Android Travel Tip

Once upon a time, a blogger flew a quarter of the way around the world and back to cover a little mobile conference. And not only did he get to spend an extra night in Atlanta after being turned around within sight of home (thanks, fog!), he managed to lose his gate-check slip in the process after naively offering to stick his bag in the belly of the plane to make room for others. Amateur.

There's a simple solution for all this. Document your documents. At the very least, use your phone's camera. Check a bag? Take a picture of your claim slip. Have a receipt you need to keep? Snap a pic.

Or to really do things the right way, use some sort of note-taking app with syncing abilities -- the Google DocsEvernote, etc. (And travel apps such as Tripit and Flight Track should add this feature in, too.) At some point, it'll save your bacon.

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Reader comments

Android Travel Tip: Document your documents

18 Comments

Using your camera to record documents is great. I'm a police officer, and specialize in crash investigation and reporting. I started using my EVO's camera to not only take photos of the crash and vehicle damage, but to photograph licenses, registration and insurance paperwork so all I have to take back to my car or motorcycle is my phone. No more trying to keep track of half a dozen, different sized documents. Take a pic, hand it back to the owner.

Wait, you mean to tell me that people let you take a picture of their registration and insurance paperwork on a personal phone? Sorry, but if you were pulling me over, there is no way in hell Im letting you take pics of my personal information. There is no way that if you advertised that to the higher ups they would be ok with it, that is a privacy lawsuit waiting to happen. Im a physician, and that would be like me taking pictures in the OR or storing pictures of patients' insurance info....no way Id ever do that for patient privacy sake. I applaud your effort to be more effective and I dont doubt your intentions, things like personal info should never be stored on anything but official servers.

But the information handed to the police is information that can be publicly gathered. Your line of work deals with HIPPA restrictions. 2 very different birds. In my County, crash reports are posted online so both parties can access them without costing the County money printing out reports. Those reports are detailed too on each driver.

That great, making the process faster. Nothing more irritating then sitting on the side of the road for an hour while the police trying to write all the stuff on his little notebook. Which the officer probably lost the notebook on the street and someone can pick it up. People now a day are so paranoid. All the informations are not personal anymore, anyone can find information anywhere. Anyone want my tag and insurance number, they can have it. Keep up the good work officer. Oh and walk back to your cruiser and take picture next time because people will get paranoid if they see you do it.

As long as you don't patrol near me, I slightly side with the physician on this. While I hope that we can move to more effective means of getting officers off the side of someones car while they write everything down, I think for your own legal protection it may worth while to see what kind of trouble this could get you in if someone complains.
Now, if you do patrol near me, well then that physician has no idea what he's talking about.

I used Evernote to save passports, and credit cards when I traveled out of the country. Didn't have to use them, but it was good knowing that I had an extra level of security... Also, with Evernote... If I lost my phone, my pictures were still saved on the cloud and both of my home computers automatically!

I'd like to move away from using evernote and stick strictly with Google Docs (right now my docs/notes are split 50/50), but evernote has offline mode, where my docs sync and can be edited (on a plane for instance). Until google has this option I'm kind of stuck using both, which sucks. What do you guys think? Is there a better way to do this?

I use the phones camera often to take pictures of work orders so I don't have to carry copies when I am on call. It works perfectly. I often email pictures of paperwork and attach like I would any other document.

Or just don't check your bags. It's totally doable, especially on short trips. Makes travelling SO much easier.

While I agree in theory, nothing he mentioned taking pictures of is inaccessible to him at am time as a police officer. As long as he gets consent from the people before doing it, I think he's in the clear. And while I doubt that his superiors would be entirely okay with it, I doubt it would be considered nearly as serious as a HIPAA violation. I hope not, anyway.

I just throw the receipts and small documents like that in my wallet until I get home. I would lose my phone before I would lose my wallet anyway.

I use Document Scanner to make pdfs of important docs and save them to Google Docs. Now Google needs to implement password protection for individual files.

This is a great article! This is a wonderful idea that could be applied to so many other situations, not just travel! Thanks for the great article!

I use quickpic to sort my documents/pictures. All my work sheets, time sheets, and other stuff gets quickly sent into different folders for later viewing, makes life a lot easier