When preparing for a cross-country road trip, a laminator is a must-have piece of equipment that can make your life easier. Since you'll be living out of a car or camper for an extended period of time, it can be tough trying to protect important paperwork when you have such a limited amount of storage space. Before you hit the road, use these laminating suggestions to help you get prepared.
You may not realize this yet, but there are all sorts of lists that need to be made for the trip. Using letter-size pouches in your laminator works great because they're designed to fit a standard-size piece of printer paper. After printing out each list, just pop it in the laminator so it always stays dry and protected.
- Medication Lists: If any travelers take medications each day, you should have a laminated page stored in the same place as the prescription bottles that lists each traveler's name along with dosage information for each type of medication. In the case of an emergency, medical responders will know exactly what prescriptions you've taken.
- Emergency Contacts: You should always keep a list of emergency contacts with their addresses, emails and phone numbers listed, just in case something unexpected arises while you're out on the open road.
- Inventories and Checklists: Since you'll be setting up and breaking down your tent and camping gear over and over again, a checklist can help you streamline the process, making it faster and easier. It's also a good idea to keep an inventory of foods and other necessary supplies you always need to have on hand.
You should also keep laminated copies of reference information that can be found quickly, when needed.
- Insurance Cards: Preserve your auto and health insurance cards by laminating them.
- Maps: Although most people typically depend on a GPS much more than a paper map, it's a good idea to have a laminated road map as back-up. You never know when you'll enter a region that has a terrible satellite or cell phone signal.
- Instructions: It's good to keep a set of instructions that describes how to do important things like start the emergency generator or use the camper's battery hookups.
Emergency Cards: You should each have an emergency card that lists your blood type, medical information, physical description and identifying marks. The cards should be laminated with a photograph, too.
Things You Shouldn't Laminate
Before you go crazy laminating everything in sight, keep in mind there are certain kinds of documents you should never laminate.
- Social Security Card: The Social Security Administration doesn't want you to laminate your social security card because it may interfere with the card's security features.
- Birth Certificate: You shouldn't laminate your birth certificate because of the embossed seal.
- Notarized Documents: As a rule of thumb, avoid laminating any paper that has an embossed seal, like a notarized document.
- One-of-a-Kind Document: If you have a rare document or something of great importance to you, avoid laminating it because it may decrease the value.
Lamination is an excellent way to protect all of the important information that needs to be accessible during your road trip. Hopefully, an emergency situation won't arise, but if it does, any necessary documents you may need will be easy to reference.
Keep in mind, if you're laminating several small documents or letter size pouches at once, like your insurance cards, you can laminate them all in one pouch then cut them down to size. This will prevent you from wasting laminating pouches and save you money. You can also purchase laminating envelopes in different sizes to best suit your specific needs.