Hopefully, this is something that you will never have to experience in your lifetime, but if you are one of the unlucky few, then not to worry - there is an easy solution!
Far short of second guessing your footsteps and raising suspicion with people you have met, there is a simple solution to the problem, as well as several measures you can take before and during your travels.
What happens if you lose your passport?
Firstly, don’t panic. It’s easy enough to say but getting yourself stressed about a situation that’s already happened isn’t going to help matters. Your main focus now is finding a solution, not getting frustrated over the problem. If it’s not you but a member of your group who has lost their passport, then try to keep them calm and reassure them that the issue can be resolved.
Getting emergency travel documents
A lost passport on holiday can be a traveller’s worst nightmare. If your passport is lost or stolen, then you will have to go to your nearest embassy and apply for emergency travel documents. Ask the hotel receptionist or host where your nearest embassy is. Emergency travel documents act in lieu of a passport and mean that you can get home safely and hassle-free.
If you have a lost or stolen passport, then it’s important to make sure that you get a police report. You will need to head down to the nearest police station and report the missing or stolen passport. Without this, any insurance you have may be invalid as a lost passport claim would require you to input a police crime reference number. In addition, when you are applying for emergency travel documents, then you will need to include the crime reference number in your application.
After you have obtained this information, you will need to go to your nearest embassy and fill out an LSO1 form. This is just a form that you need to complete to officially report your lost or stolen passport if you’re outside the UK. Once filled out, the embassy can notify the relevant bodies.
After all of this has been completed, you can finally relax. Emergency travel documents usually take less than a day to come through, but if you are travelling home soon after, you may have to rearrange your flights. In some cases, travel documents can take up to a week to arrive, however, this is very rare.
It’s important to note that travel documents only work as a temporary replacement for a passport, so when you’re back at home, you will have to make sure that you go to the passport office and get a replacement as a matter of urgency. When filling out the form for a new passport, you’ll need to state that your old one was lost or stolen, there will be a section on the form for this.
Getting that all important police report
Getting a police report in a foreign country can be a little bit of a daunting task, but it’s imperative that you get the police report in order to get your crime number. This is both for insurance purposes and so that you can get your temporary travel documents.
As soon as you discover that your passport is stolen, you must take yourself to the nearest police station, as obtaining this reference can take quite a while (especially if you don’t speak the local language). It helps if you have someone who can translate with you, but if not then you can use your smartphone.
Taking preventative action
If you have had your passport stolen or have lost it whilst abroad once, the chances are that this will never happen to you again, mostly because you will take extra precautions throughout the trip.
In future, it’s important to make sure that you take two forms of identification. For many people this is something as simple as a driver’s license, as this can make the process of retrieving information from the embassy system much easier if you’ve experienced a lost passport on holiday.
Whenever you travel you should take out insurance that will cover all eventualities. Whether this be any health problems you could encounter abroad, or a lost or stolen passport. There are many reputable insurance providers to choose from, with different tiers depending on your needs. That way you can cover any hospital costs, receive flight delay compensation, and get protection over your passport before you set foot abroad. Be sure to double check the dates for your travel insurance, in many cases it’s always worth extending it by a day or two after you’re due to fly back as a precaution.
Scan your passport
Additionally, it’s important to make sure that you scan your passport and all of your important documents, as this will ensure that you always have suitable proof of identification. You can keep these in a safe bag along with your other travel documents.