Losing Your Passport While Traveling

It is one of the worst feelings a traveler can have. You are halfway through your trip and prepping tickets, travel documents, and checking the best cruise packing list you made before you left, and your passport has disappeared. The immediate sinking feeling that hits you is incredible, and it is something that almost all travelers have experienced at some point.

Normally this is just a false alarm, and your passport is in another jacket, the pocket of your other trousers, under the hotel bed, or has slipped into the lining of your luggage. But losing your travel documents does happen, more often than you might think, and a lost passport can put a real dampener on a vacation.

US State Department statistics state that over 300,000 American tourists lose their passports every year, whether inadvertently or through crime. Losing your passport can have massive negative repercussions, and it is vital to report it lost or stolen wherever you are in the world. But although it might seem like a total disaster, there are a few things that you can (and should) do to mitigate the risk and help protect yourself, as well as to allow you to get home safely!

What to do if you are in the US

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After calming down from your panic attack and coaxing the rest of your family down as well, try and make an appointment with a passport agency. These often do take some time, so if you don’t have loads of wiggle room you might want to consider paying for expedited passport services. There are plenty of organizations who can process a new passport in under 48 hours (some even in under 24!), and while this isn’t always a cheap option it might be better than abandoning your trip entirely! Get all the documentation that you will require together, including copies of your birth certificate or an expired passport, relevant photos, and proof of travel, as well as filling out the relevant forms (DS-64 and DS-11). Don’t forget to make copies of everything!

What to do if you are abroad

Losing your passport abroad is a more serious matter, but there are still a few things you can do. First up, contact your nearest US embassy or consulate and report your passport missing. Round up all the necessary information and documentation, same as above, and bring it in. It is always wise to carry a copy of your passport, as this can speed up the process. You will have to pay for a new passport, at least $110 for a new adult passport. If you’ve been the victim of a serious crime or disaster you may get a limited validity emergency passport, but replacing it properly when back home will cost the same eventually.

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Author: Ben Burd

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