This post is in response to the several comments posted here about the drama I went through yesterday as I passed through security in the Seoul Incheon International Airport.


Yesterday’s experience was high drama .. one of the more intense dramas I have ever been through in my international travel.

Rhetorical Question : What is the most important thing not to lose : Your Passport or your money.

In terms of International travel, there can be no question that not losing one’s passport is at / or near the very top of the ‘list of important items’ totem pole.

BUT you can (and I certainly do) carry xerox copies of your passport so you will be able to at least show authorities that (should you lose it) you did have one.

Of course yesterday my passport was not an issue. The issue was the fact two of my wallets were suddenly missing after I passed through security and was at our boarding gate.

If you have money, you can ‘buy’ time to sort out a lost passport because you have the money to pay to stay in a hotel or elsewhere and you have money to return home when your lost / missing passport issue is sorted out.


I shudder to think of being outside of the U.S. with no money.

IF you lose access to money while traveling abroad you are in serious trouble. In my opinion, having money is alone at the top of the list of ‘most important items’.

Here is my solution to this issue of having no money.

I carry four (4 count them) wallets when I am out of the country. Each is a complete entity in and of itself. In theory all I need on any trip is one of them. Only in my living area or when I am physically traveling are the four of them ever together at the same time. Each have a copy of my passport. Each have other forms of identification (U.S. driver’s license, U.S. State I.D. Card, U.S. voter’s card, etc). Each have cash (local money and U.S. money). Each have proven credit cards that are accepted internationally. Each have an ATM cash withdrawal card that is proven to be acceptable.

The most upsetting thing was the concept that here I am out of the country and having no real way to deal with the possible theft of credit / ATM cards. Also to suddenly have lost 50% of my ability to get money (ATMs) and to purchase with credit cards literally everything that I need from flight / train / bus tickets to hotel rooms to restaurant meals and groceries to _______________ you name it.

Do I really think my wheel chair attendant was part of the mystery? No. It WAS odd that four of us did not find the two missing wallets in my small back pack and miraculously she walked up and voila! “Are these them?” she said having herself just reached into one of the compartments in my backpack.

Voila! She saved our day!!

Did I learn anything here? It’s hard to say. This has never happened to me before in my international travels dating back to the mid-1970’s when I lived in Europe for four years. What would / will I do differently in the future? Try not to wait until I am at my boarding gate to discover that something is missing?

Still mulling over this.



  1. Gullible

    Just a suggestion: keep the wallets on your person. You have to remove your jacket to go through security, so put all four in a zipped pocket when you go thru Xray. Then check immediately when your jacket comes thru the carry on belt. Then you can split them up into various places.

    Another suggestion: rather than leave all four in your back pack, out all four in a brightly colored nylon bag, which you then put in the security trays. That way, you can keep an eye on it as it goes thru the security belt. Open it when you get it and make sure all four are still there, then split them up.

    Either of these methods should prevent thefts.

    However, I still find it strange that one out of our of five people looked in the pocket where they were.

    1. Cap Chastain Post author

      First, as usual, as always, in all ways, THANK YOU so very much for your comments and suggestions. Coming from one (you) who has so much actual experience in doing what I do, going through this immigration / security process. Second, THANK YOU for caring enough to read these posts and to care enough to offer your most valuable advice.

      Let’s begin with the REAL PROBLEM HERE : At age 82-years-and-counting, we now have the REAL PROBLEM. There is no way that I am as sharp and alert as I once was. Add to this aging issue, and I would hope you will agree, is the additional issue of the stress of the entire process. It IS extremely stressful. Have I ever mentioned that recently, on this October 16, 2018, trip, I once got to the boarding gate without my entire backpack? So you have a semi-dim-witted elder under enormous stress here.

      NO!!! I didn’t forget anything. Well except MY ONE principle carry-on item, my backpack!!!

      As you know, I DO keep all four wallets ON my person. Most often (this was an exception in this case) I NEVER take two of the four off my person because security doesn’t find them because of where I carry them. I decided here on this journey through security / immigration, to fully remove everything from my person.

      YES a great suggestion to put them into a brightly colored nylon bag. Get with me now. IF I can leave an entire backpack in security, I can leave even a brightly colored nylon bag and a jacket with things in a zipped pocket there as well. I’ve taken off my belt / belt buckle in security and forgotten to put it back on until my trousers came down. Luckily I was wearing my Adidas running trousers on under my dress trousers.

      REPEAT : The REAL PROBLEM HERE IS : You have a semi-dim-witted elder to deal with.

      LASTLY (for now) THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for thinking it odd that my wheel chair assistant went (she did not stop at GO either) straight for where the ‘missing wallets’ were when four of us totally missed them / or / they were not there when we four looked there. Some of you / one of you may be thinking : “How could you even think that a lovely and innocent looking wheel chair attendant could do anything like steal your wallets?”

      Look at what the honorable and clean cut and yes beloved KTLA Angeles news anchor since 2011 did! Whodda Thunk that he, of all people, was up to what he was up to!!!

      For now, over and out, Cap

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