SOS: How Online Document Storage Could Save Your Ship

Like lots of folks, I spent a lot of time this week thinking about the vacationers stranded in the middle of the ocean aboard the Carnival Triumph. I fretfully imagined what it would be like to be on that ship, and how I would react in that situation. After all, as Houstonians, my husband and I are frequent Carnival cruisers via Galveston, so it easily could have been us out there.

I’m the first to admit that even though I like to think I’m a pretty tough gal in some ways, I have a weak stomach, a touch of ochlophobia (large groups of people really freak me out), and I’m very particular about my creature comforts. So based on some of the horror stories already coming out of Mobile, I’m pretty sure I would have been among the first people to snap. (My husband agrees.)

But when early reports suggested that the ship was being towed into the Yucatan, I did get to brag to my husband that in at least one way I may have struggled less than about 900 of the passengers aboard the Triumph. That’s because my whole life – scanned copies of my passport, medical records, insurance information, birth certificate, social security card, everything – is in the cloud, via SmartVault’s online document storage.

Reports suggest that one reason that Carnival execs decided not to continue towing into the Yucatan, is because approximately 900 guests were traveling without passports (apparently you don’t need one to sail internationally). I can’t imagine debarking the cruise from hell, only to find yourself stranded in a foreign country without a passport. I don’t know what kind of misery you’d have to go through to get security clearance to fly back to the U.S. without documentation, but I imagine it’d be whole lot easier if you could produce copies of all your documents, in an instant, from your smartphone or any computer.

The point is, while most people think of SmartVault as an online document storage solution for your business, the reality is that the same benefits apply to your personal stuff, too. A couple years ago, I spent a rainy Saturday afternoon in front of the television, parked on the floor with my ScanSnap, my laptop, and a pile of all my household documents, scanning my whole life up to SmartVault. All the little pieces of paper that make me who I am in the eyes of the law are now safely backed up and always available via a mobile device or web browser, thanks to SmartVault’s secure online document storage features.

Resting Easy with Online Document Storage

The husband and me (totally NOT worrying about our documents) at the Louvre in Paris last month

Fortunately, I haven’t been faced with anything as dire as being stuck in Progreso without a passport, but there have been plenty of times when storing my documents in the cloud has come in handy. Sometimes it’s as simple as needing to fill out some paperwork that requires my husband’s social security number – I don’t know it by heart, but I can use my SmartVault mobile app to find it, literally within seconds. Other times, it’s given me peace of mind, like when traveling through six different European countries over Christmas this year. I had everything I needed, and an easy way to upload and store photos from the trip.

According to travel guru Rick Steves, you should always travel with a Xerox copy of your passport, in case the real thing gets lost – but isn’t that just another thing to keep track of, another piece of paper that could get lost, destroyed, or stolen? With my docs and photos in the cloud, there’s nothing to worry about losing – wherever there’s access to the web, there’s always access to my files.

So I say to all our customers out there who use SmartVault for their businesses, don’t be afraid to adopt an online document storage solution for your personal life, too. I know a good percentage of our customers are already setting up personal vaults, at no additional cost. It’s free, it only takes a few minutes, and you never know when it might come in handy…

Got a story to share about SmartVault-ing your personal documents? Tell us about it! Comment below, email allie-at-smartvault.com or Tweet @SmartVault.