Travel Tips 

What To Do If You Lose Your Passport Abroad

I have lost my passport twice when traveling. The first time, I was in Paris getting on the Metro (subway) when somehow I dropped my passport between the platform and the train. I hopped off to stay behind and saw my passport hanging out on the tracks below. To my luck, there was a tall American traveler from the University of Dayton who offered to jump down and get it for me. He was brave (and maybe a little stupid). The second time was my fault, I was eating in NYC before taking a trip 3 month trip to backpack Europe, and I forgot my purse on the back of the chair only to realize 6 hours later that I didn’t have it. Thankfully when I called the restaurant, they had my purse and when I picked it up nothing was stolen. Crisis averted. Even though I have had good luck in the passport area, those experiences taught me that I needed to know what to do in case I was in a situation where I was not so lucky, and couldn’t get my passport back.

  1. Look through all of your stuff and make sure that you didn’t just misplace it somewhere
  2. If it is really gone, retrace your steps, call the places you were and try to find it
  3. Contact the nearest US embassy or consulate and let them know – make sure to tell them if you are traveling and need it soon. Find it here: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country.html
  4. Follow the instructions that they give you – they will need you to fill out some forms, bring money for the replacement ($140) and likely tell you to bring your travel itinerary, some type of ID, and maybe some new passport photos
  5. If traveling immediately, you’ll be issued an emergency passport that will only get you back to the US. Otherwise, it will take a few days (depending on where you are).

When I travel internationally, I always bring a photocopy of my drivers license and passport and keep it in my luggage, just in case I lose my passport and need a replacement. You could also scan it and email it to yourself so that you don’t have a paper to lose. It can make getting a new passport at the embassy a lot easier.

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