• Contact the police, bank and UK embassy straight away
  • Get the paperwork for emergency travel documents
  • Follow the right steps for making a travel insurance claim

It’s every traveller’s nightmare - losing your wallet, passport and other important documents in a foreign country. And it’s surprisingly more common than you think - almost 30,000 UK passports are lost or stolen abroad each year. Be prepared and read our tips on what you should do if this happens to you on your next trip.

Go to the police

Whether it’s your wallet or passport that’s been lost or stolen, you should always go to the police to report it. If you’ve taken out travel insurance, your insurer will want to see the police report as part of the claims process, and if your passport has been stolen you will need the same report to get emergency travel documents for your journey home (more on that below).

Contact your bank

If your missing wallet or purse had a credit or debit card in it, it’s essential that you tell your bank straight away so they can cancel it before it’s put to fraudulent use. Every bank has a phone number specifically for reporting missing cards, so make a note of it before you jet off, just in case. A handy list can be found on the Financial Fraud Action UK's website.

For lost travellers’ cheques, all you have to do is get in touch with the provider and follow their process for replacing the lost cheques. Again, there’s usually a dedicated number for this, so jot it down before your holiday.

Report a missing passport to the relevant UK authority

If you’ve lost your passport, you should notify the UK embassy, consulate or high commission in the country that you’re in so they can cancel it to prevent it from being used by anyone else (you can also do this online) and so you can acquire documents to get you home.

You may need to make an appointment to apply for emergency travel documents, so call ahead first. It’s a good idea to make a note of the nearest authority in your destination before you go.

Emergency travel documents will help you get home without your passport. There’s a specific process for this, so you should ensure you take all the relevant paperwork with you to your appointment.

This includes a completed form, a recent photo, a copy of the police report in the case of a theft and details of your journey home. The process also incurs a fee that can be claimed back through your travel insurance.

Contact your holiday or flight provider

If you’ve lost your travel tickets or other related documents, be sure to notify either the tour operator if you’re on a package holiday, or the airline in the case of missing plane tickets as soon as possible. You might have to pay extra for a replacement ticket, but this can be refunded in some cases.

Arrange to have emergency funds sent to you

If the loss of your wallet means you don’t have enough money to tide you over until you get home, get in touch with a friend or relative and see if they can transfer some money to you. This will usually incur a fee, so look into this first.

Follow the right steps when making a travel insurance claim

As well as getting a copy of the police report, there are other things to consider when putting in a claim on your travel insurance, such as proving that you took reasonable care in looking after your possessions at the time of the loss or theft of your money or passport.