If you plan to take any of your valuables with you on a trip, it might be a good idea to create a file with of all the serial numbers, dates of purchase and prices of the items you are carrying.
Once you finish packing, it’s not unlikely that you are carrying over $2000 worth of equipment. Even the lowest tech traveler can easily reach $1000 with just a mobile phone, digital camera and iPod.
In my case, I simply made an Excel sheet and documented the item name, place of purchase, date of purchase, method of payment and the purchase price. I then add a photo of the item including a photo of the receipt and serial number.
When you are entering your belongings into the file, don’t forget to include anything else of value, including your luggage, any expensive toiletries, jewelry and even clothes.
Once you are done creating the list, print it out and save it in a safe place. When I travel, I carry the file on a small USB memory key, as well as a printed version in my carry-on. If all else fails, I even have a version stored online.
If disaster strikes, and you need to make a claim for lost items, you’ll be able to access your nifty spreadsheet and won’t have to worry about forgetting anything. Keeping track of your payment method could also help file a claim if you made the purchase using a credit card with damage/loss protection (like some American Express cards).
Another, often overlooked advantage is that you’ll be able to provide evidence if you get stopped at the customs line when you arrive back home. Customs officials are often on the lookout for people bringing high priced items back into the country. Of course, with the current US exchange rate, buying expensive electronics overseas is no longer very appealing.