Lost Travel Documents: What to Do?

It is nearly every person’s worst nightmare: losing your travel documents while on a trip. Sheer panic, anxiety, and stress can quickly ruin any fantastic memories that you have already made if you lose your identification. Fortunately, there are ways to quickly mitigate the situation and turn it around so that you can continue to enjoy your trip and then, get home safely and easily.

Airline Tickets

Fortunately, this isn’t as big of an issue these days as it used to be. Almost all ticketing information is stored in an airline’s database and you can access your travel details via your smartphone or a computer. Plan ahead to store your boarding passes on your phone’s photo gallery and also download the airline’s app for continually updated information about your flight as well as have your boarding passes at your fingertips. If for some reason you lose your phone, don’t fret. Once at the airport, they can print you a new ticket when you check-in.


Since you never know what might happen, always take a copy of your identification with you, packing it separately from your main photo I.D. Also, leave a copy of your identification back at home with trusted family or friends. If you are somewhere and are without your I.D., you can ask them to fax or text you a photo to share with authorities. If you are pickpocketed, file a police report immediately – that information might be necessary when checking in at the airport. Your I.D. can also be researched via public databases — but consider traveling with back up I.D. as well, and then, locking it in your hotel’s safe while you are out and about.

Losing your passport while abroad is probably the most stressful situation a traveler can experience. If you lose your passport or it is stolen, immediately contact the U.S. Embassy or consulate near your current location. You will want to speak with the consular officer at the Embassy to get a new passport issued as soon as possible. Note that you will need a new passport photo to take with you to the Embassy. Those are easily done at local drugstores.

It can be a terrifying experience to lose your travel documents, but planning ahead and knowing your options while on a trip can put your mind at ease and give you a sense of security throughout your trip.

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