Secure my documents abroad.
December 10, 2006 5:06 PM   Subscribe

I am taking a surf trip to costa rica. Because of the nature of the trip, I will not be able to keep important documents on my person for large chunks of time. Where can I put them so that they are secure?

Not in the rental car - I've heard of professional robberies happening too often. Not in my unsecure hotel room? What other options do I have? I've thought of scanning them in as images and keeping a copy in my gmail. But what can I do with cash and vauables (ie, camera)?
posted by |n$eCur3 to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
I have scanned copies of all my documents - and the documents I'd need to replace them - with family back home, on a USB keychain drive, and stored on e-mail.

Hotel front desks will almost always have somewhere to store important documents and valuables. If you wanted to avoid attracting attention to your credit cards and stuff, perhaps put them in a small manila envelope with your name and room number on them, and seal it before you hand it over - when you retrieve it, you can see if it's been tampered with.
posted by mdonley at 5:12 PM on December 10, 2006

Where are you planning on going in Costa Rica? I've never had any problems except for in certain parts of San Jose or on the Carribean coast.

I've also "heard" that the US is a violent death trap and that gangs roam the streets killing indescrimiately, though I've yet to see any evidence of this.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:20 PM on December 10, 2006

Yes. Leave your valuables with the hotel desk.
posted by trip and a half at 5:21 PM on December 10, 2006

Yup, hotel (or hostel, if that's your style) desk. They'll probably have a safe of sorts somewhere.
posted by craven_morhead at 5:36 PM on December 10, 2006

If you are going to Malpais on the Nicoya Peninsula, be forewarned that I stayed at a place called Frank's there, which is a popular spot right near the main strip of town, and that when I was there my very locked room was broken into. My across the hall neighbor confirmed that someone with a key had tried to enter his room as well when he was in there and ran off startled. this was four years ago, but be careful, make photocopies/scans of everything, and leave stuff at the front desk. and if you are flying grupo taca and your tickets are robbed, prepare to be frustrated to the point of tears trying to deal with them.
posted by andifsohow at 5:59 PM on December 10, 2006

All of the hotels I've been to in the carribean offered not only a safe at the front desk, but an additional one in the room where you get to set your own number combination at the beginning of your stay.
posted by furtive at 7:02 PM on December 10, 2006

I've used this a number of times while abroad in places without safes. If you're staying in a cheap beachfront type place, you may find it useful.
posted by aramaic at 7:19 PM on December 10, 2006

Stay in a hotel with a safe.

For the uber-paranoid, get one of those metal tubes for carrying matches while backpacking. Put all of your documents inside, then stow it inside you. This is more appropriate for backpacking the backwoods of Columbia, than the touristy beaches of Costa Rica, though. Jeez, you may as well be in Florida.
posted by caddis at 9:24 PM on December 10, 2006

or "Colombia", sorry
posted by caddis at 10:29 PM on December 10, 2006

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