What to Do If You Lose Important Travel Documents2 min read
You’re on a wonderful vacation in a foreign country and everything’s going great. No flight delays, no lost luggage. Even the people you meet seem to be unusually happy. Everything is perfect—until you realize you lost your passport. And the panic begins to settle in.
Losing important travel documents such as a passport, driver’s license, or airline ticket is an extremely common, yet terrifying experience. Since you need them to get on a flight or enter and depart most countries, losing them can mean facing serious issues when it’s time to go home (or even start your trip).
Fortunately, there are ways to get these documents replaced so you can continue on with your trip or safely make it back home.
Losing Your Airline Ticket
If you lose your airline ticket, you’re in luck— thanks to the digital age, you should still be able to access this through a smart phone, computer, or tablet device. Additionally, your information is probably already stored in the airport’s database, and all you will need is proper identification to confirm you are the person you claim to be.
Call your airline to be sure.
Losing Your Driver’s License
If you lose your driver’s license, you should be a little more concerned. A government-issued ID with a photo is required to get through airport security screenings, so it’ll be necessary for getting on your flight (especially when dealing with the TSA).
As a result, it’s always a good idea to travel with additional forms of identification (e.g. passport, school ID card). If you don’t have a driver’s license to show, other forms of ID should get you on the plane. If you don’t have any form of photo identification, TSA officials might attempt to verify your identity by other means, such as public databases.
If your license was stolen, you may need to file a police report before you head to the airport. The TSA may ask for this if you don’t have proper forms of identification.
Losing Your Passport
If you lose your passport when traveling internationally, you’ll need to replace it before attempting to return home. Before departing, contact the United States embassy or consulate for assistance and speak with the Consular Section to report your passport as lost or stolen. The consular staff will work with you to provide you with a replacement passport. Do note that you will probably need to get a passport photo before going to the embassy.
Prepare in Advance
Before leaving for a trip, however, consider bringing backup forms of identification, such as a state-issued ID. Additionally, you may even want to bring your passport during domestic trips, as you never know when you might need a second ID.
Also, consider leaving copies of important documents, such as your passport, with close friends or family members who will not be joining you during your trip. They may need to fax information over to you in case of an emergency. And finally, leave important travel documents (passport, secondary IDs) in a locked safe in your hotel room to lower your chances of it getting lost or stolen.
Photo from the PacSafe Blog.