You always hope it won’t happen to you but when you get your passport stolen it is almost like the world has fallen apart, especially as a traveller.
Let me tell you how it happened to me: I was in Costa Rica in San Jose for New Years Eve. I went out for the evening with everyone in the hostel we had a fantastic evening. Met some great friends and ended up in some real random places. Came back to find out that someone had reached through the bars on the hostels windows and stole the bags they could reach which included mine, my dads and a German couple who were in the bunk beds next to us.
So here is what I learned:
- Make copies of your passport, even better take a photo and store it on icloud or some other remote storage space. Having those copies will save you having to prove who you are to the embassy when you are that far and may also serve you as ID in the mean time if needed.
- Tell your parents! I was with my Dad so didn’t think much of it at the time but something had happened at home and my Mum needed to contact me. She ended up talking to the British Embassy and they simply told her they had been in contact with me but couldn’t tell her why. This sent my Mum into a bigger panic.
- Carry passport photos with you at all times. It can be the worst mugshot of all time but will save you having to hunt down a place to get your photo taken before going to the embassy or paying their really expensive fees to get them done there.
- Keep the bag with all your important things in locked up! Some people will tell you to keep it with you at all times but after seeing bags being cut off people and pick pockets I would rather know it is locked up safe in the hostel. Have locks on the zips and if there isn’t a locker then lock it to the bed too. This will stop the opportunists from lifting the whole bag straight out of your hostel room. I usually carry at least 2 locks with me at all times.
- Never give your passport to anyone! It is like gold on the black market and can be sold for lots of money. Opportunists can take a copy of your details but they do not need your passport to make fraudulent copies. Give them a different form of ID if they insist.
- Have travel insurance and know exactly what it covers. I have claimed on mine a few times over the years. A couple of times my claim was not covered! This is because I didn’t read the small print! Make sure you get a police report for your incident, this doesn’t have to be in English if the local language is not English.
Have you had your passport stolen? Did I miss any great tips? Please feel free to comment below with anything that I have missed.
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