Which cards should I ACTUALLY carry?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by Mike Reed, Sep 9, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Like many travelers, I carry a travel wallet and have a plethora of cards, etc. to carry. I'm trying to cut that down and figure out which cards it's actually important to have in my possession. I'll list what I've got, but feel free to add things I don't have or have missed in the comments - I may have them some day, or someone else has them now, so it's valuable information. [Edit: I've simplified my list. Instead of listing EACH card, I've grouped them by TYPE. If there are exceptions, please let me know.]

    Things I know I should carry:
    • Passport (US)
    • Passport Card (US)
    • Global Entry/SENTRI Card (US)
    • Driver license (thanks lili!)
    • Airline cards (airline status, alliance status, etc.)
    • Priority Pass Card
    • Airport FastPark Card (used for my local airport parking, but leave in car per Restless)
    • Starbucks Gold card (used to pay for SBux)
    • Travel credit card (I use a separate card for travel for expense purposes)
    • Various "thank you" and "Applause" certs to reward good performance
    • Admiral's Club Wifi Passes (two)
    Things I don't think I need to carry:
    • Car rental program cards
    • Hotel program cards
    Other thoughts? I should mention I've specifically not listed local cash, as that's in my "wallet wallet" not my travel pouch. What have I missed, or what am I carrying that I don't really need to? I carry the airline cards for lounge access, though my international travel has been infrequent I expect to see that pick up very, very soon (about to start working for a company that has an office in the Netherlands).
     
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  2. lili
    Original Member

    lili Gold Member

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    Costco card - there's one in every port.
    Driver's License
    Credit Cards (2+)
    Debit Cards
    AAA
    Medical Insurance

    and when you get old, Medicare and AARP, both good for discounts

    You only need to carry one of the first three, just be sure it"s the right one. .
    Your airline status cards include the alliance logo, so you can leave the alliance card at home.

    ETA just noticed you also carry a wallet wallet. I don't ,so have a different take on things.
     
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  3. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Hrmm, I'm not a Costco member, but I can see the importance. Same for AAA (do they require you have the card?). I hadn't thought about medical insurance since in the US they typically just ask for carrier and social security number, but that could be important out of country. Easy enough to get a second insurance card for the travel wallet.

    Good input, thanks (and I've edited my original post to include DL with a nod to you!).
     
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  4. Jett Rink
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    Jett Rink Silver Member

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    I DO carry hotel program cards. The FD clerk needs to know who I am. ;)
     
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  5. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    So I should leave my number out of my reservation so I get the opportunity to KWIA the FD clerk? Wow, I'm still a rookie... :)

    You've seen this video, right?
     
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  6. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    Leave your local airport parking card in your car. It's one less thing to carry and you pretty much only use it with your car anyway. I agree with the above on the medical insurance and AAA cards ICSH.
     
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  7. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    That's a really good point.
     
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  8. lili
    Original Member

    lili Gold Member

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    AAA card has phone number for tow truck! Very occasionally hotels want to see the AAA or AARP card. Case in point Alfonso XIII Hotel in Seville wanted someone at home to fax the AARP card or they were going to charge me so much more for my room that I would have been unable to stay. They seemed to think it was some very special privilege card. They finally let me have it for the very highly discounted rate another FTer had found for us. Hertz will not let you have your rental unless you can produce your driver's license. Fax copy won't work.

    I also carry a Safeway grocery card in Hawaii to get the get the marked up wine back to the regular price. (Got that card on a trip to Hilo for that very reason.)
     
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  9. rharrigill
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    rharrigill Silver Member

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    If you've got an iPhone (or Blackberry, and probably Android too), dump the Starbucks card and use the Starbucks app. Most Starbucks (maybe all Starbucks? I've never had a problem) can scan the barcode directly from the app.
     
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  10. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    In addition, if all you need are the membership numbers, an Android app I use (Keyring) allows me to enter all my membership numbers. Thus I don't carry any of the hotel or car rental cards (or many others) but I really do have them if I need them.

    This of course doesn't help with getting into the airport lounges which require you to show your alliance status but still helps to reduce the number of cards I carry.
     
  11. bk3day
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    bk3day Gold Member

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    Fwiw, hotel membership cards are often required when traveling outside of the US.

    For some reason the front desk needs to see that plastic & the number or even a status level printed on a copy of the confirmation won't cut it.

    Same for getting intl lounge access as a *Gold.
     
