I Lost My Passport. Now What?


The red button won’t solve your problems

You’re in another country, enjoying the sights, the people, and everything new and exciting you’ve been dying to try for years.

Then you realize your passport is missing. Or worse, you get robbed and have your money, identification (including your passport), and personal belongings stolen.

And you don’t have any photocopies…

This is a part of my How To Travel series of blog posts. As time goes on, I’ll have more posts in the series and different series’ to help organize my blog and make it easier for visitors to navigate.

What do you do?

If you’ve been robbed, the most important thing to do is run, don’t walk to your nearest police station and file a police report.

By having a police report, you can file a claim with your insurance company and – if you can pay for it – get a limited-validity emergency passport.

Without any identifying information, a police report is one of your only options to hopefully track your stuff down. Relay every bit of information you can remember about the thief, your location, and potential witnesses. Maybe they’ll catch him, maybe they wont. Right now, that’s the least of your worries.

Your main priority is to recover and protect your identity. Here are the next steps:

1. Contact Your Bank

If you’ve lost your credit and debit cards, you need to put a freeze on them (if you think you’ll get them back), or completely cancel them. You can also replace your cards. Don’t add being broke to your list of things to worry about.

2. Go to Your Embassy or Consulate

If you have no money, you can’t afford a limited-validity emergency passport…

…But the nice folks at the embassy can pull up your information and confirm you’re who you say you are, giving you a stamped photocopy of your passport. It’s possible to get through customs with this, but don’t count on it. Your safest option is to buy a limited-validity emergency passport. For Americans, it costs the same as a normal passport.

Any documentation you get from here can also be used when you make an insurance claim.

3. Get Some Money

With the stamped photocopy of your passport, you can now breathe a little easier. You have proof of identification, which will help you get money from a bank or Western Union.

Head to an internet café or some place with free internet and find a way to contact home or friends (the police will let you use their phone if you’ve lost your laptop or cell.) You owe it to your mother to let her know what happened. Plus, she might send you money because she loves you.

If however, your parents are struggling financially or you still have money in the bank, head to a bank! There you can grab money from your accounts and get closer to sense of normalcy.


You should have done this before you left but you made a mistake. It happens, and now you have to face the consequences. Don’t beat yourself up. Everyone screws up from time to time.

After you’ve given yourself a pep talk, get online and find all necessary documents and information you had before it was lost. Put it in your cloud storage (Google and Microsoft give you a small amount of free storage when you open an account), send copies to someone you trust, carry a copy with you, and put copies in each of your bags.

This step will ensure you’re covered (for the most part) if you get struck by lightning twice in one trip.

In Conclusion

You can breathe easy again. Relax, have a beer, travel smart, and enjoy the rest of your trip!


How to Apply for a Passport


So you’re ready to see what’s out there…

You’ve thought about it for years, telling your friends, “Italy seems nice” or “I’ve always wanted to visit Australia.” and now it’s time to put your money where your mouth is and see the world.

The first thing you’ll need to do: Get a passport.

This is a part of my How To Travel Solo series of blog posts. As time goes on, I’ll have more posts in the series and different series’ to help organize my blog and make it easier for visitors to navigate.

Because I’m American, I’m going to summarize the American Passport System and the process for legal U.S. citizens. If you’re renewing your passport, you can do so here

What is a Passport?

Simply put, a passport is a government issued document that lets you travel to other countries. As long as you’re older than 16 when you apply, it’s valid for 10 years.

A passport usually has the following identifying information in it:

  • Your name
  • Your nationality
  • Your picture
  • Your date of birth
  • Your signature

The moment you reach a new country you are required to present your passport to Customs and Border Officials. In most cases, No passport = no entry.

It’s one of the only ways to prove you’re who you say you are. So if you lose your passport while you’re in another country, you’re in a heap of trouble. This is why it’s important to have multiple photocopies of your passport.

There is a process (which takes time) and a fee to obtain a passport, which is all described below.

How to Apply for a Passport

Applying for a passport can seem daunting at first. You might have all these ideas in your head of how it’s a process and it’s going to be so much work. You may also be thinking about this huge decision you’ve decided to make.

I mean, you’re about to set off and see the world. Who wouldn’t be at least a little nervous to take such a monstrous leap?

Good news! It’s easier than you think.

Your first step is to find some documents. Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Proof of Citizenship – Your birth certificate is your best bet. You’ll also need a photocopy if this.
  2. Identification – Have a driver’s license or other State-issued ID? Bring that along with a photocopy of it.
  3. Proof of Relationship – Only required for children under 16.
  • Also, you should know your Social Security number

Next, you’ll need to take your passport photo. You can:

  1. Take it yourselfSee here for requirements
  2. Pay for it – Corner pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid have passport photo services for a small fee. They’ll get it right the first time.

Now that you have the proper materials, you can apply for your passport!

To do so, you will need to fill out a Form DS-11 with one caveat: You have to apply in person.

You are however, able to:

Finally, you have to find a Passport Acceptance Facility near you. Your results will be mostly U.S. Post Offices and Clerk of Courts offices.

By doing all of these steps before you visit the office, you’ll  save yourself a ton of time and a headache or two.

In Conclusion

This blog post was a way for me to better understand the passport process before I apply for a passport myself while simultaneously building the website one post at a time. Some of the information may be inaccurate so please use the official Department of State website to avoid any problems you may face while applying for your passport. It’s where I found most of the information posted here.