8+ Things You Should Photograph On Every Trip

29 December 2023
8+ Things You Should Photograph On Every Trip

We all document our trips with our phones and DSLRs, taking pictures of our travel partners, monuments, and all the delicious meals. If you’ve been getting my newsletter for a while, you know how important it is to take photos of your rental car – before and after renting – to prove you didn’t cause any damage.

You also know to have photographs of your travel documents, passports, credit cards, etc., and leave a backup of your itinerary with a trusted person back home.

But what else should you be taking pictures of when you’re traveling? I did some research, and you may be surprised at what we found out.

1. Take a picture of your luggage

Do this at home before you leave, and I recommend putting all the luggage (even your carry-ons) into the mix. Line up the bags and leave a little space between each. Take a picture of the front and tops of your bags.

Why? Especially if you travel with carry-ons only.

If the overhead bins fill up and you have to surrender your suitcase to go in the cargo hold, what if it doesn’t make it? Those last moments before a plane (or train, for that matter), are hectic inside and on the ground. If your bag gets left behind, you’ll have a photo to show the airline when you arrive so they can match it up with you.

Pro tip: Put all the carry-ons into a pile and take a picture of them too. If one goes missing on the journey, you can make a more complete police report.

2. Parking spots

When you have a lot going on, it’s super easy to forget where you parked. If it’s a rental car, you may not even remember what it looks like. 

Funny story, one of my close friends met her husband that way. He was looking for his rental in a Vegas parking lot, and it was the same model as her own!

When you park the car, take a picture of the parking spot with the car in it. That last part is important because your rental car is not as familiar as your own. I always take a picture of the license plate so I can be sure I’ve got the right rental car in a sea of cars.

3. Snap hotel room numbers

One hotel hallway looks pretty much like another – a long line of doors, often ending with a window and punctuated by green Exit signs. When you’re tired or had a few drinks or left the key card in your partner’s coat, you may not remember the floor or room number.

There are two reasons to take a picture of your hotel room number scribbled on the key packet before leaving the front desk:

  1. Memory – flight numbers, room numbers, call numbers, it all jumbles together as a big pile of numbers when you travel. If you’re juggling a lot of numbers, it’s easy to confuse 1238 with 1328.
  2. Security – carrying the keycard jacket is an invitation for trouble, especially if it falls out of your pocket when you reach for your phone. Just the envelope can be used to talk a busy hotel desk clerk into printing a new keycard, which someone can use to enter your room.

Pro tip: Make sure your partner takes a picture too, in case one of you goes to bed early.

4. Coat check stubs

Those tiny coat check stubs have very little info on them, but they’re easy to lose, especially now that you handed over your coat and you have fewer pockets! 

Better yet, snap a photo of the stub with your coat and make it easier to locate in the rack.

5. Valet tickets

When you pull into a valet stand and hand over the keys, take a picture of the stub the attendant hands you. Busy valet lots can have a lot of cars moving from space to space, and if you lose your paper tag, you’ll have a photo to show them instead.

I like to act like a goofy tourist and snap a photo of the stub with the attendant and the car in the background. That’s one vehicle that’s not likely to go missing.

6. Bag claim checks

On the last day of a conference, I typically leave my bags with the hotel bellman to attend the last sessions after check-out. When I do, I snap a picture of the claim check. They always seem to be these tiny pink pieces of thin cardboard with a number and some basic disclaimer info, right?

Either way, if I lose the tiny piece of cardboard, I have a photo of my bag and the claim check. Much easier for the staff to locate and I’m on my way to the airport!

7. Your family each morning

If someone goes missing or a terrorist incident happens and you are separated, you can describe what every person was wearing that day. This can help with locating and identifying missing people.

8. Rooms you leave

This could sound like overkill, but hear me out. 

When I rent a house or hotel, I always tidy up, piling all the used towels in the bathroom. I also shake out the sheets and lightly make the bed. I do this to help the staff but primarily to find all the toys, cards, and clothing that get stuck and could be left behind.

Then, I take a picture of each room. We stayed in an apartment abroad once, and I was contacted by the property owner about some damage after we left. They wanted to charge me quite a lot of money until I shared the pictures, and they reversed their claim. I learned my lesson on that one.

Damian Tysdal

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and is a licensed agent for travel insurance (MA 1883287). He believes travel insurance should be easier to understand, and started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and is a licensed agent for travel insurance (MA 1883287). He believes travel insurance should be easier to understand, and started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.