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  12. ande777emt
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    ande777emt Gold Member

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    I'd say medical insurance definitely as your group number and verification/coverage information is all contained on the card, and it will make the billing process significantly easier (if in US) or serve as proof of coverage (outside of US). Carrier and SSN are not enough to facilitate a claim. Overseas many providers demand payment or proof of payment/insurance before any service will be rendered.

    I always carry my medical/evacuation insurance card handy.

    I also agree with the hotel cards. Overseas some chains want to see the card.
     
  13. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    For your "Travel Wallet" you probably do not need to carry both the Passport and the Passport Card. The provide the same information and could be needless duplication. Although the Card can be useful at border crossings, it really does not have a purpose other than at land crossings. To be honest, I would probably transfer the Passport Card to your regular wallet or take a photo of it and email it to yourself. The Passport does everything the Card does and if you are used to traveling with a Passport, the card is just duplication.

    That is just my opinion. I do not travel much across the borders and when I do, I always have my passport with me.
     
  14. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    Instead of a travel wallet, i usually just use a pouch in my carry-on and just dump them all the non-essential ones there. Keeps my wallet light and i never need my airline/hotel/car rental card when i don't have my carry on. I would also through a backup credit card, backup debit card and a backup ID in your carry-on. I've stupidly forgotten my wallet at work and made it to the airport with dollar coins only to get stuck at security.
     
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  15. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I do not carry my cards and have never needed one. I do carrry the numbers. I have invariably had access to lounges without the cards (YMMV apparently because people keep having problmes, it seems) everywhere in the world. It works like magic every time I rattle off my number without having a card.

    i carry one credit card for Euro-zone, one for NA, one for the rest of the world and one debit card for ATM withdrawals (one for Euro, one US$, one R$ as required for each trip).

    I also must carry two passports if I am to be going to the US (Cannot enter US on a non-US passort if you are a US citizen too).

    Otherwise I count on my trusty iPad and ancient Palm T/X to carry all my pertinent numbers.
     
  16. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Several hotel apps have the "card on your phone" as a part of their functionality. SPG is notable.
     
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  17. Sean Colahan
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    Sean Colahan Gold Member

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    What travel wallet do you use to keep all your cards? I am looking for something on the smaller side in a low/profile design (aka won't take up a lot of space)
     
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  18. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Costco: the few times I wanted to access their stores while traveling I just went to the customer service counter and had them make me a new card.

    Safeway: at least in CA you can just give them your phone number (that is registered with your account) to get the discount. We always use my FiL's number (don't have our own as we rarely shop at Safeway) which also screws with their data mining (we buy very different things).

    Can the Global Entry card be used as an alternative to the drivers license for TSA purposes? It has a photo and is government issued, after all. Might be a good backup. Otherwise, I see little reason to carry it as it isn't needed for airport global entry kiosks.
     
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  19. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    Thanks for the lead on KeyRing. Just downloaded it and put in all my numbers.
     
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  20. fritzk12

    fritzk12 Silver Member

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    Thanks for this tip. I was pleased to see that Windows Marketplace had this app for the windows phone. Downloading it right now.
     
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  21. fritzk12

    fritzk12 Silver Member

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    I second this question. I'm always in dress slacks when I travel and I hate bulky things in my pockets. Is there a good low profile wallet for the front pocket?
     
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  22. jwsky
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    jwsky Silver Member

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    Sometimes you will need the credit card used to buy your tickets, room, tour, ect. You may need it to make a change or get a refund. This happened to me once, but I can not remember the exact reason.
     
  23. Valentine

    Valentine Silver Member

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    Got refused boarding just last week at KUL for not being able to produce a credit card that was on my Royal Jordanian eticket. I have no idea where the extra credit card number came from (I suspect my most incompetent travel agent), but it did make me very cross.
     
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  24. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I've been experimenting with using my GE card as ID for TSA. Some know and like it, others admit that it's government issued photo ID but haven't seen it and aren't sure. YMMV.

    If you might be renting a car abroad, check whether an international driver's license is required. If so, get it from AAA for about $10 and some passport photos and carry it with you. For example, Hertz in France requires this and it simplifies driving in non-English speaking areas.
     
  25. aussieflyer
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    aussieflyer Silver Member

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    International drivers license is required in many countries, mostly those non english speaking.
    $15 from AAA. Photos are free if you are a member.
     

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