Hackpacking: Emergency Flash Drive

| August 6, 2012 | 4 Comments
passportstampspost Hackpacking: Emergency Flash Drive

Passports, visas, tickets, credit cards, prescriptions and other critical documents are all good candidates for backups

Occasionally, Kathryn and I come across some great travel ‘hacks’—tips and shortcuts that help backpackers, vagabonds and long-term travellers get things done smarter, cheaper and more efficiently. So, with no further ado, here’s an inexpensive solution that might be deserving of a place in (or on) your backpack.

In our Travelling Safely series, Kathryn and I touched on the importance of ensuring that you make copies of important documents. In truth, you’ve likely come across this travel tip before—passports, visas, tickets, credit cards, drug prescriptions and other critical documents are all good candidates for backups. This way, it will be easier to replace the originals in the event you lose them.

Last Thursday, Gizmodo’s Andrew Tarantola put together a good little tutorial on how to put together an emergency flash drive to take with you whenever you travel. He writes:

Getting stuck in a strange city with no ID, no money, no credit cards, and no medical or insurance documents can be inconvenient. In a medical emergency, it can be life-threatening. So have a backup plan: a secure flash drive loaded with your most vital documents and details.

In the tutorial, he recommends a couple of flash drives that lend themselves to the purpose, suggests which data to include and how to organize it and, most importantly considering you’ll be carrying sensitive information, how to keep it safe.

All in all a good article, although he recommends the ‘Verbatim Tough-n-Tiny‘ as his USB flash drive of choice. Its reviews on Amazon, however, are dismal. A better bet at the same price point might be Kingston’s Digital DataTraveler SE9. It’s covered by a five-year warranty, free technical support and Kingston solid track record of being reliable. It also boasts, in Andrew’s words: “a cute little eyelet you could use to string it around your neck”, as well.

One of Gizmodo’s commenters recommends Victorinox’s ‘Swiss Army Secure Flight‘ for its “256 bit AES encryption, biometric (fingerprint) scanning for access and a bunch of other handy security features”. Note that the blade and USB flash drive are removable so that you won’t have any problems at airport check points. It’s a little pricey, though, coming in at around $100.

Check out the rest of Andrew’s article on Gizmodo.

Recommendations for other USB flash drives to consider taking on the road? Hit the discussion!

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About the Author ()

For nearly ten years now, Daniel of Two Go Round-The-World has explored how travel captures our imagination and engages our deepest emotions. One half of the duo that maintains the widely read Two Go Round-The-World blog, Daniel treats his subjects not only as works of art but also as symbols of the cultural and political forces that inspire them. His latest book, The Physics of Flocking, gathers his favourite writing featured over the past two years on Two Go Round-The-World in columns like 'Looking Back' and 'The Whole Picture'—along with new reflections.

Comments (4)

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  1. Brett Thompson says:

    I don’t know about you guys, but if I was helping someone in a medical emergency, seeing a flash drive and saying: quick! let’s get to the nearest computer! is not what I’d do…

    • Not first. But at some point the local authorities will try to identify you. If you lost your wallet, this is a useful thing to have.

      What if you’re in an ambulance or something. If you don’t have allergy information on a tag (like you probably should…), then I might get a pretty standard antibiotic, penicillen, which I’m allergic to.

      Should it be the only thing you carry around? No. But a lot more emergency information can be squeezed onto this than onto a metal tag. Eventually someone will take a look.

  2. Personally I would carry paper copies of important documents and a flash drive as a back up, nice post

  3. As someone who considers themselves tech savvy I’m ashamed to say I’d never really considered this is a precaution, I’ve always stuck with paper copies as suggested by Carla.

    However if never hurts to have a backup of your backups! :)

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