A momentary lapse and, bingo, your passport is lost or stolen – along with your bag, money and personal items.  Losing anything while travelling is upsetting and usually means a lot of aggravation trying to replace the lost or stolen items.  A lost passport is a serious problem – and costly.

You may have seen the recent TV series ‘Our Man In…’ which showed the British Consulate staff hard at work in popular British tourist holiday hotspots in Spain and Tenerife. One of the most common problems they deal with is helping British holidaymakers with stolen and lost passports.  Many of the young Brits featured on the show expected someone else to pay for their misfortune and were upset when Consular staff charged them €113 each for Emergency Travel Documents so they could return home.

Many travellers are under the impression that their consulate or embassy will pick up the bill for anything that goes wrong when they are overseas on holiday.  They are there to help and advise, but are not responsible to pay for lost passports, missed flights, medical bills, repatriation, legal expenses, or anything else.  That is why it is so important to have comprehensive travel insurance!

Identity theft is a danger associated with losing a passport.  For this reason, cancel your old passport as quickly as possible.  If your old passport should reappear it cannot be used – and attempting to do so could land you in another world of trouble.  Using a passport that has been badly damaged could also cause problems, especially as some airlines may not allow you to travel with it.

For more information about passports visit the directgov website.  We recommend a visit to the website of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for updated country travel advice as part of their ‘Know Before You Go’ campaign before you book any travel.

Flickr cc: Images_of_Money

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