeping area of the airport with tons of other travelers. When it struck midnight in Qatar, there was some very mild celebration from one of the bars in the main terminal, and then everything went back to normal within two minutes.

Of course, I didn’t spend my 9-hour layover sleeping (I wish!)…only about 4 hours of it. Instead, a majority of the layover was spent walking around and checking out the many different shops in main terminal. As I was walking around and checking out the various shops, I came upon a product that piqued my interest. The travel wallet.

I had seen travel wallets before, and I know a lot of people like to use them. For me, if I can find someway to make life easier, I always go for it. The thought of being able to keep all my important documents in one place certainly appeals to me. Admittedly, I was tempted to do an impulse buy and purchase a travel wallet then and there since I do tend to travel relatively frequently, but I stopped myself and started to wonder whether a travel wallet is absolutely necessary?

There are a lot of articles online that nicely explain why a travel wallet is necessary since it can keep your passport, travel documents like boarding passes, travel insurance, ID cards, credit and debit cards, and other required items in one place. However, in my opinion and as someone who has traveled rather extensively, I don’t believe a travel wallet is necessary. In fact, I think having one presents a major risk if you’re not careful.

My main opposition to a travel wallet is the simple fact that it has all your important documents in one place. On one hand, I can see how it can keep everything organized. After all, you won’t have to go looking through different pockets or folders for anything. Everything will be in one place. That certainly makes life a lot easier and much more organized.

However, my main concern is what would happen if the travel wallet should be stolen or lost and all your documents are in it? There is a common saying that one should never keep all their eggs in one basket. The travel wallet does just this. It keeps all your most valuable documents in one place which is definitely nice but also very risky.

Losing a passport, money, credit cards, travel insurance, ID, among other items on their own can cause a MASSIVE headache and absolutely ruin a holiday since you will have to spend your free time with the embassy and/or banks to put everything back in order. Just think of what can happen if you should lose all of those items at one time? I’m honestly not even sure what I would do. I don’t cry often, but that would probably be a perfect reason for me to cry. In addition, you’ll spend the remainder of the holiday worrying about what kind of mess this can make for weeks, months, or even years to come.

I’m not saying people should not buy a travel wallet. If you want to buy a travel wallet, then I say do it. In fact, I love the idea of them, and the fact that you would have everything you would need in one place. All I am saying is that if you buy a travel wallet, you should be aware of the risk you’re taking by keeping all your most valuable documents in one place.

If you do decide to buy a travel wallet, I would follow this simple piece of advice:

Before you head off on your destination, think carefully about what is absolutely necessary to bring, and what can you leave at home and still survive for the duration of your holiday.

Of course, you will need your passport, but do you really need to bring your debit card and all of your credit cards? Maybe leave the debit card and take only one credit card that has fraud protection. Also, if your insurance doesn’t have international coverage, you can probably leave it at home since it probably won’t help much. In addition, do you really need your driver’s license or international driver’s license (if you have one) if you’re heading off to a foreign destination and do not plan on driving? Your passport will suffice as your official identification, so you can leave the driver’s license/international driver’s license at home.

In my personal opinion, I don’t think a travel wallet is particularly necessary if you’re extremely mindful of what you’re bringing although it can be nice to have everything in one place. The key is to bring only the bare minimum of what you and what you can afford to lose. If given the choice, I would probably skip purchasing a travel wallet. If you’re careful, and you’re current system works, then I say keep doing whatever you’re doing.

Ultimately, I am not necessarily against travel wallets. As I stated above, I love the idea of them. However, if you do decide to purchase one, I would recommend bringing only the absolutely necessary items and keeping them in there. That way, if something should happen, it will still cause problems, but you can hopefully minimize the damage by not keeping all your proverbial eggs in one basket. Of course, the key thing if you do use a travel wallet is to make sure you keep an eye on it at all times and only put items in there that you can afford to lose.

Do you use a travel wallet? What do you think of them?

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