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.
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.
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.