Losing your passport is a traumatic experience. It can turn your holiday into a nightmare even before it’s begun. Do you have any idea what to do if you get mugged while abroad? What happens if you lose your passport before your flight? Don’t panic! Follow our list, and the whole process will be less scary and overwhelming.
Although it may have never happened to you, you never know what is going to happen on your next trip. It’s better to assume and be prepared for the worst than be sorry later. The panic when you reach for your passport and it’s not there can’t be compared to anything else, especially when you travel abroad, as your passport is the most important thing you carry on you. Money, boarding passes, or even a phone can be replaced. With a passport, that’s not so easy.
Firstly, there some things you can do before the trip while you’re still at home. Without your passport, you won’t be able to go back home (literally), so take some time to prepare.
Copy your passport and visas (if required to your travel destination) and put them in different places within your luggage. Also, send them to your email address just in case all your copies get lost.
To obtain a new document you’ll have to prove your identity. So, if your country doesn’t issue another form of ID, no matter how ridiculous it sounds, copy your birth certificate, send an online version on your email, and ask your family to keep one copy close at home in case they have to prove that you are you.
Get Smart Wallet
To minimize the risk, protect your passport with a smart wallet. Woolet Travel is suitable for carrying passports, boarding passes and other travel documents. If your wallet is out of reach, you will get a notification on your phone with the last-seen location on a map. You will be able to locate it when it goes missing. Moreover, you can “call” Woolet to check where it is at any time.
Keep the number of your embassy
Write down the telephone number of your embassy at home and the nearest consulate in the country you are going to be in. The embassy will be your safe heaven, so make sure you know how to reach them. If you’re a citizen of the European Union and you can’t reach your country consulate, try to get help in the consulate of the other member country.
Keep emergency funds
Obtaining a replacement passport is going to cost you a pretty penny, so make sure you have some spare money just for this purpose. You don’t want to find yourself without both your passport and money.
Carry an extra passport photo with you
You will need a new photograph for your passport replacement in the format specified by your country. It’s better to bring one or two with you than look for a photo booth or photographer that will be able to take the required picture. Don’t waste time and money; we’re sure you have some copies lying around at home.
Get travel insurance that will cover passport replacement
You’re probably getting travel insurance anyway (and if not, you really should). Ask about a passport-replacement option. In short: in case of emergency, your insurer will cover all the necessary fees, and you won’t have to worry about a thing.
Use your hotel safe
Unless you’re in a country that demands that tourists carry passports at all times, use the safe in the hotel. The hotel is obligated to keep it safe, whereas anything can happen during sightseeing.
What to do when your passport is gone?
First, Make Sure that It Really Is Gone
Once you report your passport as lost, there’s no way back. Anyone who uses it, including you, will be automatically charged and face a court appearance. Retrace your steps, call all the places you’ve been to from the moment since you last saw your passport. Check your luggage and pockets. Ask another person to look for it in your stuff. “Fresh” eyes can help, and while you’re stressed out, you can easily omit something.
File a Police Report
When you’re finally sure that your passport is missing, go straight to the nearest police station to report it missing. Don’t lie to the police, and describe exactly what happened. If you’re not sure if you lost it or if it was stolen, don’t finger-point.
The police are obliged to give you a copy of your statement. Make sure it’s signed and includes a stamp. Some embassies require the police file to start the case, so it’s better to go to the police first. You’ll have to do it eventually anyway.
Be careful, and don’t lose this document. For the time being it’s your guarantee of remaining in the country. You can extend your stay in hotels and move around based on it, so guard it with your life. Now, let’s get that note with the embassy number.
Contact the Embassy or Consulate
At this point you need to pay attention what the embassy employees say. They want to help you, but they will need a few things from you: filling in forms, the police report, your ID or birth certificate, proof of your upcoming travel plans, boarding passes and other booked tickets, passport-sized photo, and the passport fee. Your temporary passport won’t be issued right away. It takes from a few hours up to a day. Most embassies don’t work on Sundays and holidays, so check the opening hours first.
Rebook Your Flight
Unfortunately, sometimes your wallet gets lost right before your flight. There’s no way you can board your plane without a passport. After visiting the embassy, call your flight operator and tell them about your situation. In cases like this, you might be able to get your ticket rebooked cheaper than getting a brand new boarding pass. When you get a temporary passport from the embassy, you will be able to board freely.
Keep Your New Temporary Passport Close
This is really important: you can get only one temporary passport, so don’t lose it, otherwise you won’t be able to go back home (or anywhere else, for that matter).
What are your tips for keeping your passport safe during a holiday?