WHAT TO DO IF YOUR PASSPORT IS STOLEN GUIDE
I’m not sure about the other travelers out there, but as a traveler—and an expat living abroad—I frequently have passport panic before and on trips, wherein I wake up in the middle of the night, freaking out about the location of that all-important document. Have passport paranoia, too? CHRIS CIOLLI
I too have felt like this when traveling, especially during one trip to Nicaragua and our accommodations were less than "fair". Someone could easily enter our room by removing the flat panels on the windows and unlocking the door from the outside. How do I know this? Because I had to do it when I locked myself out. I would find myself anticipating the situation of a a lost passport and trying to put together a plan of action just in case that when I returned to our room our books of freedom were gone.
The uneasy, paranoid feeling is no fun and I wish that for no one while they are on vacation or living abroad.
THAT IS WHY I PUT TOGETHER THIS "WHAT TO DO IF YOUR PASSPORT IS STOLEN" GUIDE....I HOPE YOU NEVER HAVE TO USE IT.
Before your trip
First - Travel Insurance. I know, I know....it is the very last thing that you want to pay for BUT believe me that if you find yourself in a sticky situation you will be soooo glad that you have it. Find a good policy that will cover any expenses you will incur from your passport being lost or stolen.
Second - You WILL need to take a visit to your local embassy if your passport is lost or stolen so before you leave your home country write down the address, phone number, and email address of the embassy or consulate nearest your destination, and register with them before you go.
Third - Bring along a secondary form of identification PLUS a couple of passport photos (the extras from when you received your passport will work fine). These are important to have just in case they can issue you one there.
Fourth - Make copies of all your personal information and leave them will a reliable contact back home. I would suggest photo copying your identification card, passport, social security card, birth certificate, medical insurance cards, visa information, travel itinerary, and also any travel insurance information. Whomever you leave this information with, make sure they are someone you will be able to reach easily! Also, bring those copies with you as well. Store them separate from your actual passport for safe keepings.
Fifth - If keeping up with all that paperwork sounds daunting you can always upload them to the internet in a safe password protected format. If you are going to have access to the internet and are tech savvy then this option would be for you because you could also just carry around a USB to that contains them as well.
During your trip
If you know for sure that your passport was stolen immediately report it to the police then declare it stolen or lost to embassy or consulate.
Make an appointment to apply for a replacement passport (this is where having all those i.d. docs will come in handy) - you will have to prove your identify to get a replacement.
Side note: while this may be a HUGE ordeal to you it is not. Since it is not a life threatening emergency you will not receive expedited service and if you loose it over a holiday you will just have to wait.
The "oh sh*t" scenario
What if your passport AND all forms of money is stolen? This is when you use your "call a friend" card and the embassy will help you do that. But then what if the person you call cannot pay for your new passport and you miss your flight home? You will be obliged to book a flight back home on a loan from the government and a temporary passport, but just remember it is a LOAN and has to be paid back. Defaulting on the loan will result in the inability to get a new passport, bad credit, and no more international travel.