What to Do When Your Passport Gets Stolen – And Other Trying Travel Situations


From my travel experience thus far, I’ve learned that troublesome situations are bound to come up when you’re spending an extensive amount of time on the road. The high brought on by experiencing a cool place for the first time is suddenly cut short when you reach down and realize your wallet is snatched without a trace.

Letting your guard down gives scammers the opportune moment to take advantage of naivety. I don’t want to say that you should be scared of traveling, of course! The majority of people are friendly and just interested in helping you, but try to keep in mind some essential tips while traveling that I’ve learned along my way. When you travel with more expensive items, like I do, keep your guard up and your eyes alert.

When a bad situation happens, I can’t stress enough the importance of being prepared and knowing the necessary steps. This will help reduce the panic that could set in when you realize your passport has been stolen, but it will also make the process as quick and painless as possible.


Stolen Passport:

 Before you travel, look up the necessary steps to take when your passport is stolen according to your home country. Many times, the first step is to alert the local authorities. For some home countries, you will need a crime report to be issued a new passport. (Be sure to check this out beforehand, though, as it may not be required and therefore would be a waste of time).

The next step should be to contact the nearest embassy or consulate of your home country. For U.S. citizens, you will need a new passport to re-enter the United States. Furthermore, many consulates also require a picture to issue the new passport, so keep extra passport photos with you. From there, the consulate will be able to provide you with all the necessary information regarding obtaining a new passport as quickly as possible.

• Injured Abroad:

 Certain situations will require medical attention right away. The Center for Disease Control offers some necessary steps on what to do if you become sick or injured abroad.

Some countries may not ask you for any insurance information, but travel insurance is a good thing to have while traveling as a precaution. Look for the warning signs of certain diseases local to the area you are traveling in that you may not have been exposed to previously, such as malaria.

• Money/Valuables Stolen:

 Apart from contacting the local authorities, there is not much that can be done to retrieve your stolen items. The best thing is to be cautious. I always keep my valuables on me, and when staying at a hotel or hostel, I book one with a useful review that offers a safe or lockers to store my items securely. Don’t trust others with your things!

• Flight Cancellations/Delays: 

Flight cancellations or delays can vary on the scale of slightly annoying to completely catastrophic. If the flight is just one leg, then a delay may cause me to be a little late to my destination. But other times, there are transfers involved, or people waiting at the other end that I am unable to get in touch with.

If you find out that your flight has an issue, contact the airline by telephone right away. Don’t wait in line at the customer service counter. The phone representatives have access to the same information and will maybe book you on the next flight. If you have a connection, try to figure out what the next move will be once you land.

When does the next train leave to your intended destination? Will you have to book a hotel for the night? These are best done ahead of time and help ease the stress that comes with these delays or cancellations. If my flight has an issue, I want to know if I am due any compensation for this situation. 

• Getting Lost: 

Exploring a new place is one of my favorite things to do. Sometimes you can get so caught up in all the interesting new things that you forget which direction you came from and how to get home. Don’t panic. Usually, you will be just a few minutes off the beaten path. Before you leave the hotel or hostel, take a photo of the address and the name, so that you can call a cab to take you back in a worst-case scenario. Be aware that it isn’t safe in all countries to hail a cab from the street; instead, find out a safe cab number if you need to call for pickup.

These are just some tips that are good to keep in mind when troublesome travel situations arise. What other things to do you think are good to keep in mind?

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