It’s a scenario that would make even the calmest traveller break out in a cold sweat: you’re packing your bag to return from a holiday and your passport is nowhere to be found. Whether it was swiped by a thief without you noticing or just fell out of your pocket after a few too many Cosmopolitans, you are going to have trouble getting home without that little maroon document.
The UK government had to issue almost 40,000 emergency documents to British tourists last year. Visitors to Spain were by far the most likely to report a lost or stolen passport. The official documents can be used for identify theft and financial fraud, so losing one is no laughing matter. Follow our top tips before you go – and while you’re away – to minimise the impact of a passport that’s gone walkabout…
Before you go…
1. Get a copy
Carry a photocopy of the passport with you and store an electronic copy securely, too. This will make it easier to get replacement documents. Take a spare passport photo with you too if you’re going somewhere remote so you don’t have to hunt for a photo booth in a strange town.
2. Keep it safe
Follow the usual precautions when travelling abroad: stay alert and keep your passport out of sight, either in a hidden money belt or hotel safe.
3. Emergency money
If your passport is lost or stolen, you will need to pay £95 in local currency for a replacement. You should keep this much aside as well as some extra in case your cash and payment cards go missing at the same time. You will need money to get to the embassy and back plus extra to cover food, drink and accommodation for the remainder of your stay.
If you lose your passport abroad, here are 5 things to do straight away…
1. Is it definitely missing?
If you can’t find your passport, stay calm. Check through your bags carefully and consider retracing your steps to see if it has been left in a shop, hotel or restaurant. If you’re sure it has been stolen or lost, it’s time to cancel the passport.
2. Cancel it immediately online
If you have internet access, you can cancel your passport on https://www.gov.uk/report-a-lost-or-stolen-passport to reduce the risk of identity theft.
3. Call the consulate
You should also call the UK consulate or embassy in the country you’re travelling in to begin the process of getting an emergency replacement.
4. Inform the police
If you believe the passport was stolen, you should make a report to the local police and keep a record of any information they give you relating to the crime.
5. Stay calm
You’re not the first person ever to lose their passport, so try to stay calm. You will get home eventually.
A missing passport is not only a major inconvenience and stress factor when travelling; it can also be expensive. Some travel insurance policies cover the costs incurred in replacing missing passports. Does yours?