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Here's what you need to do if you lose your passport or wallet on holiday...

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Lost your passport or wallet on holiday? Don't panic! Here's everything you need to know.

  • 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

Always report a lost or stolen passport to the police.

It’s every traveller’s nightmare -  a lost passport or wallet in a foreign country. And it’s surprisingly more common than you think - almost 400,000 UK passports are lost or stolen each year. Here are our tips on what you should do if your passport goes missing. 

Go to the police

Whether it’s your wallet or passport that’s been lost or stolen, you should always report it to the police. 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's been stolen, you'll need the same report to get emergency travel documents for your journey home.

Contact your bank

If your missing wallet or purse had a credit or debit card in it, it’s essential you tell your bank straight away - 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.

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 you’re in. They can cancel it to prevent it 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 usually be claimed back through your travel insurance.

The UK Government also has a Passport Adviceline which can be contacted on 0300 222 0000 or +44 (0)300 222 0000 if you’re calling from abroad. It’s open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm and 9am to 5.30pm on Saturday, Sunday and UK bank holidays.

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.

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.

Western Union offer a money sending service to thousands of locations in different countries across the world. If you have a debit card you can use abroad, you could also ask a friend or relative to send a bank transfer. This will usually incur a fee, so investigate this first.

What to do if your passport's been damaged 

If your passport has been badly damaged, it may not be valid for travel. 

Passports that have reasonable "wear and tear" can be accepted, but if details can't be read clearly or you have missing or detached pages, you may need a replacement. 

Does travel insurance cover lost passports?

Most travel insurance policies will cover lost and stolen passports. They may cover the cost of a replacement, any emergency travel documents, new flights and additional accommodation.

If you do lose your passport, the insurance policy will sometimes waive the excess claim fee, just make sure you double check your policy to confirm whether this is the case or not.  

The full details of what you’re covered for will be included in your policy document, so make sure you read it in full, including the small print, to find out exactly what is and isn’t covered. 

If you lose your passport while you’re abroad, you will need to prove you’ve done everything you could to keep your documents safe. You could do this by showing you’ve used a secure backpack when carrying your passport or keeping it in a safe in your accommodation.

Here are some of our top tips for keeping your passport safe on holiday:

  • Be extra vigilant when carrying your passport in busy locations, pickpockets tend to target tourists as they are often distracted by the sights.
  • Make a note of your passport number and expiry date as you may need to quote these when booking your holiday or applying for a visa.
  • Keep your passport in a waterproof cover – this will help protect your passport against damage.
  • Store yours and other family members’ passports in the same place so when it comes to travelling, they will be easy to locate.

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