So you’re traveling abroad and your passport has gone missing? Lost? Stolen? Left in the seat back pocket on the plane and as you’re walking out the gate you realise but the staff won’t let you go back and won’t go back themselves despite knowing its exact location on the plane??? Been there!
5. Once you have informed the local authorities, re-trace your steps if you have lost your passport. A kind passerby may have handed it in to a local shop near where you left it so scope out the areas where you were before you noticed it was missing. If you know it was stolen – it might be a bit of a waste of your time to search your surroundings but if you’re unsure, it pays to look.
6. Contact your nearest consulate (Embassy if you are in the countries capital). Be aware there may not be one in your city. This is an important step because they will need to issue your emergency travel documents if you do not recover your passport. Check they are operational and know your situation in advance. Be aware, some consulates close over holiday periods. As ridiculous as that sounds, our NZ consulate in LA was not able to issue documents between the 23rd December – 4th January. Don’t even get me started on how useless that is – when the most people are trying to travel for the holidays they shut down and become completely useless to their people for two whole weeks!
7. Go to the airport to re-book your flight if you need to, rather than doing so over the phone. We went to the airport to see if we could get onto our original flight (3rd January) because our home consulate in Wellington NZ had advised us that it would be at the airlines discretion to let us on the flight – needless to say – they did not. When we walked up to the ticket booth to re-book a new flight for three days later we got lucky with a very kind man who re-booked the same flight plan for our new travel date free of charge and with an upgrade to premium economy on our second leg! So those silver linings do come – it probably didn’t hurt that I was standing there crying and he felt sorry for me.
8. Make sure you have funds/accommodation to stay in your current city/country while you sort things out. We were lucky enough to have my boyfriend’s cousin’s friends living in the city we were stuck in (San Francisco) willing to have us sleep on their couches for three nights while we dealt with the consulate, saving us another three nights in a hotel.
9. When you know what you need to get, move quickly! Our consulate required new photos, hard copies of forms, and money orders which had to be obtained from a post shop via cash. These all had to be couriered out of town the moment their office opened so we were running around San Francisco trying to get everything sorted. The process will cost you big time! Emergency travel documents cost $340USD per person. But it does get you a new 10 year passport when you’re back home.
Now you're all set and prepared to explore our big wide world, why not sort out everything else out all in one go? If necessary for your travel plans make sure you have brought proper travel insurance, protected your privacy by getting a secure VPN, compared all the top hotel booking sites to find just what you're after, reserved an unbeatable rental car price and - of course - booked the best flight deals!
Many budget travelers (including me) indulge in worldwide airport lounge access, so we can experience luxury while still slumming it in economy. Naturally, we would never leave home without a more general travel guide since we couldn’t possibly cover everything here!
Just add an adventurous attitude and plenty of smiles - they go a long way - and that about covers it all! Now go out, find your own path and don't forget to share your best inspiration stories with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram...I'd love to hear from you!