Losing your passport is one of the most stressful and scary things that can happen when you鈥檙e having an epic overseas adventure. Since we like to be ultra-prepared while visiting the world鈥檚 trendiest neighborhoods, and we鈥檝e read a bunch of conflicting information about what we should do if we ever find ourselves in this awful situation, we consulted with a handful of travel pros to get some much-needed clarification. Scroll on for their four dos and don鈥檛s for handling this worst-case scenario like a champ.


Do: Prep Before You Go

Here are a few steps everyone should take *before* embarking on an overseas adventure. They鈥檒l make it much easier to obtain a new temporary passport should you lose your old one.

1. Create and keep a digital version of your passport. 鈥淏efore you leave for your trip, scan a page of your passport for safe, digital keeping,鈥 advises Collette Stohler from Roamaroo.com. Rather than storing your digital version on your phone or desktop, keep it in the cloud so you鈥檒l always be able to access it.

2. Give a copy to a family member or friend. Whether it鈥檚 paper or digital, giving a trusted family member or friend a copy of your passport can come in handy if you鈥檙e unable to access your own digital copy. 鈥淚t鈥檚 much easier to get a replacement if you have good copies,鈥 says Kristopher Kirk of Fodor鈥檚 Travel.

3. Bring an alternate form of photo ID. This is super important, because obtaining a duplicate/temporary passport will require a second form of identification that shows you鈥檙e really who you say you are. Make sure you travel with it and store it separately from your passport.


Do: Find the Nearest Embassy

Once you realize you don鈥檛 have your passport, the best thing you can do is locate your nearest embassy. Fortunately, this is pretty easy to do when using the US Department of State鈥檚 website. Pull up the Emergencies Abroad page on your phone or computer and search for the country you鈥檙e visiting.

If you still need help, try contacting your local officials at home. Representatives can help move things a little more quickly by contacting the government for you. Remember: You鈥檙e not the first person to lose your passport, and consulates are totally used to helping people in your exact situation.

As soon as you鈥檝e ironed out where the embassy is, prep for your visit. You鈥檒l definitely need to show some form of a photo ID, as well as give your social security number (though having your actual social security card isn鈥檛 necessary). You should expect to take a new photo and confirm who you are under oath to get a duplicate/temporary passport that鈥檒l take you back home. You should also be prepared to pay a hefty fee for the expedited services and your new temporary passport.

Don鈥檛: File a Police Report Immediately

Though it might seem like the best thing to do at the time, filing a police report when you lose your passport isn鈥檛 always necessary or helpful 鈥 in some cases, it can actually work against you. Andre Arriaza, co-founder of Barcelona Eat Local, tells us, 鈥淥nly if safe, report your lost or stolen passport to the local police. Be aware that in certain countries local corruption might play against you, so better get to know the pros and cons of the place you are visiting in advance.鈥 Yikes!

FYI: A police report won鈥檛 actually speed things up. If your passport was stolen, you鈥檒l be asked to fill out a statement when you visit the embassy anyway.


Do: Keep Tabs of Your Stuff Once You鈥檙e Home

Once you make it home safely, be sure to keep an eye on all your accounts. The team at LifeLock tells us, 鈥淟osing a passport should be treated like losing other vital identity paperwork, as one can be used as valid forms of ID for the usual range of identity theft/identity fraud crimes, including opening new lines of credit, accessing existing lines, and even generating new forms of ID.鈥 Be sure you stay on top of your bank and credit card statements, along with any other personal accounts that might be tied to your name and social security number.

One last thing: You should definitely complete a statement regarding your lost or stolen US passport, sign it, and mail it to the address on the form.

Have you lost your passport while traveling? Tweet us and tell us how you dealt with it @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)