By Katelin Myers
When it comes to adventuring abroad, it can be a stressful experience for anyone – whether you are a first-time traveler or a seasoned jet setter. With the increase in airport security measures, documentation requirements, and passport theft, preparing your travel papers before you take off can help alleviate travel headaches. Be prepared for your journey with these few tips:
Before you leave:
- Leave a copy of your passport back home with family or friends, along with any other important information you may be bringing with you, such as your itinerary, driver’s license, hotel reservations, etc.
- Keep a physical and electronic copy of your passport, driver’s license, and other documentation with you. If you are pickpocketed, then you’ll at least have copies back at your hotel (preferably left in a hotel safe), and on your phone, email, etc. Bring along other objects with your name on it (e.g. prescription bottles, mail, phone bill, etc.), as they can be used as a form of backup ID.
- Locate the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy just in case of emergencies and report to them if your passport was stolen. You may also need to contact the National Passport Information Center (1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793) if you cannot reach the Embassy or Consulate.
- Keep all forms of ID and anything valuable on your person as much as possible, such as carrying them in an inside jacket pocket, money belt, or small purse (with zippers). Try to avoid the “touristy” look with fanny-packs, baseball caps, and big backpacks.
If your passport is stolen:
- Notify all relevant parties immediately after the theft: local police, the U.S. Consulate/Embassy, your airline, hotel, and contacts back home.
- Keep any documentation provided by the police and Embassy, as you will need it when heading back home. Extra copies should be made just in case.
- Make sure to follow any instructions from the airlines regarding your return flight. Bring all the documentation you have proving your passport was stolen and anything to help confirm your identity. Also arrive early (and we mean very early) before your flight to allow extra time to get through check-in and security.