Losing Your Passport

by Female Abroad

When it comes to travelling, there is no document more important or valuable than your passport. It is mind boggling how many people don’t realize this until they lose it. Many people are guilty of leaving it:

  1. in their checked baggage
  2. the seat pocket in front of them
  3. in their jean pocket
  4. in the room safe

While you might think that these are great places to keep them and you might not be wrong but split second decisions can cause them to be left behind.

That carryon bag you just checked? Did you take your passport out of it; cause you are going to need it to go through customs when you land and your bag might not meet you until afterwards.

Late connection? Well once you grab everything from around you, did you take your passport out of the seat pocket where you had placed it when you got on?

Using your passport as ID? The number one place that people lose their passport is at the bar where they live (in the UK) as it falls out of their pocket or they take it out of their pocket to make it easier to sit and leave it on the table. Is it in your purse? Did you get black out drunk and forget you even had a purse?

Now you might be thinking “I’m supposed to leave my passport in the safe”. The problem with this is that when we are at home, we usually don’t use a safe so it’s not a learned response to check the safe before we leave. Besides double checking the hotel before you leave (which you should do) another way to guarantee you don't forget your passport is to put something that you have to have to be able to leave into the safe with it. Normally one of you shoes works well as no one is going to leave a room with only one shoe.

Even if you take your precautions then there is still the chance that you might lose it or it could be stolen so in that situation what should you do? If it has been stolen, there is not much that you can do. If you may have misplaced it then take a few deep breaths, calm yourself, and then rip everything apart (even places you don't think it could be) to make sure that there is no way that you have misplaced it.

If you've just gotten off the plane or if you are still in customs then you might have a chance to run back to the plane and check. If you cannot then call the airport's lost & found / guest service number as they may have it or they can check with the gate attendants to see if they have it. Usually if you leave it on the plane it will either be picked up by another passenger or will be left in the seat pocket until the next passenger finds it so you might not get an answer right away. Keep calling back until they can give you a definitive yes or no. If you don't have time to wait for them to respond then move onto the next paragraph.

After your search (or mugging), you've confirmed your passport is gone then contact the closest embassy and / or consulate for your home country. They will help guide you through the process of getting a rushed replacement one. Side note: The first thing I do every time I travel is bring a photocopy of my passport just incase something happens as this speeds up the replacement process. This can be pricy and they are only valid for 6months to 1 year (enough time to get your home) so you will have to pay to get a proper passport once you get home.

The consulate or embassy may ask you to contact the police to file a report in case your passport turns up somewhere but if you have been a victim of a crime then you must file a report. If you need assistance in the local language ask the front desk or concierge if they can assist in translating.