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Tips on things to do if you lose travel documents

May 25, 2011

Some of us have lost our essential travel document like passport or boarding pass, just after a cup of coffee at a cafe. If you have travel insurance then it may cover the loss of your personal belongings, but not the huge strain of losing the most important document.

Here are some tips on what you should or can do:

Passport

One of the first things you must do after you lose your passport is try and report to the local police station and get a report copy. Then contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of your country of citizenship and the country of residency and make sure to get all the details from them on the next steps on getting a new document which will allow you to travel and return home.

State-issued ID

For domestic air travel you may not need a passport, but any government issued ID such as drivers license or library card is required. Without such an ID, most airport authorities will not allow you to board the plane.

In case if you have lost the state-issued ID or forgot at the last cafe, then some airports allow you to travel with alternate IDs like store card with a picture of you on it, or maybe a credit card (with a picture). This is not always true and authorities may not allow you to board. Report to the nearest police station if your wallet or ID was stolen and get a copy of the report.

It’s wise to hand over a copy of your state-issued ID or passport to a family person or friend who lives in the same town; so that they may be able to come to the airport on time and hand over the ID or just fax it to you.

Another tip is to not keep all the IDs in one place, say your wallet or purse, and keep one in the carry-on bag as a backup in case your wallet or purse is stolen.

Airline tickets or boarding pass

This is the least worrisome on the lost list. Most airlines have counters at the airports and will be able to re-issue another boarding pass with some proof of identification.

If you lose the boarding pass at the gate, then inform the gate agent and they may issue a new one. Or they may just allow you to board after checking your name in the system. Some airline companies these days also issue electronic tickets and boarding passes which one can access on their smartphones. If the airline you’re traveling with gives that option, then make sure to opt-in for it.



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