I’ve traveled a lot! My family has traveled a lot!
Passports and other travel documents – Scan a colored copy of your passport and email it to yourself and a least 2 other people that you will always be able to reach. Do the same with your DL, Birth Certificate, SS card, Diving Certification, etc. Having access to copies of these documents can save you.
Know when your passport expires. Set a reminder and renew your passport. Most countries will not let you enter without six months left on your passport. With today’s technology there is no reason to get caught with a passport that has less than 6 months. That said, stuff happens. An unexpected trip comes up or you lose your passport. If you are lucky enough to live in a city with a US Passport Office, not the post office, you can most likely get a passport in a few hours if you have a flight leaving within 2 weeks. The US Passport Office only issues passports for those who have confirmed itineraries leaving within 2 weeks or if you need a visa for a trip leaving within 4 weeks. Having the previously mentioned copies makes it much easier.
True story. My son misplaced his passport hours before departing for an international flight. Fortunately he had a layover in New York City. He arrived at JFK at 5:30 am, took a cab to the passport office, and had a new passport issued and was back at JFK by noon. He had scanned copies of all his documents. And extra passport pictures. You don’t need an appointment and you do not need to pay a private service hundreds of dollars.