How Not To Lose Your Passport - And What To Do If You Do

Atti Stafford
February 8, 2021

Your passport is a vital item on your packing list if you're traveling outside the country. In order to enter a foreign country, identification is required and even more importantly, it is necessary to return to your own home country. It can turn an otherwise fantastic trip into a potentially costly tragedy to have your passport lost or stolen. Your passport should be safeguarded carefully. 

Here’s some techniques on how not to lose your passport: 

  • Keep it on the down-low. Don't make your passport too conspicuous. Keep other valuables, such as your credit card and cash secret. 
  • Only take it out when you have to. Display it only to officials who request it and when they are done, quickly put it away. 
  • Do not store it in your checked baggage (except for a physical/digital copy of the ID page) or leave it loose in an open pocket on the outside. 
  • Have a backup. Before you leave home, make copies of your passport to leave with a trusted friend, co-worker, employer, or relative. You can also scan your passport and put a copy on your smartphone. 
  • Keep it safe. When you stay at a hotel, use the room safe to store your passport or a photocopy. You can also use a TSA-approved travel lock to secure your valuables in your suitcase. 

Here are steps of what to do if you do lose your passport: 

  • If you are outside the United States, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to inform them your passport is lost or stolen.   
  • document detailing the circumstances in which your passport was lost or stolen would be required to be submitted. 
  • You’ll be required to fill out a passport application form and reasonably prove your identity and citizenship with personal information. 

Whenever I traveled outside of the United States, I always made copies of my passport. I left the physical passport in a small lockbox back in my room then kept a copy in my pocket. I made copies for my family to have as well just in case. I also took a picture of my passport to have on my phone. I looked at my travel itinerary and travel destination and decided if I would need my passport on hand during any particular day or not. Throughout my travels, I never carried my passport on me, just copies.