The last thing you want is to have a non-refundable plane ticket and hotel reservations only to find yourself stuck at the border, unable to cross into the country you've been oh so wanderlustin' to visit.
If a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or other catastrophic event occurs in the country you're visiting, you definitely want your country's state department and the local embassy to know you're there.
The last thing you want is to find yourself overseas, unable to get cash or pay for anything because all of your cards have been frozen.
We live in a digital age which has, in many ways, made the world smaller and more navigable, especially via a mobile device.
Credit cards can get lost, passports stolen. Worse yet, during a catastrophic event, all or most of your important travel documents, money cards and insurance cards can go M-I-A.