The US Department of State lists several things to consider when planning overseas travel. Here's the list:
Another suggestion in addition to what SteppingStones said is to scan your essential documents and create a computer file that you can a) access is you take your laptop with you or b) send to family and friends before you leave.
Definitively sign up with the State Department!
If you can put all your essential information on a small flash drive that might work as well and it eliminates the need to carry a computer in places where it can be tampered with or stolen. The smaller the drive the better--some are no bigger than a dime.
Here's one I have: